Chief organist of Notre-Dame de Paris holds recital in Xiamen
Olivier Latry, chief organist at Notre-Dame de Paris, held a recital Friday evening on Gulangyu Island in east China's Fujian Province.
Known as one of the leading grand masters of organ music, the French organist has performed in some of the world's most prestigious venues and worked with top orchestras and conductors, in addition to producing a number of impressive musical works for the organ.
The organ that Olivier Latry played, the Casavant Opus 700, is the largest pipe organ in the Chinese mainland. Standing 13 meters tall, 12.5 meters long and weighing 35 tonnes, the Casavant Opus 700 pipe organ was built in 1917 under the supervision of American organist Lynnwood Farnam.
At the recital, Latry played masterpieces by Johannes Brahms, Charles-Marie Widor, and Claude Debussy. His fingers danced along the four-tier keyboard as beautiful music flowed from the organ, winning thunderous applause from the audience.
Latry also improvised three Chinese folk songs: "Jasmine," "Butterfly Lovers" and "Waves of Gulangyu."
"It is really moving to play [this] organ because the instrument has some relationship with Notre-Dame de Paris. The owner of the organ and the organist of Notre-Dame de Paris were really good friends," Latry said.
Latry said he hoped the instrument would gain a bigger presence and become more common in China.
In 2007, Hu Youyi, an Australian-Chinese pianist, bought the organ from a church and donated it to his ancestral home, the island of Gulangyu in Xiamen, where a museum was specifically built to house the instrument.
Gulangyu was listed as a UNESCO world cultural heritage site in July 2017 for its varied architecture and multi-cultural history. It is also known as an "Island of Music" as it is the hometown of many accomplished Chinese musicians.