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Mander Organs
Guest Roffensis

Philip Glass

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I think it is fair to say that Commotio is very highly regarded, at least amongst organists. I have the score, but have to admit that I have never been able to make sense of it. I have a recording too, but the piece still leaves me cold. To me it just seems to be endless, meandering sound with neither shape nor rhythm. I'm quite sure the failing here is mine and not Nielson's.

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I think it is fair to say that Commotio is very highly regarded, at least amongst organists. I have the score, but have to admit that I have never been able to make sense of it. I have a recording too, but the piece still leaves me cold. To me it just seems to be endless, meandering sound with neither shape nor rhythm. I'm quite sure the failing here is mine and not Nielson's.

 

I'm glad that someone at least seems to have the same failings as myself!

 

I don't understand it either!

 

I thought that it was just me...

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Guest Cynic
I'm glad that someone at least seems to have the same failings as myself!

 

I don't understand it either!

 

I thought that it was just me...

 

 

 

My problem is that I don't speak or read Danish. [i speak from memory,] either at the back or the front there is a complete page which is clearly about editorial problems with the score. For example, I have long wondered if the Danish word 'manglet' means 'missing'. This word appears many times with references to different bars. There are other less guessable words.

 

Once I'm over sightreading/struggling through the first couple of pages, I very much like the rest. The opening sounds very discordant to me, hence my worry that I've not followed up the right editorial advice. I suppose I shouldn't be so lazy. The answer would be to take the score and check it against one or other of about three recordings I have on LP. I wouldn't necessarily put my trust in one famous UK version, however, not after seeing what happened to Franck's second Choral on the same disc.

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For example, I have long wondered if the Danish word 'manglet' means 'missing'. This word appears many times with references to different bars. There are other less guessable words.

Online translation is a wonderful thing ("der mangler" -> "there lacks", so your guess seems good). But looking at that page, there are two sources, and most of the textual commentary is saying that one or the other is missing an accidental. Probably only half a dozen of the editorial decisions are non-trivial (and in those cases, the alternatives are shown in the text), which in a piece of this size is not a big worry.

 

I have enjoyed listening to this piece since I was a student (which is why I have a score), but it's way beyond my playing ability.

 

Paul

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Guest Roffensis
Far from minimalist but I don't really want to start a new thread, I have been to a recital today where the organist played Neilson's Commotio, a piece I heard and (shhhhh!) taped on the radio once so I got used to hearing it but this was the first time I think I'd heard it live. It is a fantastic piece of music and the recitalist did it proud. I'm not an organist but I'd be interested to hear other's opinion of the work and in fact whether you play it because it seemed to me an horrendous thing to play.

 

 

Naughty you!! Perish the thought anyone should record anything off the BBC!! Doubtless they will have archived all of their recordings, many of which were unique, never to be repeated. Of course I have never recorded off the BBC! :unsure:

 

Was it by any chance Haderlev Cathedral where the Commotio was done!? :)

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From the Independent, 29 June 2007:

 

"The case against Glass is that his pursuit of big audiences has turned his music bland, and that he has settled for a facile musical formula; the case for him is that he is a ground-breaker, an inventor, and an iconoclast. But if you listen to those regular pulses and thrummingly repeated chords, there are other notes and harmonies lurking in the atmosphere above: an implied musical world, quite different from that which is explicit in the score. And that is what is really clever."

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Roffensis,

 

With the board being off-line and not reading contributions lately, I've only just seen your comment about Commotio. Indeed I think it was Haderlev Cathedral, and the old cassette tape must be gathering dust under the stairs somewhere. I expect, like me, you recall the good old days when we had "Music for Organ" twice a week on Radio 3. I must have countless hours of fascinating recitals on cassette and shame on the BBC that they're never repeated.

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Guest Roffensis
Roffensis,

 

With the board being off-line and not reading contributions lately, I've only just seen your comment about Commotio. Indeed I think it was Haderlev Cathedral, and the old cassette tape must be gathering dust under the stairs somewhere. I expect, like me, you recall the good old days when we had "Music for Organ" twice a week on Radio 3. I must have countless hours of fascinating recitals on cassette and shame on the BBC that they're never repeated.

 

 

Yes, and I well recall Guillou's Six Sagas, Keith John at Gloucester.....which you so kindly.....do you remember?.....Chester!!

 

R

 

(duplicate reply post here possibly? the first attempt appeared to fail)

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Did anyone here see Philip Glass's new work Book of Longing, a collaboration with the singer-songwriter-poet-novelist-artist Leonard Cohen? I got to see the European premiere in Cardiff, with a pre-concert interview with the composer. I thought that although the music was undoubtedly Glass, at times he seemed to divert fron his usual style and the work assumed an almost vaudeville character.

 

Any thoughts, anyone?

 

Peter

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Guest spottedmetal
I should have said that minimalist music focuses rather less on harmony and more on rhythmic (and sometimes almost visual) patterns. . . . However, what is apparent, is that there is far less vertical emphasis on a harmonic structure and rather more on linear movement - the slight alteration of a particular figuration, for example, in order to create an interesting effect of the juxtaposition of each voice or part.

I was looking for a thread on the use of temperaments . . . and stumbled on this one. During the past half century we have been significantly influenced by traditions from far away: Indian Raga for Citar and Tabla is just one of these styles in which, with scarce harmonic structure, use of little more than a handful of notes in tune and a rhythm which becomes ever more complex, the specific aim is to assist the trance. We are seeing this aspect of what we might not call music in nightclubs to which people shake for hours.

 

However, "slight alteration of a particular figuration" has been known to us for years in the form of Change Bell Ringing.

 

We heard an amazing performance of "Clapping Music" by Reich a few weeks ago in which sequences of claps were interrupted by extra beats which changed position as in bell ringing. Quite startling and very effective - music is certainly developing in new directions, and when performed well can be rather engaging.

 

Best wishes

 

Spot

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