Debussy – Carlo Curley – “Clair de Lune”

Recorded on the 24th of May, 1997.

Carlo Curley (b. August 24th, 1952 in Union County, North Carolina, USA – d. August 11th, 2012 in Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, UK) was a flamboyant and popular classical concert organist. Dubbed “The Pavarotti of the Organ” by The San Jose Mercury News he was one of only a handful of performing organists worldwide who support themselves exclusively by giving recitals, concerts and master classes, without a teaching or church position. Curley was cosmopolitan and refered to North Carolina as ‘home’ and England as ‘home away from home’. He resided in Scandinavia from 1980 until 1988.

He was born into a musical family — his mother was a gifted violinist and his grandmother a respected local piano teacher – and attended the North Carolina School of the Arts. He subsequently enjoyed advanced private tuition with American organ titans Virgil Fox and Robert Elmore; the doyen of English organists, Dr. (later Sir) George Thalben-Ball and coached privately with eminent American organ pedagogue Arthur Poister. Curley was also influenced greatly by long-time friend and confidant, the American organist ‘oracle’ Robert Noehren, for whom he often played. Noehren was always complimentary about Curley’s talent and once wrote to a colleague that “Curley could easily become the new Anton Heiller”. (Heiller was a renowned Austrian organ recitalist who enjoyed a stellar, international reputation.)

Curley’s approach to performing, while very much his own man, paid homage primarily to that of Virgil Fox, aiming to make classical organ music popular to a wider audience, often including pieces from other classical genres arranged and transcribed by himself.