Music Web International: Recording of the Year 2006.
An outstanding organist, especially in the field of contemporary music, Hans-Ola Ericsson has collaborated with composers such as Messiaen, Cage and Ligeti on the interpretation of their works. (His recording of the complete organ works by Messiaen is considered by many one to be one of the finest accounts of this central 20th-century repertoire.)
But Ericsson is also a composer, one of great integrity and originality. The works on this disc were written between 1985 and 2004, and frame a period of almost 15 years during which Ericsson came to question his work as a composer. As he writes in his liner notes, severe doubts made him experience the act of composing as ‘a black hole whose force absorbs all one’s energy’.
Through his work as a performer and teacher, it was the organ that gave his writing a new momentum: ‘The organ, with all its complexity and stylistic diversity, has inspired me; in particular the early baroque instruments. The sonic individuality that these instruments represent, with the unequal temperament as an important parameter, has been a major source of inspiration to me.’
Though the music is anything but backward-looking, baroque organs do pervade much of this disc: the Organ Mass was composed for the inauguration of the reconstructed Arp Schnitger organ in Örgryte New Church (Sweden), and the electronic part makes use of sounds from the different instruments that have formed the basis of this research project. Canzon del principe, based on a work by Gesualdo, is performed on a reconstruction of one of seventeenth-century Sweden’s finest instruments, and Flügeltüren (‘Organ Shutters’) was inspired by the shutters of the organ case in Grote St. Laurenskerk in Alkmaar, where all the electronic sounds were recorded. An exciting programme which thus combines the very old with the very new in organ music.