I have been been coming to Esbjerg and the surrounding region fairly regularly for a number of years now and I love spending time here. I think this can be put down to a combination of its rich cultural life (including a music college), great company, relaxed pace of life and being by the sea — things I also love about visiting St Andrews in Scotland.
Returning fairly regularly to a place really brings home the fact that every performance experience is different. I suppose that we musicians are constantly striving for the unattainable (I am, at least) while the listener does not necessarily know how far short of our own expectations we fall on any given day. This was an interesting experience in that I had already played four concerts and felt back in the swing of things, and yet this felt like the most challenging of the lot from a psychological point of view. I have no idea why, as the business of playing seemed relatively effortless and there were no issues of accuracy or control that troubled me. Interestingly, my inner perception seemed not to have been experienced by those present who know me well enough to be completely honest. I just asked my wife whether I was being too self-absorbed in writing this. She replied ‘musicians always are’. I think I’ll leave it there.
The main Andersen & Bruhn organ was inaugurated in 2002. There is an unmistakable Danish coolness about the the fluework combined with a powerful and more symphonic swell. The clever specification makes this organ very versatile for an instrument of 43 stops. The second organ (on the right in photograph) is a Marcussen from 1929, with both pneumatic action and influences of the Orgelbewegung. On this visit I just used the main organ in music by Buxtehude, Mendelssohn and 19th/20th century France.
As always, it was a pleasure to be able to talk about music, life, and to laugh a lot with Mikkel Andreassen, organist at Vor Frelsers Esbjerg. He very generously (foolishly?) allowed me to take his new electric car out for a spin before visiting Ribe the next day. It was also great to see Brigitte Ebert and Gethin Jones again.
Thank you for having me, Mikkel and thank you, Henrik for driving us to the airport and for your company. It was lovely to be here again.