Season after Pentecost, 2023
Super-hip music critic Alex Ross runs into James Kennerley at St. Mary the Virgin in New York City:
Before a Tuesday-evening service, I heard a brief recital that included Buxtehude’s chorale prelude "Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern." Shimmeringly varied timbres, evocative of starlight, made me want to know more about the player, who was listed as James Kennerley. He turned out to be a bespectacled British lad, aged twenty-four, a Cambridge graduate and a former organ scholar at St. Paul's Cathedral. He was appointed music director of St. Mary's last month.
"I'm incredibly happy to have this instrument," Kennerley told me, seated at the console. “It has this fantastic range of sounds, from high stops to reedy French trompettes to the colossal bass”—he pressed a low C with his foot, frightening a few tourists in the nave below—"and it takes on great beauty in the height and width of this space." While I looked on, he let loose a fast-figured, at times piercingly dissonant improvisation, with reposeful tonal chords to close.
Ross, Alex. "Cheap Seats". The New Yorker, 2 Feb 2009.
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