Author Topic: Morton Feldman (1926-1987)  (Read 39623 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline snyprrr

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 10699
  • SQs, PQs, PQTs, PTs, VSs, Berlioz-Xenakis/Aperghis
  • Currently Listening to:
    Things that are crisp and spritely vs. things that are thick and creamy
Re: Morton Feldman (1926-1987)
« Reply #480 on: October 08, 2017, 08:50:17 AM »


great Feldman recording and also a good intro to the music of Christopher Fox

I personally think that is the best version of the CQ,... here, one can hear the violin(?) play along with the clarinet; in others, I only hear the clarinet... I think the sound here is scintillating, also a difference with comparisons...

Couldn't staaand the Christopher Fox piece...


And I do like the KLIMPT on Stradivarius...




...also thinking about fellow NY chutzpuhnik Weinstein this morning... is there a pattern here??...
Rat Poison is 99% Good Food, so Follow the Money

Haydn-Sikh

Offline Mandryka

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 8277
Re: Morton Feldman (1926-1987)
« Reply #481 on: October 08, 2017, 10:14:40 AM »
I've been listening to Why Patters from this today:

as opposed to this:

 Is this the beginning of his late period?

Not, IMO, the beginning of his last period. I'm not keen on that sort of music, too much like holy minimalism, Part.
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

Offline milk

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1656
  • Location: usa
Re: Morton Feldman (1926-1987)
« Reply #482 on: October 08, 2017, 11:30:13 PM »
Not, IMO, the beginning of his last period. I'm not keen on that sort of music, too much like holy minimalism, Part.
How do you feel about the trio? It's a bit more fraught.

Offline Mandryka

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 8277
Re: Morton Feldman (1926-1987)
« Reply #483 on: October 09, 2017, 09:03:02 PM »
How do you feel about the trio? It's a bit more fraught.

Yes it seems to have lots of interesting harmonies. I like the trio.
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

Offline milk

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1656
  • Location: usa
Re: Morton Feldman (1926-1987)
« Reply #484 on: October 13, 2017, 03:42:12 AM »
I think I like Coptic Light more than the other Orchestral works. I have "The New World Symphony." Is there another good one? Coptic light sounds like clouds and water.

Offline millionrainbows

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 229
  • Location: USA
Re: Morton Feldman (1926-1987)
« Reply #485 on: October 18, 2017, 10:52:45 AM »
See if you can follow me on this, but artistic expression, and Feldman's music, has to do with the expression of one's being. That's the difference between the Earle Brown "Four Systems" and Feldman. He said he didn't need a system, because he had already found his muse, in the expression of his being. It may appear to be "just isolated notes" at first, but as you explore his music you begin to see this evidence of his 'being.' I think this is the key to all great art.


Offline Mandryka

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 8277
Re: Morton Feldman (1926-1987)
« Reply #486 on: October 19, 2017, 01:52:14 AM »


This is an enjoyable performance of Untitled Composition for Cello and Piano (1981), the pianist Kees Wieringa is pretty good (check his op 111) - and the cellist René Berman seems fine too. Listening to it I was impressed by how coherent the music is, the sections flow into each other in a way that sounds right and I wouldn't like to just listen to a part of it, to start in the middle or anything like that. What I mean is  that I think there's a plan, a structure. A system even.  There are also times when the music brings back ideas previously heard, and the pleasure is in the memory, remembering a sound or a rhythm that you've heard before. It's not so long as to hinder memory.

The third thing I thought, but we all already know this, is that it's really misleading to say that Feldman's music is static or peaceful. I think there are many turbulent moments in this piece, rhythmically vibrant and harmonically surprising.

