Monday, 15 August 2016

Charlemagne Palestine - Schlingen-Blängen (rec. 1988, rel. 1999)

We've had a few minimalist organ works on these pages already, but none so minimal as this single drone, developed by Charlemagne Palestine during the 70s by holding down notes on the organ with pieces of cardboard and then gradually expanding the sound solely through use of the organ stops.  Schlingen Blängen (a meaningless title invented by the composer) could therefore last indefinitely if desired, and was sometimes performed for up to six hours.  This 1988 performance in a village church in Farmsum, Groningen (which had previously played an important role in the development of the piece) is a more manageable 71 minutes in length.

This is a work that rewards concentration for its full duration, to let the initially static-seeming piece reveal all its subtle changes.  Different frequencies are periodically introduced and collide against each other, creating an oscillating feeling of rhythm amidst the giant, unchanging sustained chord.  After ramping this up as far as it can go, the gradually quietening ending is just as stately.


Previously posted at SGTG: Strumming Music

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