Some time ago some CDs arrived from Ants Records. Ants Records’ output is diverse and always fascinating. Here is a brief look at one of those CDs:
Composer Tom Johnson’s Organ and Silence (2000) performed by Wesley Roberts. I found this had an ‘edge of the seat’ quality throughout. Fragments, or bursts of activity, of organ sound are alternated with periods of silence. (sound and silence equally part of the music, of course). The regular pattern of sound and silence sets up some sense of certainty and an equivalent sense of anticipation.
We’ve had decades now to process and absorb the role, in music, of silence as a presence rather than an absence, but there are so many ways in which this understanding can be expressed or used. I’m making reference here to John Cage’s non-silent 4’33” of 1952 of course.
In Tom Johnson’s Organ and Silence I’m hearing music related to the late (1980s) piano music of Morton Feldman and from my point of view as a composer bridges a space between Feldman’s late piano works and my own Waterways of Lincoln composition projects begun in 2012, especially 5 Nocturnes and 5 Diurnes.
I hope these few brief comments engourage people to check this out as I highly recommend this CD. The notes on the linked page are probably clearer than my own. Ants Records: