Contemporary

Semaine du Neuf | The Power of the Organ and the Wind

par Elena Mandolini

On the penultimate day of the second edition of the Semaine du Neuf presented by Le Vivier, the public was invited to Ascension of Our Lord Church for an unusual concert: an improvisation composed for a computer-controlled organ. The work featured, L’être contre le vent by German composer Matthias Krüger, was presented as part of his residency. Although primarily an improvisation, this piece is built on the desire to explore the sound potential of the organ. Knowing that there’s almost nothing an organ alone can’t do, imagine what it’s like when you add a computer! The possibilities are now truly endless.

The piece opens with a rumble of low organ notes, in which we hear the wind. This introduction even shakes the church floor. An excellent introduction. Right from the start, you sense just how powerful, imposing and monumental the organ is. You can hear the architecture of the music in this work: the organist, Adrian Foster, plays and repeats chords, while Matthias Krüger, using his electronic device, modifies the sounds. In addition to the acoustic sounds of the organ, purely electronic noises are added, reminiscent of metal squeaks, bells and sirens.

The location adds a great deal to the appreciation of the work. One thing is certain, the listening conditions in which the audience was immersed are rare. As is customary in organ concerts, the audience could not see the instrumentalists. As a result, the architecture of the church was immersed in half-light. With the sound reverberating off the stone, we had the impression that the organ sound was coming from everywhere and surrounding us. The effect is striking, even a little disquieting, but you’re transported and moved.

The different sections of the work, of varying intensity, follow one another almost imperceptibly to paint as many images. The music created is highly evocative. At times, it’s like being underwater, and at others, it’s like being in a glittering forest. And of course, the wind is never far away.

L’être contre le vent is a moving, even troubling, work that transports and embraces us. Despite some lengthy repeated chords, the audience is constantly moving through the work and the changing sonorities. A great success!

To find out about upcoming events presented by Le Vivier, click HERE!

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