Wild Air

Sauerbraten and the Organ

April 4th, 2010

If you love good food, as I do, try to imagine a world in which there was ONLY Mexican food, or ONLY Chinese food, or ONLY German food.

Imagine   some “expert” suddenly announcing that only one cooking tradition was acceptable and pure, and basing his opinion on the fact that the greatest chef of all time cooked in this tradition.   Suddenly, those of us who enjoy savoring a good lasagna would be shamed into eating only sauerbraten cooked in the traditional way.   Combining flavors, spices, and techniques from other cooking traditions (what is often called “fusion” cooking), would be completely taboo.   Eaters who commented that they ate lasagna because they liked it would be considered foolish, pedestrian, and uninformed.

Absurd, right?

Presently, the pipe organ is trying to emerge from such a “sauerbraten” world.   During the second half of the twentieth century, the world of the pipe organ was dominated by an academic tradition that, in many cases, viewed all organ music from the perspective of Bach and all organs from the perspective of Bach’s organ.   This was certainly a reaction against earlier organs and earlier organ traditions, and like most reactions, it went too far.

Today, we have begun to once again broaden the scope of our musical “cuisine” to include other traditions, including the French souffle, the English fish and chips, and the ultimate in musical fusion cooking, the American hamburger.

By offering a sumptuous and varied musical feast to our listeners, perhaps we can bring more of them to the table.   Meanwhile, let’s be sure our Alfredo has plenty of heavy cream, our souffles have plenty of eggs and real butter, and our American hamburgers are served up with onions, tomatoes, mustard, and ketchup.

Oh, yes, and relish!

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