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Hermann Nitsch

Orgelkonzert (CD + Booklet)


Edition of 350. "No composer could do that and no 'musical' improviser either; it’s a mystical, spiritual, experiential thing, only he could do that." Chris Cutler
Hermann Nitsch, father of the Viennese Actionism, is one of the most celebrated living artists: his transgressive performances continue to cause quite a stir, and his paintings are exhibited in the most prestigious museums worldwide. His music production, on the other hand, is still relatively unknown to both the public and the specialised press, overshadowed by his fame as a performance artist. And yet his works showcase an astounding mastery of sound matter even in the absence of formal music studies, as demonstrated by this Orgelkonzert, which documents the closing concert of the 29th edition of AngelicA in 2019.

In his quest for the Total Art Work which engages all the senses, Nitsch started to incorporate “choirs of shouters” and bruitist orchestras into his Orgies Mysteries Theatre, in an attempt to evoke the very roots of music - the scream and the Dionysian racket - and to mutually intensify sound and action. And it was precisely in Bologna in 1977 that the Requiem in the Church of Santa Lucia marked a turning point in his use of drones, the long and drawn-out sounds which became a constant in his musical style from then on. Over the years Nitsch also composed several concert pieces (symphonies for choir and orchestra, string quartets) and held numerous organ recitals. At his concert in Bologna at the Basilica di Santa Maria dei Servi he played the Tamburini opus 544 organ, equipped with approximately 5000 pipes divided into 60 registers: it is the same organ used by Terry Riley and Olivier Latry in 2013, and by Francesco Filidei in a duet with Roscoe Mitchell in 2017 (released on i dischi di angelica - IDA 040) as part of AngelicA’s concerts.

There was no written score for this performance - the only pre-determined characteristic was the general (classic-symphonic) structure in four movements - and Leopoldo Siano and Josef Smutny acted as assistants to his playing technique of employing small wooden boards, thus allowing for the creations of massive clusters.

As the scholar Leopoldo Siano writes in the liner notes: “Nitsch has an unbelievable perception of form. He acts on sound in the same way he would act on blood, flesh and other colourful substances. His approach to sound is exquisitely focused on action.” “Curiously standing somewhere in-between Anton Bruckner and John Cage” his music places itself somewhere halfway “between primordial noise and harmony of the spheres”: it is, indeed “made up not only of an excessive and brutal nature, but also of a contemplative one. One is a counterpart for the other. This can perhaps be better understood by listening to his organ music.”

Released in 500 copies included a limited edition of 150 copies with a special insert hand signed by the Artist.

Cat. number: IDA 045
Year: 2020

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