The subject of improvisation often comes up and for those of us hidebound by the pages of musical notes from an early aghe, loosening up to wander ones own way through the notes is a daunting prospect. But to some people their playing takes off when they do.
It's an intriguing reflection for discussion over a musical feast that perhaps the notes of Chopin that music college students follow to the most infinitesimal detail weren't conceived as such and arose instead in their fluidity from live performance and improvisation which struggled to make it as codified notation upon a page.
Perhaps in the world of music in an age of computer edited recordings perfected to the nth degree in merely an accuracy of notes and woe betide anyone who gets a wrong one (such as the comment by SesQuiAltere on http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fe_eJ60PmtM
within a magic of memorisation and expressed emotion), have we ripped the soul and spirit out of our music?
An answer to this is the glorious CD available from Cantoris Records http://www.cantoris.co.uk/acatalog/Cantoris_CDs_Organ_CDs_6.html
called Variations and Improvisations and it makes a wonderful Christmas present for any organist, and particularly any who might like inspiration to improvisation.
Nigel Allcoat performs a delightful repertoire from Muffat and Sweelink to Bach on the new Aubertin organ in Oxford and then, arising from mere entertainment between pieces, presents a wonderful disc of total imagination including Papillons and another track that sounds like a pair of cats creating chaos in a room chasing a pigeon resulting in a delirium of overwhelming mystery on full organ after which the sweetness of "Versets upon ‘This is the Record of John’ " revives us to paradise . . . at the end of which purely by chance, the bell of the college clock chimes to add its part just absolutely at the right moment. So often one might think that such a contribution was merely added in for special effect, but apparently it really happened that way in the spirit of its own improvisation. Perfection or imperfection? Unusually, the record producers allowed it to remain in the final compilation.
Inspiration indeed and I hope that mentioning it here will be both useful, interesting and, most important of all, enjoyable.