These days I spend most of my time hiding under a rock, frantically practicing repertoire I really should have learned two months ago. Projects at the moment include Reger's Halleluja! Gott zu loben, Jongen's Sonata eroica, and The Other French Requiem - which is, of course, the Duruflé. I've commented here and here on the challenges of playing orchestral reductions, particularly when I accompanied my first Fauré Requiem last year. The Fauré is in many ways a typical example of this sort of problem - the composer's original is for orchestra, but the score you actually play off is a piano reduction by Jean Roger-Ducasse. Performing the piece is thus almost a recomposition - as you rearrange Roger-Ducasse's score to get as close as possible to the original orchestral sound, without having the conductor tell you you're too loud. (All organ accompanists know the solution: nod, smile and reduce your registration when told to, then change everything back for the concert. Always register on a crescendo!)
With Duruflé's Requiem, however, I have the opposite problem; the composer carefully reduced his orchestral score for organ accompaniment, and so if anything the score is too idiomatically written for the organ. Duruflé's arrangement is fiendishly difficult, frequently calling for the organist to play on two manuals at once. (This technique, called "thumbing down", is easier than it looks, but not by much.) The score is covered with registration changes. And then there's the Sanctus, every organist's nightmare, with continuous running sixteenth-note sextuplets in the left hand. If you master the part and play every note correctly, the audience might perceive a barely audible burbling noise underneath the choir; if you can't quite hack it, the tempo sags and you drag the entire choir down with you. Doesn't this sound like fun?
And of course, Murphy's Law of Organ Maintenance applies here; the organ will always wait to have mechanical problems when you have the most repertoire to prepare. Basically I'm all right unless I want to use any of the couplers, at which point it's cipher city - except for the Positiv to Hauptwerk coupler, which has been stuck on all week. Harrumph. Returning home, I listen to Schubert impromptus and manage more or less successfully to convince myself that the Reger will definitely be ready by next Tuesday, and I should stop worrying and enjoy life.
Complain, complain, complain. I suppose the long and the short of it is that 1) I will probably not be blogging a whole lot over the next little while and 2) Duruflé's Requiem is really awesome and you should listen to it.