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Label: CYBELE SACD 060303
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WILLEM TANKE (*1959)
Meditations for Lent (2002)
Meditations for a lent is the result of a research that I carried out for the World Music Research Group of Codarts, University of Professional Arts Education. This research was called The Art of Doing Nothing, took place from 2004 till 2006 and was related to my activities as head of the theory department and professor of improvisation at Rotterdam Conservatoire. In particular, Meditations for a lent has been produced with an eye to the seminar Organ music in the 21st century, organized by Codarts in 2007.
The organ-playing of J. S. Bach, who could achieve an extraordinarily powerful musical expression with very small movements of the hands and feet, according to one of his contemporaries, was the starting-point for the research. During my study and afterwards, this helped me form a picture of the ideal way of playing the organ and an attitude towards musicianship, which I later called The Art of Doing Nothing. With an eye to great composers who were also known for their improvisations on the organ, such as - besides J.S. Bach - Sweelinck and Messiaen, The Art of Doing Nothing aimed at improving mental and physical conditions for musicianship, by creating a good balance between performing, improvising and composing, with the help of analysis and research.
For the instruction of students, the following text has been used:
At the beginning there is silence, leading towards a good performing attitude, with a calm, concentrated mind, a relaxed body and steady breathing from the lower stomach. With this attitude, a useful musical idea, or “invention”, emerges from improvisation. A second “invention” can be added to provide contrast or to enhance the structure. Then the improvisation, played repeatedly from the sketches, slowly crystallizes into a composition. This process could last several days, weeks, months or even years, the sketches becoming increasingly detailed. Ultimately each piece may be entirely composed or still permit some improvisation.
All the pieces of Meditations for a lent have evolved in this manner.