The music was published posthumously as Patterns in a Chromatic Field, presumably they thought the fancy title would sell better. This recording is less agressive and in your face as others I've heard, and I think more interesting for that reason.
« Last Edit: October 19, 2017, 02:04:22 AM by Mandryka »
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

Offline Richard Pinnell

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 34
  • Location: Oxford
Re: Morton Feldman (1926-1987)
« Reply #487 on: October 19, 2017, 04:09:06 AM »
For me, Feldman's greatest works are the late piano pieces, For Bunita Marcus and Triadic Memories in particular. Feldman uses time and space in these works like nobody else. The greatest recordings I ever found, by some distance, are those by John Tilbury. If you can track down his London Hall set from the late nineties of the complete piano works I'd recommend it,  but his more recent recordings on the Italian Atopos label are truly wonderful.
Every word is like an unnecessary stain on silence and nothingness

Offline amw

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 2887
Re: Morton Feldman (1926-1987)
« Reply #488 on: October 19, 2017, 04:16:32 AM »
The music was published posthumously as Patterns in a Chromatic Field, presumably they thought the fancy title would sell better. This recording is less agressive and in your face as others I've heard, and I think more interesting for that reason.
Hmm. I'd always heard of that piece and never listened to it because it sounded meh, but in its sole recording without a title I've owned and loved it for a while. (Though not easy listening lol.) I guess a) maybe titles don't actually sell that well with Feldman and b) maybe I should check out that recording by Deirdre Cooper and John Tilbury.... or that other one by Arne Deforce and Yutaka Oya.

Offline Richard Pinnell

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 34
  • Location: Oxford
Re: Morton Feldman (1926-1987)
« Reply #489 on: October 19, 2017, 04:28:16 AM »
maybe I should check out that recording by Deirdre Cooper and John Tilbury.... or that other one by Arne Deforce and Yutaka Oya.

Yes on the Tilbury/Cooper. My favourite recording though is the one on Hat by Rohan DeSaram and Marianne Schroeder. Wonderful piece.
Every word is like an unnecessary stain on silence and nothingness

Offline sanantonio

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 4896
  • Highway 80 Stories
    • Highway 80 Stories
  • Location: Nashville
Re: Morton Feldman (1926-1987)
« Reply #490 on: October 19, 2017, 05:05:50 AM »


This is an enjoyable performance of Untitled Composition for Cello and Piano (1981), the pianist Kees Wieringa is pretty good (check his op 111) - and the cellist René Berman seems fine too. Listening to it I was impressed by how coherent the music is, the sections flow into each other in a way that sounds right and I wouldn't like to just listen to a part of it, to start in the middle or anything like that. What I mean is  that I think there's a plan, a structure. A system even.  There are also times when the music brings back ideas previously heard, and the pleasure is in the memory, remembering a sound or a rhythm that you've heard before. It's not so long as to hinder memory.

The third thing I thought, but we all already know this, is that it's really misleading to say that Feldman's music is static or peaceful. I think there are many turbulent moments in this piece, rhythmically vibrant and harmonically surprising.

The music was published posthumously as Patterns in a Chromatic Field, presumably they thought the fancy title would sell better. This recording is less agressive and in your face as others I've heard, and I think more interesting for that reason.

I would like to hear this work, which is a new one for me.  But the CD on Amazon is nearly $90.00. 

I think I found it on YouTube.  Is this the same work:

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/-im03eVGWQ8" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/-im03eVGWQ8</a>

Aleck Karis, piano
Charles Curtis, cello
« Last Edit: October 19, 2017, 05:11:05 AM by sanantonio »

Offline Mandryka

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 8277
Re: Morton Feldman (1926-1987)
« Reply #491 on: October 19, 2017, 05:35:30 AM »
For me, Feldman's greatest works are the late piano pieces, For Bunita Marcus and Triadic Memories in particular. Feldman uses time and space in these works like nobody else. The greatest recordings I ever found, by some distance, are those by John Tilbury. If you can track down his London Hall set from the late nineties of the complete piano works I'd recommend it,  but his more recent recordings on the Italian Atopos label are truly wonderful.

I have the London Hall recordings.  I'd say Tilbury's Feldman is harder, tougher, maybe darker emotionally, than the rest. I'm not sure how I feel about it to be honest.

 I didn't know he'd recorded Feldman more recently.
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

Offline Mandryka

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 8277
Re: Morton Feldman (1926-1987)
« Reply #492 on: October 19, 2017, 05:47:09 AM »
My latest Feldman acquisition was this CD by Ronnie Lynn Patterson, a jazz pianist, I love the Palais de Mari there, it's quite different from Tilbury's performance!



