REVIEW: Faculty Recital: Jeremy David Tarrant, Organ

I was first introduced to the haunting melody of the organ through the film Interstellar, directed by Christopher Nolan. Not only did I fall in love with the film itself, but with the resounding brilliance of the organ that shone throughout the soundtrack. If you haven’t seen the film, I would highly recommend it; the soundtrack is very moving.

The organ is a fascinating instrument and a very difficult one to master as it requires great precision, technique, and coordination. There are multiple keyboards or “manuals” stacked on top of one another that an organists hands must move gracefully and deftly between. And at the same time, the organists feet are dancing along an array of foot pedals at the bottom of the instrument. I can imagine that playing the organ can be quite a work out. Jeremy David Tarrant, however, made it seem as though playing the organ was as simple as breathing. Of course, I’d expect no less. Tarrant’s resume is an impressive one. He is a Lecturer in Organ at the University of Michigan as well as an active concert organist. Tarrant has performed across the United States as well as abroad and has been featured on several records. It was an absolute joy to watch him perform. I knew the organ was a versatile instrument, but the way that Tarrant played opened my eyes to the countless ways organs can produce sound. There would be moments in the performance when the pipes would breathe so softly over the audience, only to explode in a thunderous wave that vibrated the seats. There would be moments  of whining sound that came close to hurting my ears as well as velvety tones that could put a baby to sleep. The sound was so much more than just loud and quiet, soft or hard. There were even moments where it seemed as though the music was coming from somewhere far beyond the confines of the stage as if in another room. The concert was an amazing experience and the music was superb. But what was also superb was the skills of the page turner that assisted Tarrant as he played. You can see the gentleman in question featured in the picture to the left. I found that he was creating his own performance alongside Tarrant. The gentlemen would wait patiently at Tarrant’s side; a single hand creeping up when he saw his moment approaching and then, with a swift flick of the wrist, the page would be turned, allowing Tarrant to continue his performance unfettered by the constraints of paper. I noticed that the rate of enthusiasm with which the page was turned was equal to the mood of the performance at that time. For example, if the page needed to be turned in the middle of a fast moving, sound swollen section, the gentleman’s whole arm would be involved in the turn of the page. It was a fast, sharp, extended motion. And when the page needed to be turned during a more soft spoken section, his actions would be soft spoken as well. It was a part of the performance that I found unexpectedly fascinating and very appreciative. I admire your talent unnamed page turner gentleman.


Ruth is studying architecture at the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning. She enjoys reading, drawing, and singing when no one's around to hear her.

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