If You Could Read My Mind by Cameron Carpenter
Cameron Carpenter is full of himself. I remember watching a promo video that Sony Classical put out and wanting to puke. In it he is basically described as the new Messiah of classical music while he slowly takes off his shirt. He then goes on to explain how he has accomplished things with the organ no one has ever even imagined in the history of music. I hated this self-aggrandizement so much that I never actually listened to his music, and this was a huge mistake.
Messiah or no, Carpenter is truly a great virtuoso organist. His concerts are full of the most difficult music in the repertoire, which he seemingly plays with ease (albeit in a tank top and sporting bedazzled shoes). He also was the brain behind the International Touring Organ, which is an immense digital organ which produces samples of what he found to be the best parts of the best organs in the world.
I began thinking of famous virtuosi of the past and the sort of theater their concerts could be. Paganini also wore dramatic costumes, carried an air of mystery around him, and portrayed himself as the greatest violinist in the world. Maybe Carpenter’s personality, as grotesque as it may be, simply places him in a long line of titanic virtuosi.
"The irascibility of the organ is such that, in order to be able to do anything at all with it, you have to have an incredible — I would say it's somehow beyond dedication. It amounts to a kind of obsession, at least for me, with this machine that attracts me as much as an object of pure mathematics as a musical instrument. It is one of the few things that is both." – Cameron Carpenter