The booklet has an essay by Christian Tarting which I thought was interesting to read, he's an academic who has specialised in improvisation, I may try to read his work,

Quote


Why is Morton Feldman's music so difficult to listen to? One is tempted to paraphrase here the title of Berg's famous article from 1924 on Schönberg1 so as to explain how the reproaches usually levelled against the New York composer by those who oppose his very clearly defined aesthetics, miss the point. Such reproaches - that his compositions are boring, far too long, created according to simplistic compositional procedures, always pitched at the lowest possible sound level to the point of obession, so as to be almost inaudible, as though fascinated by the very poverty of the melodic formulae governing their inner logic etc. etc. - only show a lack of real observation of the universe and guiding principles of this composer and what he has to say. For out of those musicians still linked to Western tradition in spite of everything and to the symbolic weight it implies in matters of composition, here is one who has shown the most intimate understanding of the positions taken up by his close friend and mentor, John Cage. It is precisely Morton Feldman who in the quietly unshakeable inevitability of his own position, has pushed some of the deviations from classical writing inherent in John Cage's work to their limit.
He has echoed the silence defined by Cage in the manner of Wittgenstein as “all the sounds co- ming in”, notably with his predilection for tenuity, his use of extremely compact, unassuming dynamics (this is in fact merely a side issue, almost a facile way of covering Cagism), as well as his basic principle denying all self-interest, his refusal to indulge in demonstrative aesthe- tics, or give voice to originality in complex settings all too close, in his opinion, to the desire for individuality, the wish to leave one's mark on the work - old established rules of the Old World.
To Cage's “resulting” silence, an area of noises, parasitic and otherwise, belonging to the realm of sensitivity where pure accident is the vital ingredient, or to silence as a defined area of re- ceptivity, the unresolved, not subject to any aesthetic, Feldman's reply is that of a logic that encompasses the silence by the absence of all effects, the repetition of the generating cells in a scarcely modulated regular pattern. It amounts to almost nothing, a pianissimo (“My music is inside silence”, he used to say) that prompted the following remark in parallel: “I differ from my European colleagues in that I don't require a work of art to be interesting”. So we find him thrusting aside even more decisively our well-established categories and patterns as users of the musical element. More than anything else, his approach is closer in feeling to the Chinese notion of insipidness and palour, that places more importance on transparence and duplication than action or the production of something “new”, or self-assertion2.
In reality Feldman suggested somewhat maliciously that his music belonged to the realm of the parable; Cage highlighted the significance of this statement by proposing to call him a hero if he was not given the title of composer. Feldman the Irenist deliberately provokes boredom, which for him constitutes an opening towards consciousness, or to put it more aptly, it is the symptom of consciousness. Giving rise to it could be his most important decisive act - almost the only one, as he himself might have claimed. By jamming irremediably the tape of eve- rything artificial, the loop of little tricks that go to make up what claims to be listening ma- terial, but which, as far as music is concerned, only implies a sort of social, superficial acquaintanceship, a backdrop in fact, boredom functions like the blow of the Zen monk's stick, requiring the body to react and enter into a state of concentration. It's what trips up all those who want to advance quickly, be seduced and flattered by diversity, consume diffe- rence as a value, a token of culture. If one stumbles and revolts in the presence of boredom, what is potentially a gateway to understanding will shut forever. But if boredom is reco- gnised and ac-knowledged, experienced and finally accepted, it becomes dynamic, a sure catalyst for meditation, revealing its most fertile ground, that of inner detachment - the opportunity is revealed, slowly unfolded in every detail, illuminated, for a sort of imploded ecstasy, brought about by the gradual dissolution of one's personal agitations, the thrus- ting aside of all background noise so as to escape all that might weigh one down, starting with the lengthy story of the tensions of the “I”.
For anyone willing to immerse himself long enough in transparency, the “unspectacular”, the poverty attributed to Morton Feldman's music, a new kind of perception emerges, reveals itself to the intelligence, shines forth with real radiance - a serenity experienced in the inner being rather than via external charm, a place for the inner breath, the inner rhythm - found once again in its original, primeval state - not ruled by hypnosis or any kind of order, message or code imposed from outside.
The art of little proper to Feldman, the special emotional charge of his nearly monochromatic state, make particular demands on the performer - an unusual attentiveness is required, situated so- mewhere between humility and watchfulness. A state of being, where being wholly and utterly open is more important than virtuosic talent, though this is indispensable in music where the expected and the unexpected figure to such a degree3. Performers of Feldman's music, who for these very reasons remain few and far between, interpret his music in the most noble and mystical sense of the term. They are readers: friends, heralds of a world they have made their own, giving us the tension of coalescence, the intensity of a spiritual exercise, in the confi- dence of their interpretation. Ronnie Lynn Patterson belongs to that small group of pianists, Like Roger Woodward, Gérard Frémy and Marianne Schroeder, Ronnie Lynn Patterson belongs to that small group of pianists who "with no dependence, no nonsense" live their relationship to the full - a relationship with the man who believed that in the act of composing, concentration is much more important than the organization of the high points or any other conceptual approach. In order to measure the actual degree of his own concentration, he chose to write his scores di- rectly in ink, and would break off his work at the very first deletion.
« Last Edit: October 19, 2017, 05:49:21 AM by Mandryka »
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

