Author Topic: Morton Feldman (1926-1987)  (Read 41170 times)

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Offline Brewski

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Morton Feldman (1926-1987)
« on: March 12, 2008, 10:57:40 AM »
Today on a blog called david's waste of bandwidth, there's a link to FeldmanSays, a widget for Mac dashboards that gives you a different Feldman saying every time you start your computer.

Seemed like an excellent reason to start a Morton Feldman thread.  (I can't believe we didn't have one!)

--Bruce
Tradition is not the worship of ashes, but the preservation of fire.
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Twitter: @BruceHodgesNY

karlhenning

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Feldman's Flapdoodle?
« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2008, 10:59:27 AM »
 ;D

High time there was a Feldman thread, Bruce.

And a Feldman widget?  Can it get any better than this?

Offline Brewski

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Re: Feldman's Flapdoodle?
« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2008, 11:03:05 AM »
;D

High time there was a Feldman thread, Bruce.

And a Feldman widget?  Can it get any better than this?

Clever, isn't it!  (Of course, little good it does me, being Mac-less.)

--Bruce
Tradition is not the worship of ashes, but the preservation of fire.
     ~ Gustav Mahler

Twitter: @BruceHodgesNY

Ephemerid

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Re: Morton Feldman (1926-1987)
« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2008, 11:05:28 AM »
I love uncle Morty!  8)

Palais di Mari and his Piano & String Quartet are my personal favourites-- sort of like slow motion minimalism (it used to creep out my ex-wife LOL).

Rothko Chapel, For Bunita Marcus, Violin & String Quartet and his second (six hour long!!!  :o ) string quartet are wonderful pieces too-- sort of like acoustic ambient music...  

I love how he is able to make the weirdest dissonances sound so delicate & beautiful...


Offline Brewski

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Re: Morton Feldman (1926-1987)
« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2008, 11:20:33 AM »
Hard to think of favorites, but the two pieces I've heard most often in the last few years are Why Patterns? and Triadic Memories.  One I'd like to hear again is Coptic Light.  I was at the world premiere when the NY Phil did it in the mid-1980s, long before I became a Feldman fan.

--Bruce
Tradition is not the worship of ashes, but the preservation of fire.
     ~ Gustav Mahler

Twitter: @BruceHodgesNY

gomro

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Re: Morton Feldman (1926-1987)
« Reply #5 on: April 01, 2008, 04:15:56 PM »
Today on a blog called david's waste of bandwidth, there's a link to FeldmanSays, a widget for Mac dashboards that gives you a different Feldman saying every time you start your computer.

Seemed like an excellent reason to start a Morton Feldman thread.  (I can't believe we didn't have one!)

--Bruce

Feldman wrote some amazing music. When I first heard Piano and String Quartet, I got up at 5 am every day for about a week and a half to be able to play it and enjoy it at the right volume before external noises or the duties of the day could take their toll on that beautiful stretch of sound.  Not many pieces have affected me to that degree.

The Emperor

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Re: Morton Feldman (1926-1987)
« Reply #6 on: April 05, 2008, 01:59:13 AM »
I have to get more stuff from him for sure, i only have triadic memories and i love the mood of it, not something i listen to everyday but way too cool to ignore.

Symphonien

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Re: Morton Feldman (1926-1987)
« Reply #7 on: April 05, 2008, 02:39:14 AM »
Taking notice of this Feldman thread, I had my first listening experience with Feldman last night through Coptic Light (Tilson Thomas).

Amazing orchestral colours and harmonies throughout, and I liked the overall rhythm (not really rhythm, kind of hard to explain really...) which reminded me of breathing in and out very slowly, or waves coming in and out of shore - more or less the same every time, with only subtle variations. It's really quite strange and certainly like nothing I have ever heard before... I would probably describe it as 'atonal minimalism'. One of the things I did while listening was try to guess what would happen next, although this proved surprisingly difficult! Everything happens so gradually, that it is very hard to pinpoint exactly where one instrument stops playing and another starts. You are aware of it, but it is as though the music draws you in some other way and forces you not to concentrate on this. It really does seem to exist outside of time, and indeed seems to have no beginning or end. I was hardly aware of time passing while listening, and when it was over I realised that I had stayed so still that one of my arms was asleep!

So I look forward to listening to more Feldman in the future, although you do have to be in a certain mood for it. Sort of like Takemitsu; but to the absolute extreme. The musical material is so thin, almost pure tone colour, that it requires a certain mindset to enjoy. Probably something that works best when listened to in moderation.

Offline Catison

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Re: Morton Feldman (1926-1987)
« Reply #8 on: April 05, 2008, 09:53:57 AM »
I cant stomach much of what I have heard, nothing is really happening in his music, it's rather boring, the aural equivalent of watching paint dry zzzzz...not much rhythmic momentum and too much repetition. Just nothing really that I find moving or compelling whatsoever. Rothko Chapel is only thing of his that I can take & would suggest if someone asked, but myself could easily live without.

Who would have known, Mr. James doesn't like Feldman.  I hesitate to say this very often, but in this case, you simply don't get it.  His music isn't for you, but that is OK.  You don't have to like it.  Feldman was still a genius.
-Brett

lukeottevanger

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Re: Morton Feldman (1926-1987)
« Reply #9 on: April 05, 2008, 10:12:34 AM »
Oh, I don't know, James seems to have observed that a fundamental principle of Feldman's music is repetition. He's got that far - and well done to him for noticing  ::) ::) Repetition isn't to James's tastes, it seems (though this is strange, as it is very much a stylistic principle of his own posts).

