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Langlais’s Prelude au Kyrie from the Hommage a Frescobaldi

October 17, 2010

Here’s a recording of the prelude which I played this morning, featuring, as far as I can tell, the composer himself:

Langlais, like a number of organists, was blind, and I have no idea how he managed the manifold aspects of the organ without his sight.  As usually happens with the blind, his other sense made up for what he lacked.  By the sheer sound of a student’s playing, he could tell what fingering he was using.  In one famous story, Langlais was giving a lesson and told the student to use the third finger on a particular note.  The student ignored him, figuring that he’d never know.  “You are so stooopid, Langlais exclaimed after failing to get through to him.  “The third finger!  Use the third finger!”   It’s incredible when you think about it.

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