Offline Richard Pinnell

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 34
  • Location: Oxford
Re: Morton Feldman (1926-1987)
« Reply #493 on: October 19, 2017, 05:57:44 AM »
I have the London Hall recordings.  I'd say Tilbury's Feldman is harder, tougher, maybe darker emotionally, than the rest. I'm not sure how I feel about it to be honest.

I'd disagree on harder and tougher, not sure what you mean by darker emotionally... Certainly John instills a great deal of sensuality into his reading of Feldman, and this has increased over recent years as the later recordings generally are slower, more spacious, and watching him play is an emotionally arduous challenge. He mentally throws everything at it.

I didn't know he'd recorded Feldman more recently.

He had a stroke about a decade ago that for a while stopped him playing but he came back from it with a renewed intensity. The Atopos releases are fine productions, but his Feldman disc on Another Timbre is also very good.
Every word is like an unnecessary stain on silence and nothingness

Offline Richard Pinnell

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 34
  • Location: Oxford
Re: Morton Feldman (1926-1987)
« Reply #494 on: October 19, 2017, 06:03:46 AM »
The great Cornelius Cardew on Feldman's music:

Quote
Almost all Feldman's music is slow and soft. Only at first sight is this a limitation. I see it rather as a narrow door, to whose dimensions one has to adapt oneself (as in Alice in Wonderland) before one can pass through it into the state of being that is expressed in Feldman's music. Only when one has become accustomed to the dimness of light can one begin to perceive the richness and variety of colour which is the material of the music. When one has passed through the narrow door and got accustomed to the dim light, one realises the range of his imagination and the significant differences that distinguish one piece from another ...

Feldman sees the sounds as reverberating endlessly, never getting lost, changing their resonances as they die away, or rather do not die away, but recede from our ears, and soft because softness is compelling, because an insidious invasion of our senses is more effective than a frontal attack. Because our ears must strain to catch the music, they must become more sensitive before they perceive the world of sound in which Feldman's music takes place.
Every word is like an unnecessary stain on silence and nothingness

Offline Mandryka

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 8277
Re: Morton Feldman (1926-1987)
« Reply #495 on: October 19, 2017, 06:18:22 AM »
I'd disagree on harder and tougher, not sure what you mean by darker emotionally... Certainly John instills a great deal of sensuality into his reading of Feldman, and this has increased over recent years as the later recordings generally are slower, more spacious, and watching him play is an emotionally arduous challenge. He mentally throws everything at it.

He had a stroke about a decade ago that for a while stopped him playing but he came back from it with a renewed intensity. The Atopos releases are fine productions, but his Feldman disc on Another Timbre is also very good.

