The six compositions of Gerd Zacher's organ recital yesterday afternoon in Bradley Hills Presbyterian Church were written between 1967 and 1976, and all of their composers are still alive. That, however, was not the most unusual fact of the day's music.
In the simplest sense it would not be difficult to describe much that went on in the music. There were frequent uses of stasis, the near-stoppage of any sense of motion in the music, there were many examples of sheer sound, chords sustained for various lengths of time, single notes held while their sources were altered or the tremulant turned on and off. Twice during the concert the organ motor was turned off and then on again, something that causes the sound to die away and then return. Two other organists assisted Zacher in changing registrations and with the organ motor.
The composers on Zacher's list were Isang Yun, who spent nearly three years in a Korean prison; Marcello Panni of Rome, Claude Lefebvre of Metz, Luc Ferrari of Paris, Zacher himself and Gyorgy Ligeti, a Hungarian who has spent much time teaching in this country.
In his own work Zacher struck the organ bench with his hand and sang the letters B-A-C-H. While it is a welcome fact that new kinds of music are at last being written for the organ, it is hard to think that much that Zacher played is likely to attract audiences.