Last night Frederick Swann played the most impressive program ever heard on the Kennedy Center organ -- one that demonstrated his brilliant technique and great musical sensitivity as well as the thrilling tonal colors of the Concert Hall's Aeolian-Skinner organ.
Nobody plays the Franck E Major Chorale better than Fred Swann. His pacing and careful choice of registration were nothing less than awe-inspiring.
Swann's interpretive skills in the romantic repertoire were again proven in the grand Sonata in F Minor by Mendelssohn and the fiery Prelude and Fugue on B-A-C-H by Liszt. But his treatment of two passacaglias written three centuries apart by Bach and Sowerby, respectively, was equally captivating, particularly in the numerous registration changes that were so deftly executed.
If ever there were any doubts about the ability of a fine pipe organ to attract audiences, the full house in the Concert Hall last night should dispel such thoughts. The Friends of the Kennedy Center are to be congratulated for this free musical offering to the city as well as for their special tribute to Paul Callaway, whom Marta Istomin honored at intermission for his activities "enriching the cultural life of Washington, D.C., and our country."