Of Ancient Days


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Composed in 2018 for the newly completed hyperorgan of the Orgelpark, Amsterdam, Trevor Grahl’s Of Ancient Days employs its unfamiliar resources to tell a familiar story. The piece Of Ancient Days is a musical creation story, illustrating the birth of the world through sound in a unique composition for hyperorgan. For this creation he had a special companion, the composer Johan Sebastian Bach, whose partita Sei Gegrüsset, Jesu Gütig runs through the piece like a silver thread, performed on the Utopa Baroque Organ by organist Francesca Ajossa.

The term ‘hyperorgan’ describes a complex, flexible interlinking of instruments and playing mechanisms. Key to its functioning is a digital console which was first installed in the Orgelpark in 2011 as an enhancement to the venue’s 1922 Sauer organ. On the installation of the Utopa Baroque Organ in 2018 this console additionally became one of the two modes of access to this new instrument. The addition of a digital console enables both organs to be played from a single source forming a hyperorgan capable of blending both German Baroque and Romantic sound. The hard and software offers both instruments a host of new possibilities; new ways of controlling both organ’s airflow and many other parameters are possible enabling the organs to sound very differently, producing as John Cage would have said, “glorious and shocking” sounds. And all this is acoustic, without loudspeakers!

In Of Ancient Days, Trevor Grahl shows both sides of the organ – the new and the old, which are both important, beautiful and exiting. Each movement is based on a different day of the Genesis creation narrative where elements stack on top of one another until the climax, the arrival of humans on the sixth day. Bach’s partita Sei Gegrüsset Jesu Gütig serves as the nights, offering a steadfast moment of pensive meditation amongst the creative action of the days.

Trevor Grahl is a tireless advocate of the (hyper)organ and has introduced countless composers and makers to its myriad creative possibilities. Played on one of the few hyperorgans in the world this will be the first time a specially-composed piece for this instrument will be released on CD; a world premiere recording!


Prelude: In the Beginning (Unda Maris) (Trevor Grahl)
The First Night: Chorale, Variation I (Sei gegrüset, Jesu gütig) (J.S. Bach)
The First Day: Filament (Trevor Grahl)
The Second Night: Variations II, III, IV (Sei gegrüset, Jesu gütig) (J.S. Bach)
The Second Day: Echo Sphere (Trevor Grahl)
The Third Night: Variations V, VI, VII (Sei gegrüset, Jesu gütig) (J.S. Bach)
The Third Day: The Prolific Tale of Callithamnion Roseum (a Primordial Alga) (Trevor Grahl)
The Fourth Night: Variations VIII, IX (Sei gegrüset, Jesu gütig) (J.S. Bach)
The Fourth Day: Tourbillon des Etoiles (Trevor Grahl)
The Fifth Night: Variation X (Sei gegrüset, Jesu gütig) (J.S. Bach)
The Fifth Day: Au Fond des Bois... (Trevor Grahl)
The Sixth Night: Variation XI (Sei gegrüset, Jesu gütig) (J.S. Bach)
The Sixth Day: Ecce Homo (Trevor Grahl)

Additional information








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Recording Location

Orgelpark Amsterdam

Producer, recording engineer

Ernst Coutinho


Ernst Coutinho, Tom Peeters

Original recording format



Bruel & Kjaer 4003, Neumann modified by Rens Heijnis
Neumann KU-100 (Binaural) modified by Rens Heijnis
Sonodere MPM-81


Acoustic Revive

Press reviews

MusicWeb International, January 2024

Running from the formless air sounds of In the Beginning up to The Sixth Day: Ecce Homo, this is a recording full of spectacle and surprise, putting the mind on full alert from beginning to end…The Third Day: The Prolific Tale of Callithamnion roseum (A Primordial Alga) is a highlight for me. Its ritualistic cycling and addition of material put me in mind a little of Karel Goeyvaerts’ Litanies, but the uneasy pendulum of its soundworld is thoroughly compelling. Play this loud and see if the neighbours come out to see which aliens have landed…this is a remarkable and wonderful introduction to the hyperorgan; indeed, a world première recording for any work composed specially for its extraordinary capabilities. 

MusicFrames, januari 2024

Op het album Of Ancient Days verklankt componist Trevor Grahl op onnavolgbare wijze het Scheppingsverhaal op het hyperorgel, gelardeerd met de partita Sei Gegrüsset, Jesu Gütig van J.S. Bach, prachtig uitgevoerd door Francesca Ajossa….De klankkleuren zijn ongrijpbaar en beeldend in een universum van kleurrijke klankverbeelding. Trevor Grahl  is niet alleen de componist van dit unieke werk maar ook de organist die op uitstekende wijze dit klinkend schouwspel uitvoert en het orgel in een nieuw en innovatief daglicht plaatst….Bach’s werk wordt met zorg en aandacht uitgevoerd en vormt een frisse antithese die juist door Ajossa’s innemende spel nog meer diepgang krijgt.

On the album Of Ancient Days, composer  Trevor Grahl performs the creation story in an inimitable way on the hyper organ, interspersed with the partita Sei Gegrüsset, Jesu Gütig by J.S. Bach, excellent performed by Francesca Ajossa…. The timbres are elusive and evocative in a universe of colorful sound imagination. Trevor Grahl is not only the composer of this unique work but also the organist who excellently performs this resounding spectacle and places the organ in a brand new and innovative light….Bach’s work is performed with care and attention and forms a fresh antithesis that is given even more depth by Ajossa’s endearing playing.

Orgelnieuws, december 2023 4 out of 5

Of Ancient Days is een intrigerend kunstwerk dat veel vragen oproept. De toekomst zal antwoorden brengen, en die zullen nu al voor iedereen helemaal anders zijn, maar Grahls diepzinnige klankmeditatie is alvast een indrukwekkend monument. Voor zowel het ‘eeuwige’ orgel als de schepping waarin we leven.

Of Ancient Days is an intriguing work of art that raises many questions. The future will bring answers, and they will already be completely different for everyone, but Grahl’s profound sound meditation is already an impressive monument. For both the ‘eternal’ organ and the creation in which we live.


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