Following the measures taken by the authorities to contain the spread of the coronavirus, this concert is cancelled. Ticket holders will be contacted by Concertgebouw Brugge.
The Third Symphony by Saint-Saëns is a masterful work. Liszt called it the best symphony ever written and that would ever be written. He may well have been right! Saint-Saëns, an organist himself (at La Madeleine), wrote the organ into the symphony not as a concerto soloist, but as an integral part of the orchestra. This symphony is rarely performed as intended. On the one hand, most of the concert-hall Cavaillé-Coll organs from his time have been renovated or removed, while on the other hand the aesthetic of the newer instruments in the concert halls is quite different from the French symphonic organ. There is, however, a solution that can allow a complete Cavaillé-Coll organ to be played with the orchestra, with the right timbres, dynamics and perfectly in tune. We are talking about a “Hauptwerk” organ, an ingenious wonder that uses the electronically sampled sounds taken from each separate pipe. Anima has already worked with the brilliant harpsichordist and organist Katarzina Chrobokova on several productions. Although she attaches great importance to the “pursuit of authenticity”, for the Saint-Saëns Symphony she is resolute in opting for Hauptwerk. This means that Anima Eterna will be able to play with (the sounds of) one of the most perfectly preserved French organs (1885), the Cavaillé-Coll in Abbatiale St. Etienne in Caen.
Are you suspicious? Every music lover loves to listen to (electronic) CDs, but in the concert we work with a professional installation and loudspeakers that can handle a symphonic organ. We cannot perform in a church in France with a fine Cavaillé-Coll, so we think this solution will serve the original sound better than an unsuitable type of organ. Saint-Säens wrote: “J’ai donné là tout ce que pouvais donner.”
Jos van Immerseel
Translation by Anne Hudgkinson