Tone 21 | Spire – “Live in Geneva Cathedral”


This release received an Honorary Distinction at Ars Electronica in 2006

DCD – 7 tracks

Track Listing:

CDOne 76:04
On the main organ in the cathedral: Charles Matthews plays tracks 1-4:

1. Marcus Davidson – Opposites Attract [10:05]
2. Marcus Davidson – Psalm for Organ 3 [1:24]
3. André Jolivet – Hymne à l’Universe [11:58]
4. Liana Alexandra – Consonances lll [6:52]
Marcus Davidson plays track 5:
5. Henryk Gorécki – Kantata for organ op. 26 [15:42]
In the side chapel: 6. BJNilsen – Live in La Petite Chapelle [29:59]

CDTwo 69:06

1. In the crypt: Philip Jeck – Live in the Crypt [44:14]
2. In the side chapel: Fennesz – Live in La Petite Chapelle [24:49]

St. Pierre Cathedral, Geneva, was the crucible of the Reformation in 1534…

The second release in the Spire series [cf Spire, organ works past, present & future, Touch # Tone 20, 2004] is more than a document of ‘Spire Live’, which took place as part of La Batie 2004, at St. Pierre Cathedral, Geneva, on 5th September 2004. Curated by Eric Linder, from La Batie, and Mike Harding, the dynamism of the event, where the audience rotated between 3 separate venues within the Cathedral precinct, is reflected in the individual recordings: Philip Jeck goes heavy metal in the crypt: BJNilsen comes over all moody in the side chapel, and Fennesz soothes and seduces in the same place.
All this is set up by Charles Matthews and Marcus Davidson on the main organ [4 manifolds, computer operated] which dominates the time and place. Davidson plays Gorécki’s extraordinary Kantata for organ, [full stops on max employed here] which segués into BJNilsen’s ultra-heavy live organ and electronics next door. This follows Charles Matthews’s excellent renditions of pieces by Jolivet and Alexandra which, as the text by Thierry Charollais says: “The event seemed provoking and iconoclastic in contrast to the severe and austere atmosphere of the cathedral. Though some of the musical pieces were audacious, the music focused mainly on spirituality. It generated a different perception of the organ pieces, thus modifying our perception of the cathedral and making the event truly exceptional.”

And to finish, Fennesz soothed us with sound. His set evoked the rolling centuries in all their pain and beauty, leaving us at once becalmed and energised, but never oppressed under the weight of time.