French organist records his CD album in Ukraine to help ATO fighters
This Frenchman often visits Ukraine. Often he gives concerts in Kyiv, Chernivtsi and Bilgorod-Dnistrovskyy, where he has got old friends. Two years ago he met the famous Ukrainian composer Skoryk in the capital. On August 23, at a concert in Bilgorod-Dnistrovskyy together with two violinists from the Orchestra of the National Radio of Ukraine they played the famous "Melody" by Skoryk. The Frenchman says this piece of art conveys the most accurately the dramatic experience the Ukrainians currently go through...
Despite the fact that Jean-Marie is touring a lot all over the world, he is a church organist. His music accompanies the Holy Mass in one of the Catholic churches in the 15th district of Paris. In Ukraine he performs primarily in concert halls. We first became acquainted with this unique foreigner in spring when his performance in the Hall of Organ and Chamber Music in Chernivtsi was a sell-off. Then Jean-Marie bought a shirt and now performs in it at his concerts in Ukraine as a sign of support for Ukrainians.
“In France, there is no such a clear distinction, so to say, between a church and a music hall,” the Frenchman says. For example, I played many times at Notre Dame de Paris, and it is hard to call it a purely church performance. After all, this cathedral is both a concert hall, where classical compositions often sound. In 80 percent of churches in the French capital, I have already sat at the organ. I will tell you that in Paris there are still two churches where I have not played, but really wanted to do it. It is St. Mary Magdalene's Church located in St Mary Magdalene Square and Sacré-Cœur Basilica, the Sacred Heart of Jesus Basilica on top of Montmartre hill, the highest point in the city. My parents are Catholics and brought me up in Christian spirit. Every Sunday we attended the Holy Mass and the first instrument I got to know in my life was the organ that I had heard in church. Personally for me playing the organ in a church and in a concert hall are two different professions I would say. But I feel very organic and in both roles.
Mr. Leroy says that on Sundays he plays during as much as five masses. Each time he changes repertoire. He tells he wants to present a variety of good music to the parishioners. Many of his favorite works that the organist plays in church are included in his album, which he is recording in Ukraine, in particular, in Chernivtsi. This CD will be ready by the end of year. The money from its sale will be spent for treatment of the Ukrainian fighters wounded in the east of our country. The pieces included into this album are basically the works by Bach. The disc also will include the music by Bukstehude – a German organist, Marchand – a renowned French harpsichordist and organist...
Frenchman invests its own funds in recording; his friends also provide some financial support.
“I’ve read a lot about Ukraine and the war in Donbas,” the musician continues. “But I check all the information from the Internet with my Ukrainian friends. In particular, I know many Ukrainians living in France, together with them I went to pro-Ukrainian demonstrations in times of Euromaidan. Last year I took a train Kyiv-Zaporizhzhia. And my neighbor was a Ukrainian fighter. He went home on vacation. There was a service stripe featuring Ukrainian pattern. When parting, he tore it off and gave it to me. Also I have a friend who is fighting in the ATO area.
The Frenchman puts his own musical knowledge and soul into his musical work. He comments on the organist work:
“One has to be at least a believer to play organ. It is impossible to understand the organ music without understanding of spirituality. I am a Christian, and this helps my music sound better in church. The church in Paris where I play is located almost near the Eiffel towers - Notre Dame de Nazareth ... This is a very modern temple, built in the 30’s of past century. Previously there was a warehouse in that place, once it was a rather neglected area of Paris. And in 2001, the church was rebuilt and now it has a very modern look.
Over the weekend I play the organ during five Masses. Nearly a thousand people come, while the parish has about 75,000 parishioners. The church attendance progressively decreases. Now they even do not serve a funeral at church, although back in the old days it was not so. But I think once people will be sorry that they seceded from church...
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