Reprinted from yesterday's late editions.
A remarkable musical event took place Thursday night in the Kennedy Center Concert Hall Virgil Fox sat down at the organ console and Johann Sebastian Bach did not turn over in his grave.
Throughout his all-French program, Fox did not once betray the memory and the style of the great Leipzig organist (I can't vouch for the encores, which were undoubtedly numerous, because of deadline pressure). There were no flashing lights or ringing bells, none (well not much) of the special antics associated with his "Heavy Organ" phase.
There was, to be sure, an occasional touch of showmanship, even a circus atmosphere, in the performance, but the organist could allege justifications in the music that he would have trouble finding in the works of Bach. There is after all, more than a little showmanship in the music of the French Romantic organ school (wich blends almost seamlessly into the French modern school), and if the performer sometimes exaggerated it or adapted it to his mannerisms (standing up on the pedals for a final chord at one point, beatinng time with his left hand while his right played a hushed bridge into the final climax of Widor's Toccata in F), he was at least abusing music that lends itself to such abuse.