Lindisfarne Album Design Cover

Gurdjieff CD and Album design proofs arrived today.
The project will be releashed in 2017 on the Bauer Label.

Roumania Release

Roumania is released as a download from digital Stores worldwide, including iTunes. Hardcopy Cds & limited edition 12inch Album also available from music stores world wide.
Roumania marks the 5th studio album to be released by the British artist Bernard Oglesby in 2015 on the Bauer label. The work, 5 years in the making, explores the haunting Ballad for violin and piano by Ciprian Porumbescu and features a series of short works that deconstruct the Romania ballad while remaining true to the Doina folk tradition of melancholy, longing (dor), erotic feelings and love.

Bernard Oglesby Album Release

Available as a download from digital Stores world wide, including Itunes. Hardcopy Cds & 12inch Ep available from music stores worldwide.

Gurdjieff Release 2016-2017

While living in Eastern Europe during the late 80s I experienced Gurdjieff's music for the first time. I stood in front of an austere set of closed doors and listened to a young pianist play Gurdjieff's Hymns. This momentary envelope of time has remained with me and now forms the basis for an imaginary construct where Gurdjieff was the young pianist I heard in front of those closed doors. Gurdjieff is to be released in 2016 on the Ontak label.


Bernard Oglesby Album Release

Roumania will be released as a download from digital Stores world wide, including iTunes on the 6th July 2015. Hardcopy Cds & limited edition 12inch Album also available from music stores world wide.
Roumania marks the 5th studio album to be released by the British artist Bernard Oglesby in 2015 on the Bauer label. The work, 5 years in the making, explores the haunting Ballad for violin and piano by Ciprian Porumbescu and features a series of short works that deconstruct the Romania ballad while remaining true to the Doina folk tradition of melancholy, longing (dor), erotic feelings and love.

On the Art of Transcending Death: The Music of Bernard Oglesby
Published in between sound and space an ECM Records resource by Tyran Grillo

Remember thy creator before the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken or the pitcher shattered at the fountain or the wheel broken at the well. Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.
–Kirill, Andrei Rublev

Bernard Oglesby is a quiet crafter. He works his trade like a night boatman, oaring creative waters with a carriage of intuition that can only come with repetition. More than the realization of experience, such action translates into the experience of realization. It can be no surprise, then, that Oglesby should cite “The Ontology of the Photographic Image” as a cornerstone of his personal expression. To one who works across media, André Bazin’s seminal 1960 essay addresses a core truth of representation that resonates through his principled output. “It is perhaps the interrelationship of past, present, and future,” explains Oglesby in an e-interview, “that best characterizes my underlying philosophy and it is in Bazin that I find the clearest indicator for my whole practice: that of the ‘mummy complex,’ where time is slowed and preserved through a process of embalming—or, in my case, recording—in order to transcend death.” His relationship, as of any artist, to acts of transcendence is not one of seeking and achievement, but rather of bloodletting and enmeshment. For to see the self as fallible is to necessitate its unfolding into light itself.
Alongside his establishment in the fields of photography and painting, Oglesby has submerged his hands in currents of filmmaking and music. In some ways, his films are more musical than they are visual, while his music is decidedly filmic. His 2011 Mandrel, for instance, is on the surface a detail-oriented montage of foundry workers’ tasks shot in crisp black and white. But it is the incidental rhythms of said tasks that make its composition such a fine one for the senses.

The relationship between his imagistic and sonic practices is, I daresay, indivisible. “I am convinced that music is the most visual of all art forms,” Oglesby agrees, “and by its nature, nonhierarchical in its direct ability to connect with people on many personal and social levels. It was with Andrei Tarkovsky’s Andrei Rublev and the score by Vyacheslav Ovchinnikov that I began to experience and understand just how life-changing the relationship between visual art and music could be.” Yet where Tarkovsky sought to show through that classic film the artist as a hub of worldly creation, Oglesby in his own compositions is concerned with the spokes emanating from it. Like rays to a sun, each can be traced back to a generative source.

