The Works for Organ

The Works for Organ

John Cage

Label: Mode Records
Format: DVD movie
Barcode: 0764593025399
Catalog number: MODEDVD 253
Releasedate: 20-01-17

Some of “The Harmony of Maine” (Supply Belcher) (1978)
Souvenir (1983)
ASLSP (1985)
Organ2/ASLSP (1987)
Gary Verkade, organ of Nederluleå Church, Gammelstad, Sweden
assisted by various registrants

The organ is ideally suited to Cage’s aesthetic — its multitude of stops make it the ultimate prepared instrument. And the fact that sound emanates from a number of pipes placed at discrete locations in space nicely accords with Cage’s idea of the separation of
sounds in space. It represents vast possibilities that could be released as sound through the use of chance operations. For this reason Cage’s organ music occupies a small but quite important place within his output.

For Some of “The Harmony of Maine” Cage selected 18th-century hymns by American composer Supply Belcher and altered them by extending certain tones and removing others through chance operations so as to attenuate the functional harmony underlying them. Here and there, melodic fragments from the original hymns remain.

The 1978 and 1987 works were written for the German organist Gerd Zacher, an important champion of new music for the instrument.

American organist Gary Verkade, a student of Gerd Zacher, is on the faculty of the Musikhögskola in Piteå, Sweden. He has appeared at major festivals and concerts throughout Europe and the USA. Verkade was one of the registrants in the first German performance of Some of “The Harmonyof Maine”.

Includes trilingual booklet with essay by Cage specialist Rob Haskins.

The spectacular Gammelstad organ and its acoustic is captured in surround sound with Tim Chu’s painterly films of the organist performing with up to six registrants, as required for some of the pieces.

- Gary Verkade, a champion of new organ music, discusses performing Cage on the organ, how “chance” is applied to the performances and gives musical examples (31 minutes).
- A video performance of 4'33" performed on the organ by Gary Verkade
- Dolby 5.1 and DTS 24-bit 5.1 sound, plus Dolby stereo
- Full video

Also available as a 2-CD set.
Gary Verkade is an influential and sought after interpreter of New Music throughout Europe and the United States. An organist, composer, and co-founder of the Essen, Germany-based improvisation ensemble SYNTHESE, he has been a leader in bringing forth serious new music for the organ, commissioning  new works and working in a collaborative capacity with composers. He has a particular interest in performing music for organ and electronics. Verkade’s own compositions range among music for organ, electronics, chamber and improvisation ensembles. As a player of improvised  music, he has worked together with dancers, photographers and painters on projects which bring the arts together in a com-plementary and fructuous manner. He has published essays and articles on a variety of subjects relating to organ performance, Early Music performance practice, and composition. He has recorded New and Old Music, improvised music and his own compositions for a number of different labels. Dr. Verkade has been on the faculty of the Musikhögskolan i Piteå, Sweden since 2000.