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It must have been ten years or more since I last played in the Gothic cathedral in Maribo, which is situated on the island of Lolland, a couple of hours from Copenhagen by train.

Since my last visit, the main organ, housed in chambers either side of the west gallery (or possibly east in the case of this building?!), has been joined by a smaller Carsten Lund instrument on a side gallery nearer the altar. Neither instrument is shy, but the main organ — with pipework dating back to the 19th century and most recently revoiced by Carsten Lund, with a somewhat French accent and some 13 reed stops (including the bottom octave of the 32’ — has the power to overwhelm, but sounds well in the large, rolling acoustic.

After five months without access to real instruments it felt good (if a little stressful) to be back on the bench and to be able to play in a ‘live’ situation once again. I was acutely aware that the lockdown had dulled the senses in terms of being in the habit of reacting to the ways in which real organs speak/react, and playing/breathing in a large space and acoustic — slightly unnerving but it certainly focussed the mind.

My thanks to cathedral organist, Vibeke Vanggaard (pictured below in her Tesla!), for her warmth, hospitality and invitation to play. The following week she was playing Reger B-A-C-H, which I would have loved to be able to have heard.


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