David Patrick Stearns is a classical music critic and columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer.
The Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral was darkened and the the Crossing choir was positioned in a circle, facing inward, with sound seeming to come from everywhere and nowhere. But even a healthy sense of trepidation had no place at Saturday's opening of the group's annual Month of Moderns festival, in which artistic director Donald Nally unveiled his latest stunning Baltic discovery, Chu dal by Latvian composer Santa Ratniece.
They're calling players, for the first International Organ Competition. And they're calling the public, to be entertained in grand Longwood style.
The Longwood Gardens organ wraps itself around you like a huge smile with more sets of teeth than you ever imagined. Take care to pull the right knobs, and this treasure chest of near-orchestral sounds will take care of you.