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Like a Flame album cover - Frederik Magle

Excerpts from »Like a Flame« - free improvisations for organ:

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    Like a Flame
    A double organ music-album with free improvisations by composer, pianist, and concert organist Frederik Magle.

    (Proprius Music (Proprius Records) PRCD 2061)

    CD 1 (59:49)

    01 Origin
    02 Like a Flame
    03 Fleeting Glimpses
    04 Towards Truth
    05 A Temptation
    06 Merry-go-round
    07 Awakening
    08 Awake
    09 To Become
    10 Realization
    11 Truth

    CD 2 (73:11)

    01 Odditorium
    02 Through the Mist
    03 Crossing Borders
    04 Dreams of Childhood Dreams
    05 Memories of Meadows
    06 Behind the Mask
    07 Empty Fair
    08 Lament (Sheet music available)
    09 Journey Forever
    10 Destiny
    11 Ascending
    12 End of the Circle

    Recommended Classical Music CD »..exciting to listen to«

      - Östgöta Correspondenten (Sweden)


    »...He describes the whole experience as "psychedelic", but there is nothing hallucinatory about the quality of the results. Magle's music-making is highly creative, sometimes visionary«

    »...The hour-long first disc flies past.«

    »...The disc ends with a marvellous Widor-like toccata, 'Ascending', followed by the almost extra-terrestrial 'End of the Circle'.

    It is this kind of intelligent variation which characterises the whole programme - dramatic window-rattlers alternating with pieces that are serenely uplifting or contemplative and others again that are mischievously eccentric or playful. To complement this there is also a steady flow of ideas, expertly implemented, within the improvisations themselves.

    At no point in the two hours is the listener's attention given cause to flag; yet the music is often so emotionally intense that, between discs, a cup of tea at the very least is advisable.«

    »...this is a double CD that no fan of original organ music should be without.«

      - MusicWeb International


    » are alternately shaken and stirred by dark, DARK, images which fill you with dread«

    »...He is a composer/player of great depth - his instrument is the organ which he dominates with the control of an ubermeister

    »...A deep dark recording of absolutely top value.«

      - Abi Rhodes' Zigzag Wanderings


    »...'Realization'. Ethereal and beautiful...«

    »...virtuosic and riveting...«

    » own personal favorite is probably the very last track 'End of the Circle', which with the use throughout of a four-tone ostinato and the organ's distinctive, some would say slightly too effective, tremulant conjures up a strange, sick, fascinating, and ghostly universe, which one has to go to Ligeti's 1st etude for organ to find anything resembling.«

      - Christian Præstholm, Associate prof. Royal Conservatory of Music, Aarhus


    »...the results are something any aficionado of organ music will find delightful. His improvisations are varied, inventive and sonically powerful. The recording has excellent sound qualities as well.«

    »...Highly recommended!«

      - Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review

    Frederik Magle, organ

    Recorded December 22-23, 2009 on the organ in Jørlunde church, Denmark
    - A pipe organ built with tonal design by Frederik Magle.

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    Addendum to the Liner Notes

    »During the 5-month voicing process - the final part of the construction of the pipe organ where the sound is shaped and fine-tuned - I would come to the church most days and improvise on the newly voiced pipes. Sometimes a whole voice (row of pipes), sometimes just a few pipes.

    The voicer (organ builder) would be present - listening - and when I had improvised for a while we would then discuss the sound in detail and finally agree on what changes to the sound of the pipes, if any, should be made. We would then repeat the process the next day and so forth.

    The improvisations on Like a Flame represents the consequence and culmination, so to speak, of the improvisations that had a role in shaping the instrument's sound.«

    »Like a Flame« Album Liner Notes (excerpt)

    »On December 22nd, 2009 I began recording what was to become the album "Like a Flame", on a brand new pipe organ. This marked the culmination of 5 years of work, which started when I was hired in 2004 to create the specifications and tonal design for a new organ in Jørlunde church, an 11th century church near Copenhagen, Denmark.

    As realized by organ builders Frobenius the instrument brings into reality my ideas and wishes for a pipe organ of its particular size. The music I recorded was made in symbiosis with the instrument. The instrument became an extension of my musical thoughts, and at the same time my thoughts were extended by the instrument.

    Over the course of two days I played a total of 60 improvisations, 23 of which I have selected and meticulously sorted into this musical and mental journey.

    I recorded, highly focused and with a bare minimum of breaks, for more than ten hours straight each day. With exception of "To Become" (which is only partly an improvisation) all music was composed from scratch during the recording sessions, and is presented here unedited as a one take live recording. I'm currently (as of October 2010) in the process of writing down all the works.

    For me the experience became what can be characterized as psychedelic, completely and utterly withdrawn from the world outside (while outside the church walls, the worst snowstorm in many years raged - making the real world itself seem like a fantasy in many ways. It took me several weeks to recover both physically and mentally from this experience.

    The result is music created with no expectations from anyone, not even myself, because I was so withdrawn from the world whilst composing/improvising. I simply "let the music out" working together with the organ, allowing the pieces to come to life. And alive they came, each like a being with an individual story to tell. Filled with different emotions: joy, hate, love, anger, despair, sorrow, hope, but having one main purpose: to become.

    I have combined the music into a story spanning the two CDs. A story of restless, sometimes tortured, minds on a journey somewhere between the unreal and the all too real. This space does not allow me to go into detail about each work, but the titles will provide clues. I present you with a group of individualists, over which I can only pretend to have control. However, the final word lies with you - the listener.«

    - Frederik Magle

    Frederik Magle signature

    »Faeries, come take me out of this dull world,
    For I would ride with you upon the wind,
    Run on the top of the dishevelled tide,
    And dance upon the mountains like a flame!«

    - William Butler Yeats, "The Land of Heart's Desire"

    Swell Organ Pipes

    A look inside the pipe organ.

    Album Credits:

    Recording engineer and co-producer: Hans Nielsen, Focus Recording
    Produced by Frederik Magle

    Photography, artwork and graphics design by:
    Michel Winckler-Krog and Marius Budu

    Cover model: Rikke Jernhorst

    Registration assistant on To Become (CD1, track 9): Jannik Hansen

    Technical Details for Audiophiles

    The double album "Like a Flame" is recorded in 24bit audio, using a pair of DPA 4040 gold microphones (limited edition model, 100 pairs made), with their matching calibrated tube-amplifier directly connected to a reference class A/D converter for audiophile level sound quality.

    Contact Frederik Magle.

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  • »...organ virtuoso«

    »...fairytale world of sound evoking images of towering pipes in Gothic cathedrals« »Gothic fantasy«

    »...His improvisations are varied, inventive and sonically powerful« ... »Highly recommended!«

    'Ascending': »Virtuosic and riveting« ... 'Realization': »Ethereal and beautiful«

    »...this is a double CD that no fan of original organ music should be without.«

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