Hyperion Records

Mutationes for one or two organs
The idea of the alternation of two organs (‘mutationes’) came to me when I had the opportunity to play an instrument in the Polish town of Oliwa near Gdansk. Here it is possible to sit at one console and play three separate organs situated at different places in the interior of the church. I was enthralled by the tonal contrast and the spatial effect. The occasion for the composition of the present work was a commission by the Welsh Arts Council for an organ piece for the 1980 Cardiff Festival. The alternation of a full, large-scale organ sound and, as it were, a more chamber music, baroque sound is further emphasised by the stylistic contrast: the tonal opulence of the large organ goes hand in hand with a more volatile, tonally freer style, whereas the shorter pieces with their more restricted tonal scope are somewhat archaic in manner and have their tonal centre ‘in A’, as it were.

There are two possible versions of Mutationes:

1: For one player. In this case the first movement is repeated as the seventh and last movement in order to provide a framework for the cycle. If two organs – playable from one console – are not available, then the even-numbered movements (II, IV, VI) should be performed in a registration which imitates a small Baroque organ.

2: For two players on two organs. The two soloists having played the first six movements alternately, the ‘Duo’ is performed together as a finale. The registration of this movement will depend on the tonal balance of the two instruments, but obviously the natural difference between the large and the small organ must be preserved.

From a formal point of view the cycle is a centrally-planned structure. In both versions movements I and VII provide a clear framework, while the true centre of gravity lies in the golden section, in movement V.

from notes by Petr Eben © 2002
English: Julia Rushworth and Atlas Translations

Track-specific metadata
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Details for CDA67196 track 36
Recording date
15 November 2000
Recording venue
Oslo Cathedral, Norway
Recording producer
Chris Hazell
Recording engineer
Simon Eadon
Hyperion usage
  1. Eben: Organ Music, Vol. 3 (CDA67196)
    Disc 1 Track 36
    Release date: March 2002
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