Just for James's sake - everything is happening in this music. Nothing ever repeats exactly. But the changes happen in tiny increments, slowly sifting and settling. As has been observed already, the music pulses slowly in and out, like breathing or like the movement of waves, each pulse different form the last. It takes a different kind of listening to appreciate it to the kind of listening one applies to Bach, and it's a kind of listening you obviously struggle with. That's fine, of course, but as a principle I always find it best not to blame the music for my own struggles with it.

lukeottevanger

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Re: Morton Feldman (1926-1987)
« Reply #10 on: April 05, 2008, 12:42:08 PM »
but never pays off (in my experience)

That says it all really - the final, universal, italicised Truth-According-To-James...and then, demurely parenthesised, the I-suppose-I-have-to 'IMO' qualification. It always looks a little ludicrous, this stance. You know full well that this music has the power to 'pay off', James, because you are talking to people for whom it has paid off and continues to do so. Perhaps the opinions and reactions of others figure very small in your assessment of composers, and of course, our own tastes are naturally the most important to us, but your repeated exalting of your own opinions as being implicitly more valuable, conclusive and 'accurate' than anyone else's just conspires to make you look severely self-centred. Not just on this thread, of course...

Kullervo

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Re: Morton Feldman (1926-1987)
« Reply #11 on: April 06, 2008, 08:25:19 AM »
That says it all really - the final, universal, italicised Truth-According-To-James...and then, demurely parenthesised, the I-suppose-I-have-to 'IMO' qualification. It always looks a little ludicrous, this stance. You know full well that this music has the power to 'pay off', James, because you are talking to people for whom it has paid off and continues to do so. Perhaps the opinions and reactions of others figure very small in your assessment of composers, and of course, our own tastes are naturally the most important to us, but your repeated exalting of your own opinions as being implicitly more valuable, conclusive and 'accurate' than anyone else's just conspires to make you look severely self-centred. Not just on this thread, of course...

A hit, a very palpable hit. :D

Offline UB

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Re: Morton Feldman (1926-1987)
« Reply #12 on: April 11, 2008, 04:59:17 AM »
Feldman, as most composers, wrote in a number of styles if you explore his music you should find something that you enjoy.

My favorites include Coptic Light, Out of Last Pieces, all of the Durations, Why Patterns, Palais di Mari, etc. I must confess that I have never come to enjoy Neither or The Turfan Fragments but I have friends that love them. I also find that anything much over 90 minutes has become less interesting to me as I grow older - but again that is about me and not the music. 

The best Feldman site I have found is www.cnvill.net/mfhome.htm I suggest you read some of the articles and then try some of the works that are available on demand. While you are at the 'Art of the States' site, you might try some of the other composers works.

I am not in the entertainment business. Harrison Birtwistle 2010

karlhenning

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Re: Morton Feldman (1926-1987)
« Reply #13 on: April 11, 2008, 05:13:46 AM »
Bill! Izzat you?

Offline vanessa_zang

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Re: Morton Feldman (1926-1987)
« Reply #14 on: April 11, 2008, 05:26:22 AM »
Feldman's music can feel so different under different situations. I remember Paul playing Rothko Chapel and For Piano and String Quartet for me and loved it. I thought the music is so beautifully peaceful. But a month ago, when Paul was out of town, I wanted some peaceful music, so i put on some Feldman. When it is dark and quiet and you are alone, the music sounded so scary (haunting?)! I was almost sweating! I took the CD out immediately and put on some Faure.

karlhenning

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Re: Morton Feldman (1926-1987)
« Reply #15 on: April 11, 2008, 05:33:05 AM »
My personal irony viz. Feldman is that I went to Buffalo, as it turned out not long after his demise, and I knew nothing of him.  Many of the people I met while I was at Buffalo, quite understandably especially for that time, spoke very highly and appreciatively of Feldman.  But (to mention but two aspects of the matter) it was a time when my ears were better attuned to other Muses, and when we played a Feldman piece in a chamber ensemble, the experience bored me out of my mind.  No doubt, if I had written anything then of my impressions/evaluation of Feldman, it would make James's post seem like chaste understatement in comparison.

More than a decade later, and intrigued by the calm earnest of a number of people whose musical opinions I respect well, I gave Feldman a fresh try.  And while I must say that I listen to his work in some way other than that in which I listen to most music, probably . . . I now enjoy it a great deal, and I am grateful for the ways in which it has encouraged me to think about time in different ways, on a broader scale.

Offline UB

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Re: Morton Feldman (1926-1987)
« Reply #16 on: April 14, 2008, 05:40:45 AM »
Hi Karl -

Who else would post as UB?  I figure I have been using it on music boards for 9 years now.

What pieces of Feldman have you heard recently? Do you know the solo piano piece Palais de Mari?

Is the NYT folks still posting? I can not seem to find their forums - they seem to be hiding them.
I am not in the entertainment business. Harrison Birtwistle 2010

karlhenning

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Re: Morton Feldman (1926-1987)
« Reply #17 on: April 14, 2008, 05:52:03 AM »
What pieces of Feldman have you heard recently?

For Stefan Wolpe, exquisite!

Quote
Do you know the solo piano piece Palais de Mari?

I don't . . . .

uffeviking

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Re: Morton Feldman (1926-1987)
« Reply #18 on: April 15, 2008, 10:23:45 AM »
I have the Palais de Marie played by Aki Takahashi on a disc with six more solo piano pieces, but must admit it's been some time since I listened to it. Whenever I feel like Feldman, I end up listening to my favourite: Rothko Chapel!  ::)

Offline Catison

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Re: Morton Feldman (1926-1987)
« Reply #19 on: April 15, 2008, 06:00:30 PM »
Whenever I feel like Feldman, I end up listening to my favourite: Rothko Chapel!  ::)

No doubt this is Feldman's most accessible piece.  Other accessible pieces are Coptic Light and For Samuel Beckett.  It might help if you skip to Why Patterns? every so often if you want to branch out a little bit.
-Brett

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