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Impressions of

JESSE CRAWFORD

"Cinema Organ Herald" May 1933, Vol 2, p. 64

BEING interested in organs and organists, I had long been anxious to hear the famous American organist, Jesse Crawford, so, hearing by chance that he had come to England and was playing at the Empire Theatre, Leicester Square, and having to get through one of those interminable, lonely evenings that every organist's wife knows so well, I decided a visit would be well worth my while.

Irritating Bluff

Arriving at the booking-office of the Empire—that ornate building with its luxurious halls and marvellous decorations—I asked for a seat for Is. 6d., and was told that there was only standing room at 2s. 6d. To my amazement, when I got inside, I found the place only half full!

A Real Artist

There was no fanfare of trumpets but a general air of expectancy as the famous organist came up on the console lift in semi-darkness; and when, after a pause, the first waves of melody came floating out, I knew at once that I was listening to one of the chosen few.

I asked myself : " Is it just because he is Jesse Crawford that I am so intensely interested ? " No ; if I had not known who was playing, I should have said : " Here is a real artist." He seemed to be thoroughly enjoying himself, not just merely anxious to get it over, nor did he play full organ all the time as many players do. I admired his subtle combinations of stops and his use of the effects, which are as a rule not used at all or else very much overdone. He brought out the beautiful tone-colours of the organ in a marvellous way, and I much enjoyed his choice of a simple medley of well-known old tunes which melted one into the other.

Perfect Personality

As to the man himself, his charming smile, unassuming yet forceful personality, quiet command of the organ and general air of boyish enjoyment left me with no doubts as to the reasons for his great and continued popularity both in America and England, where he will always be a welcome visitor.

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