Mapping his musical evolution is a likeminded task and finds the young Oglesby seeking priesthood at a Franciscan monastery, where a different path was revealed to him on the cusp of retreat: “I left to become a church window designer,” he recalls, “before attending art school, where I failed my degree. It’s clear now that music formed a very important subconscious role and experience for me, as I come from a musical background with many of my forefathers and current family involved as musicians, singers, and producers.” Despite the constant evidence of music at home, and skipping over the obvious recovery from his nominal “failure,” Oglesby showed no direct interest in music early on. Film soundtracks, however, had what he terms a “deep and permanent register” in his growth as a listener, the scores of James Bernard and Bernard Herrmann being held in his highest esteem. Since then, his ears have subsisted on a contemplative diet of Frédéric Chopin, Valentin Silvestrov, and G. I. Gurdjieff. It is to the latter we might draw the darkest thread of kinship, wherein breathes a notecraft as vivid as his painted photographs.

I asked Oglesby how he came to the staves:
“Writing music does not come easily or naturally to me. I have made sound recording since being at art school and continue to do so. My hand was forced as a composer, as I found the process of working with other composers extremely difficult and unproductive. A film project I was working on about the sinking of the ship Mefkure required a score to be written and produced. Unfortunately the composer for the project had very different ideas regarding the score and we constantly banged heads. At the time the production team dared me to write the score, so I did. It took 18 months locked in my studio. I approached the task as a novice and initially began learning to use a keyboard as an immediate point of entry into writing and composition. Quickly apparent was a disconnect between my practice as a visual artist and a composer, and the only way for me to reconcile this dislocation was to embrace music solely as a visual language. At this revelatory point my approach to music composition changed, as I no longer looked to the traditional structures of score writing and began to create a visual code to which I could assign sound, expression, pitch, and percussion. Since my early experiments with the Mefkure score, I have established a working method that involves extensive research centered around each project. This research includes making sound recordings, collecting stories, making short films, taking photographs, then using this material and mute boards to map out the form and context of each composition.”

Mefkure (2012) was actually the second in a trilogy built around the words of Ovidiu Nimigean (b. 1962), to whose poetry Oglesby was introduced while making a short film about Romanian immigrants digging for scrap metal just to get by: “Principally, it is his ability to invest descriptive fact with an deep emotional content about the strain of death and dislocation,” says Oglesby of the Romanian writer. The minimal nature of the music is like the pitch to every gaseous ball of sentiment and finds its genesis in the forested pathos of Departe (2012).

Side projects such as Torah (2013), a collection of solo piano works paralleling Erik Satie’s The Gymnopédies, and Jannah (2013), a suite for string quartet and keyboard written around the concept of original sin, followed, each appearing like an inexplicable line in a fingernail and representing a major leap inward toward the realization of compositional identity. On the progress of that identity, Oglesby is still unresolved: “What I am clear about, however, is that those early unconscious moments, as a child, were seminal in priming me for my current creative output.” To be sure, the formative albums feel like a hermit’s sketches, their primary audience a congregation of shadows along cave walls. But with his 2015 release, Roumania, he has yielded a finished painting. For the composer, it “represents a moment of pure clarity, when all the elements of gestation, encompassing 15 years, come together and speak with elegance, economy, and stillness about slow time and its moral implication. The earlier, fledgling works had more of a narrative structure and graphic framework as I began to explore and test my theories about the relationship between image and sound.” The present recording furthermore completes the Nimigean trilogy.

Roumania is as much a musical construction as conversation, in this instance of and with the beloved “Ballad” for violin and piano by Romanian composer Ciprian Porumbescu (1853-1883). The original work engages the doina, a traditional improvisational form with Arabic roots. The mood of the doina is contextually dependent, and takes on devotional textures in Oglesby’s reimagining. The album’s heart pumps in a fair share of its nourishment from pieces for solo piano and prepared twin pianos scattered throughout. The musicians in question, Anton Heart and Marracha Ward, approach the playing with as much solemnity as went into the writing. At once long-tailed and close enough to hear it breathe, the music drags chains of heavy memory as it washes its own skin and hangs it to dry in a wind of reflection. There is a mental substance to its labor, which finds grayest acumen in “The 4th Way,” the title of which makes reference to Gurdjieff’s anti-institutional path to spiritual awakening. Its pigments are notes incarnate, as are those of “In Deep Silence,” which like Arvo Pärt’s Spiegel im Spiegel speaks to the untethered mind.

