Organ and Silence is a two-hour organ work (the Wesley Roberts recording is about an hour), distinguished by lengthy periods of silence. A set of notes or a phrase will be followed by complete silence. It might be a short pause or it might be say a 10 second gap and then another musical phrase. All sixteen movements follow that same pattern of short musical fragment, pause, then repeat for three or four minutes.
The effect is provocative, to say the least. After listening for awhile, the music acts as prelude for the silent breaks, rather than vice versa. And what to do during the silence? The musical rhythm does not really allow for counting beats; listening to ambient sounds as in Cage's 4'33" is difficult as music keeps interrupting; echoing the just played fragment in the mind does not necessarily fit in the silent time allotted.
On the Pogus website: This work is conceived not "for organ" but, really, for "organ and silence", as the silence is a fundamental part of it, and it’s not possible to give it up. It’s an attempt, as the author explain " to permit as much silence as possible, without allowing the music to actually stop"...CAUTION: Listening to POGUS CD's may cause you to become one with the universe (or at least your immediate environment)
The site says this is a 1000-copy limited edition CD. A distinctive CD to say the least.
Johnson was clearly influenced by his teacher Morton Feldman and quotes Feldman: "Let the music do what it wants to do." His collection of columns written from 1972 to 1982 for the Village Voice, The Voice of New Music, is available here, as PDF or Word. No MP3 or streaming of this piece, though.