In the world of music, a major dual talent occasionally turns up, such as an artist who can play two instruments with equal skill, or a musician who enjoys success both as a composer and as an instrumentalist. Taking this as a yardstick, Kit Armstrong is a triple talent. The exceptional 25-year-old artist is one of the most sought-after pianists of our time, he has won numerous prizes as a composer, and recently discovered the “queen of instruments”. When Kit Armstrong gave his first organ concert in Trier in August 2016, the press went wild: “What a highlight! What a tremendous, breathtaking conclusion! When Kit Armstrong steered into the last, massive chord passages and reached the ultimate, triumphant blaze of C major in Franz Liszt’s Fantasy and Fugue on the Chorale “Ad nos”, the more than 600 visitors in Trier’s Basilica of Constantine could barely wait until the echo died away before applauding.”
For his Berlin organ debut, Kit Armstrong has designed a programme that takes into account the symphonic qualities of the Philharmonie organ. The matinee begins with Edward Elgar’s great Organ Sonata – a captivating work with many impassioned anthems and other immediately appealing melodies. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Fantasia and Fugue in C major was originally composed for piano and has been transcribed for the organ by Kit Armstrong.
The final item of the programme is the work with which Kit Armstrong astounded his audience in Trier: Franz Liszt’s Fantasy and Fugue on the chorale “Ad nos, ad salutarem undam”. The 1850 composition is in a sense a miniature opera “without words”. After an overture – the curtain rises – an almost half-hour narrative begins, consisting of duets and trios, recitatives, arias and choruses, plus a brilliant ending which is one of the best ever composed for the organ.