Roumania also makes use of field recordings. Originally taken as research for the aforementioned Mefkure but shelved for a film that never materialized, they were gathered by the composer and Janez Hovec in the lower Carpathians and Black Sea. Their addition triangulates the axes of sound and image with that of space. Lapping waves (“Night Roumania”) disguise the piano as rocky shoreline, while cries of birds (“The Black Gulls”) dislocate us from the light of dawn. Like a Theo Angelopoulos film or Eleni Karaindrou soundtrack thereof, these environments sing for time, out of time, and with a strength that cares little for numbers. In “He who loves and leaves,” vocalist Mija Aleksiss and cellist Ontak Ayer join Ward at the keyboard to mark the waters of trauma with multiple voices, each a buoy signal of vivid light.

Two pieces—“Laegan” abd “From Abroad”—feature the otherworld of spoken word. In the first, Romanian poet Ana Blandiana, who is responsible for introducing Oglesby to Nimigean, reads concavely, as if her language were a cinematic fade. The piano blends into view, while holding on to the rhythms and patterns of that speech. It strikes up a chord, a dance past midnight, a melancholy that lingers whenever one can’t sleep for the dead. The second is Nimigean himself, whose lo-fi aesthetics breed hi-fi effects. He steps through a door, taking the listener outside of all clothing and shelter, until the only language left is that of breath without song.

Drifthammer 2 (Film Stils)

Bernard Oglesby Drifthammer 2 early rushes


Drifthammer Part 2 (Poster Design)

Bernard Oglesby Drifthammer 2

Film production has just begun on the second of the quartet of Drifthammer films at the Mathers and Eyres Foundry. Fillming will be completed in the Spring of 2015

Bauer Editions press image for the forthcoming Roumania release i n 2015

Bernard Oglesby press

Initial design concept for the Scivias album cover

Poster Design for the forthcoming Scivias release

Bernard Oglesby Scivias poster

Scivias represents the 6th studio album to be released by the British artist Bernard Oglesby in 2015 on the Bauer Editions label. It is Perhaps Oglesby’s most challenging and ambitious work to date as it places Hildegard von Bingen’s illustrated works at it centre. These works contains the 26 visions of Hildegard of Bingen, who was the first of the great German mystics, as well as a poet, a prophet, a physician and a political moralist.

The Scivias score in 3 principal movements, which are each subdivided in to 3 further movements, explore the trinity and Oglesby’s obsession with the three fold circular symbol. This Triangulation of father, son and holy ghost are conceptualised as the sun, its rays and a cosmic space in which divine activity unfolds. From the beginning of the Scivias works to its final movement (The death of Hildegard) we are taken on a journey about light, love and the redemption of the self.

An extract of the final movement (The Death of Hildegard) can be heard here:

Ana Blandiana - Leagăn

Received news today that the poet Ana Blandiana has consented to me using her haunting and moving recording of Leagan to form part of the opening stanza for the Roumania piano scores.

Ana Blandiana is one of Romania’s foremost poets, a leading dissident before the fall of Communism, and now her country’s strongest candidate for the Nobel Prize. A prominent opponent of the Ceausescu regime, Blandiana became known for her daring, outspoken poems as well as for her courageous defence of ethical values. Over the years, her works have become the symbol of an ethical consciousness that refuses to be silenced by a totalitarian government.

The 3rd Prayer.

Bernard Oglesby The 3rd Prayer

The final recording in the Roumania series has just been mastered for the release in 2015.

"The Forth and final prayer in the opening stanza of the Roumania series places Oglesby’s devotional position squarely in the realm of Gurdjieff and the Forth Way, which questions people's place and role in the Universe." Catalina Cezar

An extract of the pre-release and short film can be seen here:


Inprov features a series of piano Improvisations to be released in 2015 on the Ontak Studio label.

An extract of the pre-release can be heard here


Drifthammer is to be released on a limited edition DVD with a new prepared score by the artist and composer Bernard Oglesby in 2015 by Ontak Studios, Germany.

