Orgelnatt (Organ Night) gathered almost 200 persons in Oslo Cathedral on May 13th. Cirka 150 attended in Stavanger at Maijazz festival. The event at Trondheim jazzfestival was very well received, although by a slightly smaller audience.
The idea was to create a 2 hour zone of sound. In our written information, we encouraged the public to try different positions in the church. Especially in Stavanger this worked well out.
We started and ended the event by playing the outdoor sound "live" on the loudspeakers. Just few of the audience realized it was the actual passing cars, birds and tramways they heard, as they entered the strange, noisy atmosphere in the church. Listen to soundclips:
"As the wind machine stopped, we were sheer ears and concentration" (review from Vårt Land). The rest of the concert was performed from the organ loft. "It was a far too seldom experience where sound and space came together, also without the distraction of watching the performers." (mail from audience member) A couple of visual artists referred to the event as triggering a lot of inner images.
The music was improvised, within a main structure that was rehearsed in beforehand. In Oslo it was obvious that we had some people coming for an organ music experience, and maybe not prepared for this kind of improvised music. A few left, but one of those that stayed wrote a long mail describing an event that was a physical and emotional strain, but an overwhelming and provocative experience he would not have missed. A few clips taken with a stereo pair of microphones. More clips may be uploaded when we have mixed the multitrack recording.
Balance was an issue in the Stavanger concert, as was the disposition of musical energy during the progress of the concert. In our opinion, this was solved in the next two events. So a few comments after Stavanger concert that we could have shortened it by half an hour might not be valid for the concept as such.
"As the musical interplay between Paal Nilssen-Love and Nils Henrik Asheim reached its peak, the church walls dancing with video flames, entirely new spaces and sensations were opened up for us. One of Asheim's intentions is to show the organ as a universe. This he achieves, but even more he shows that the church is a universe, still with a potential to be explored" (From review in Vårt Land) At the end of the concert we turned on the outdoor microphones again.
Frode Gjerstad, clarinets | Elisabet Vatn, bagpipe | Lasse Marhaug, electronics | Paal Nilssen-Love, drums | Nils Henrik Asheim, organ