It's no wonder the ORGANpromotion's organ trips are still such a favourite and popular tradition for European organ enthusiasts after 17 years. The guiding theme of this year's trip was iubilaeum trinitas: the 30th anniversary of the death of Maurice Durufle and the 25th annversary of that of Jean Langlais and Gaston Litaize. What was special about this was that the 3 organists and composers of modernity – though unified in the Paris organ sound – could be experienced by the trip's participants in the individual facets of their work in the context of their organs. An immediate access to the life and works of these three great artists as well as a very lively experience were offered by the following stations of the pilgrimage: the visit to the private appartement of M. Durufle, a recital by Dominique Lavacque in the Institute Nationale des Jeuns Aveugles (INJA), in which the special Paris tradition of teaching blind organists is still cultivated today, and the moving talk by Madame Langlais on the life and work of her husband.
Listening to the liturgy, the music and recitals, the chance to play and give recitals on the organ, taking part in a course on interpretation by Frederic Blanc and the organ viewings and conversations with Paris organists – a holistic experience from which all participants were able to benefit according to their individual interests. Te group was especially pleased at the chance to be able to play the new Grenzing organ before it had even been inaugurated.
A wonderful feature of the trip was the visits to the following churches and meetings with their organists:St. Eustache (Baptiste-Florian Marle-Ouvrard), Notre Dame (Vincent Dubois), St. Clotilde (Olivier Penin), St. Etienne du Mont (Vincent Warnier), Église reformée de l’Etoile (Lionel Avot), La Trinité (Carolyn Shuster-Founier), Invalidendom (Susan Landale), Saint Antoine-des-Quinze-Vingts (Eric Lebrun, Victor Contreras), Bécon, (Kurt Lueders), Église reformée de Batignolles (Noël Hazebroucq).
To sum up, the guiding theme, the execution and organisation of the trip by Michael Grueber and Christa Stiegenroth, the fast reaction to current events such as the visit to Radio France or the recently renovated Cavaille Coll organ in Becon made the trip a unique experience. So we can only hope that there will be as many oragn trips to Paris a possible, to enjoy this pilgrimage in such a friendly atmosphere and savour the fascinating beauty of the Paris organ landscape and thus find the spiritual strength and inspiation for one's own creative work.
Dr. Boguslaw Raba, Institute of Musicology, University of Wroclaw, Poland