Sunday, November 8, 2015

John Zorn: The Hermetic Organ Volume 2 - John Zorn, Solo Organ Improvisation, St. Paul's Chapel N.Y.C. Tzadik Records, 2014

I love organ music and I have special sweet-spot for *everything* JS Bach ever wrote for the massive pipe instrument, and an equal adoration and fascination for contemporary organ literature. Zorn's first instrument was actually the organ, and he was already putting his fingers to work by the age of 9. As actual "captured" commercially available performances/ recordings, "The Hermetic Organ", is in three Volumes, the first two recorded live at St. Paul's Chapel in New York City. From torrential intervals raining down the pipes, to the ecclesiastical moments of modal prayer, to the restraint of a Webern-like simplicity, Volume 2 is my absolute favorite and the rewards add up and reveal themselves more and more each time one listens (good headphones needless to say make the experience that much more fantastical).   

Tzadik discs usually come with the signature informative spine, that is loose once you unwrap the plastic. Saving you all the 1 second it would take to enlarge the photo, here is what is said of Vol. 2:

"Drawing upon traditions as varied as Messiaen, Xenakis, Ligeti, Bach, Tournemire, Ives, Korla Pandit and The Phantom of the Opera, Zorn’s organ improvisations are transcendent, inspiring, ecstatic experiences, offering a direct line to the workings of his rich compositional imagination. Performed at St. Paul’s Chapel at a time when the organ was undergoing extensive reconstruction, the limited number of stops available to him focused his imagination to new heights, resulting in Zorn’s most revelatory recital to date. The second volume documenting these legendary organ recitals is a overwhelming experience filled with moments of passion, tenderness, fragility and extraordinary power."

John Zorn performing at Alice Tully Hall

Before the majestic, swirling improvisations of the (Vol.1) performance at St. Paul's

Enjoy everyone!



cjvinthechair said...

Well, since I'm being ambitious under your tutelage let's try some solo organ music !
My 'collection', or as I more accurately put it last time, music I 'have access to', is vastly more in the form of downloads than CDs, which would only number around 700 - so don't begin to compare with what you're able to post the vast majority of my CDs are 'pre-owned'.
No, not competing with you in any way, Mr. T. If 6/7/8 years ago someone had told me I'd have that many CDs + some 18,000 downloads (from various sources !) I'd have laughed them away. But my, hasn't the journey been fun !

Marquis said...

Hi, thanks for volume 2! I have volume 1 but agree that #2 that you shared is better.
Is there any chance you could post volume 3 when you have the time?

DarkS said...

Excellent stuff thanks!

Tzadik said...

Cjv I have a feeling that you probably didn't love this disc-many people won't-but it's worth the patience I think. I cannot begin to count how many downloads I have, but it's a mere speck compared to actual physical discs and records. Yes, the journey is fun indeed :-) It's just a small hop, skip, n jump back to the great days of having to *actually* leave home, into the fresh air and sunlight (I have become something of a Romanian legend myself since the inception of the 'net, music and dim lights..hold the garlic and stakes) to buy music. It was delightfully time-consuming, how I miss that! Meanwhile we can d/l a file in 1 minute, and then hunger for dozens more instantly, so darn easy. But...there's less excitement in that. I suppose the closest thing I have to a tangible recording shopping experience now is Amazon etc, the anticipation of getting packages in the mailbox is better than nothing!


Tzadik said...

Hi Marquis I assume you found Vol. 3 by now, I posted it for you :)


Tzadik said...

DarkS you are welcome!