The Organ


Mirror III; Still & Leben; Countermove I-III; In triplum I-III; Der er s favrt i Jelling at hvile; Arkaisk procession; Spejlkabinet with Eva Feldback on organ
DACAPO 8.224254

A unique personality in Danish musical life, the most 'grotesquely humorous' of his inter-war generation of Danish composer, Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen (b.1932) advanced through Stravinsky, Bartk and Hindemith to and beyond serialism, Stockhausen and Ligeti, and flirted with the "new simplicity", developing his own 'filter' or self-reflecting tonal grid. He avoids compartmentalising and his composing palette embraces influences of Baroque music, Pygmy music, jazz, plainchant, the sounds of everyday life and sheer noise; he is a 'master of the absurd'.

This CD surveys his experiments from1974-2002. Mirrors (1974) run in extended accelerandi and ritardandi, layer on layer, each of the four movements confined to its own dynamic level. Gudmundsen-Holmgreen tried to be 'simple' in Still & Leben; Countermove I-III & In triplum I-III (1999), but could not avoid a plethora of polyrhythm, polychromaticism, diatonics and melody (the latter sparingly). The Archaic Procession has octave clusters. Cabinet of Mirrors (2002) will have at least a point of connection for organist readers; it adds to Bach's 'mirror fugues' in Die Kunst der Fuge with the aid of four assistants who help his devoted interpreter Eva Feldbaek to conjure glissandi from the reed stops, both on the organ and inside the organ case!! Heady stuff, which I found totally compelling, a completely original figure who pulls the organ into the new century. PGW