Thanks, I'm very tempted to get the Triadic Memories. I just saw that he played it in London last year, I'm kind of annoyed with myself that I missed it.
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

Offline Monsieur Croche

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1347
Re: Morton Feldman (1926-1987)
« Reply #496 on: October 19, 2017, 01:38:18 PM »
See if you can follow me on this, but artistic expression, and Feldman's music, has to do with the expression of one's being. That's the difference between the Earle Brown "Four Systems" and Feldman. He said he didn't need a system, because he had already found his muse, in the expression of his being. It may appear to be "just isolated notes" at first, but as you explore his music you begin to see this evidence of his 'being.' I think this is the key to all great art.

This is so well-put that I can hardly stand it (or at the least, it got me envious as to 'OMG, he said that well,' lol.)

Lovely, and thank you.


Best regards.
~ I'm all for personal expression; it just has to express something to me. ~

Offline Mandryka

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 8277
Re: Morton Feldman (1926-1987)
« Reply #497 on: October 20, 2017, 02:43:01 AM »


One Triadic Memories recording I like is Sabine Liebner's. This is for three reasons:

It's like a duet for two hands. The voices are given equal importance and she makes them seem to interact and respond to each other. I'm beginning to see that for me, how the pianist voices this music really matters.

It's peaceful, quiet and she takes her time, so as a listener I can savour the gestures. I like the fraught way with Triadic Memories too, but I think Liebner brings off the peaceful way very well.

It's got soul, she's communicative. I'm sure you know what I mean when I say that some performances are all chops and no soul - well Liebner's not that.

The recorded sound. I wonder what others think. I could be just feeling a bit grumpy today but IMO it's too close, not very natural, I'm not sure it's really capturing all the overtones and colours. But it's certainly listenable.

« Last Edit: October 20, 2017, 03:43:54 AM by Mandryka »
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

Offline milk

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1656
  • Location: usa
Re: Morton Feldman (1926-1987)
« Reply #498 on: October 20, 2017, 04:20:48 AM »


One Triadic Memories recording I like is Sabine Liebner's. This is for four reasons:

It's like a duet for two hands. The voices are given equal importance and she makes them seem to interact and respond to each other. I'm beginning to see that for me, how the pianist voices this music really matters.

It's peaceful, quiet and she takes her time, so as a listener I can savour the gestures. I like the fraught way with Triadic Memories too, but I think Liebner brings off the peaceful way very well.

It's full of drama, emotional variety. She makes parts of the music sound as "spiritual" and "transcendent" or whatever the word is as any trill in late Beethoven.

It's got soul, she's communicative. I'm sure you know what I mean when I say that some performances are all chops and no soul - well Liebner's not that.

The recorded sound. I wonder what others think. I could be just feeling a bit grumpy today but IMO it's too close, not very natural, I'm not sure it's really capturing all the overtones and colours. But it's certainly listenable.
I have this one. And I’m following along with everyone’s comments in this thread. I love Feldman. I think he’s like magic. He takes something that might be confused for “simple” at first glance and makes it complex. Maybe it’s particularly with this late piano music. There’s always something happening yet it’s of course it’s all very slow and quiet. But the music is so vast I still cannot say I know it, I just experience it. I love experiencing it. There are a handful of composers who create their own inhabitable worlds. I feel differently about Feldman but I can’t explain why. It’s like he discovered something. Yet, he remains alone in a way with this discovery.

Offline Mandryka

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 8277
Re: Morton Feldman (1926-1987)
« Reply #499 on: October 20, 2017, 09:46:28 AM »
I have this one. And I’m following along with everyone’s comments in this thread. I love Feldman. I think he’s like magic. He takes something that might be confused for “simple” at first glance and makes it complex. Maybe it’s particularly with this late piano music. There’s always something happening yet it’s of course it’s all very slow and quiet. But the music is so vast I still cannot say I know it, I just experience it. I love experiencing it. There are a handful of composers who create their own inhabitable worlds. I feel differently about Feldman but I can’t explain why. It’s like he discovered something. Yet, he remains alone in a way with this discovery.

Does Liebner say anything about her tempo decisions in the booklet to the CD?
« Last Edit: October 20, 2017, 09:53:12 AM by Mandryka »
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

Buying Music From Amazon?
Please consider using these links. A small percentage of every sale using these links is passed on to GMG and helps keep this forum online.
Amazon US
Amazon Canada
Amazon UK