Roumania Skylark

The Skylark recording has just been mastered for the forth-coming Roumania Release.
Romanians have always admired the skylark, a small bird often found nesting in cornfields and famous for singing while in flight.

Lark, oh, skylark,
what has come over you?
Singing on the plains,
alone in the cornfield,
without your companion?
It’s come over me
since last year,
when I made my nest
in a furrow made by the plough.
The plough didn’t know,
it tore up my nest,
my chicks were all dead.
So I set out
to fly in the wind,
so I can hit the ground
and die sooner myself.

Bernard Oglesby: Composer/Arranger
Cello: Ontak Ayer
Oboe: Marracha Ward
Vocals: Mija Aleksiss
Sound recordings: Janez Hovec, The Black Sea

Recorded in Germany & Romania in 2013/14

An extract of the pre-release can be heard here:

Roumania is to be released in 2015 on the Bauer Editions label.

Roumania marks the 6th studio album to be released by the British artist Bernard Oglesby in 2015 on the Bauer label. The work, 5 years in the making, explores the haunting Ballad for violin and piano by Ciprian Porumbescu and features a series of short works that deconstruct the Romania ballad while remaining true to the Doina folk tradition of melancholy, longing (dor), erotic feelings and love.

An extract of the pre-release can be heard here:

The Scivias Orchestral works is to be released in 2015 on the Bauer Editions label.

The work was originally scored in 2010 and recorded in 2011 in Germany. The work in 3 parts reflects the trinity and places Hildegard of Bingen illustrated works at its centre.

An extract of the pre-release can be heard here:

The Jannah Project 2013 - Jannah Press Release

Jannah marks the 4th studio album composed by the British artist Bernard Oglesby to be released on the Ontak Label. The work in 6 movements explores the concept of original sin and the concupiscence orientation of humankind to desire human physical intimacy. The works represents a profound sea change in Oglesby's production methods as the piece was composed entirely using an iPhone and recorded using a bank of iPads on location in Germany and Romania. The album features the Ontak String Quartet: Mihai Neculai, Ayar Ontak, Adriana Abel, Catalina Cezar, Piano: Anton Heart and Organ: Marracha Ward.

Recorded at the Ayer Ontak Studios. Available :

Torah 2013

Torah marks the debut solo piano works composed by the British artist Bernard Oglesby. The works pay direct homage to Erik Satie's The Gymnopédies which he states remains one of the most haunting and compellingly beautiful works of art he has ever experienced. Like Satie he placed great emphasis on Contamine de Latourr's poem Les Antiques ("The Ancients").

Recorded at the Ayer Ontak Studios. Available :

Mefkure 2012

The Mefkure orchestral work is the second classical release composed by the British Artist Bernard Oglesby. The Mefkure Orchestral work explores the "The Night Sea Journey" as a parallel to a kind of "descensus ad inferos" (Harrowing of Hell). It features Ayer Ontak and Mihai Neculai on violin and cello and Bernard Oglesby on piano and percussion. The work comprises of 5 movements that chart the embarkation on August 5, 1944 of the Turkish motor-schooner Mefkure as it set sail from the Romanian port of Constanta bound for Istanbul and Palestine. It carried over 300 passengers, mostly Jews looking to escape from Romania, Hungary and Poland. Twenty-five miles northeast of Igneada, Turkey, in the Bosporus, the schooner was attacked with gunfire and torpedoes. The survivors were machine-gunned whilst struggling in the water. Only 11 survived.

The work’s focused atmosphere, shape of sound and tactile structure eco the vast diaspora - movement, migration and scattering of people away from an ancestral homeland. Oglesby's preparatory research into Romanian folk songs and traditional instruments sets the tenor and undertone of the score, with some of the instrumentation being specially prepared and detuned to create particular pitch, voicing and register. The work is released on the Ontak Studio label and will be distributed by AWAL Digital Limited in November 2012.

Recorded in Germany. Available :

Departe 2012

Soon to be available as a download from digital Stores world wide, including Itunes. Hard copy Cds available from music stores worldwide and Departe forms part of an extensive body of orchestral and film works based in part on the extraordinary poems of O. Nimigean.

Recorded in Germany. Available :

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