Author Topic: Morton Feldman (1926-1987)  (Read 107639 times)

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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Morton Feldman (1926-1987)
« Reply #820 on: November 25, 2021, 02:09:17 PM »


The Zukofsky/Schroeder I've had since the 90's so that is what is most familiar to me. There is a pervasive scraping sound in many sections which I was never sure was intentional or not until this past summer when I acquired some other versions and they don't have that.
Regardless, I would recommend and you can choose whatever quality download you like at whatever price you choose at Bandcamp, even $0.
Those extraneous sounds are on the download as well though.

Maybe I'm a bit in the shiny new toy syndrome as far as recent favorites.

I probably listen most now to the Orazbayeva/Knoop on All That Dust. Has the odd quality of wanting me to start up again as soon as it finishes which is rare for me given its length.

My other favorite at the moment is the recent Hat Hut by Wegmann/Kunz.
The sound is extremely loud and intense so probably not for you but is exquisite if you can capture the 'right' volume. The trails of vanishing notes doesn't come across listening at the Bandcamp site online. Though this is one of the longer versions(90 minutes) it doesn't feel so and pairs well with the Fong(66+ minutes) as a study in contrasts.

This is very much my experience with Wegmann/Kunz and with Orazbayeva/Knoop. In truth I think it probably is a major masterpiece so it’s a pleasure to have these different recordings. However where we part company is with Schroeder/Zukofsky because, on my transfer, the violin is so closely recorded, it makes the music sound less still and more colourful - that stillness is what I like so much in this.
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Offline vers la flamme

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Re: Morton Feldman (1926-1987)
« Reply #821 on: November 25, 2021, 02:22:17 PM »
Is For Philip Guston the Der Ring des Nibelungen of contemporary classical music?

Offline T. D.

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Re: Morton Feldman (1926-1987)
« Reply #822 on: November 25, 2021, 03:26:30 PM »
Is For Philip Guston the Der Ring des Nibelungen of contemporary classical music?

I can't say...and it'd be an imperfect analogy in any case.
Off the top of my head, Stockhausen's Licht and La Monte Young's The Well-Tuned Piano also come to mind.
For Philip Guston probably gets more ink than either of those...I don't know the performance history of Licht, and The Well-Tuned Piano could be classified as "the M(inimalist) word", which turns many off.
But Feldman's String Quartet #2 seems to get just as much publicity as FPG.
Having mentioned La Monte Young, Sorabji might be in the mix somewhere, depending on your definition of "contemporary".

Offline hvbias

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Re: Morton Feldman (1926-1987)
« Reply #823 on: November 30, 2021, 10:40:01 AM »
Through listening to For John Cage I’ve started to understand more how piano decay is important in Feldman’s music, and in that piece, Tilbury’s two recorded performances are particularly impressive. It may be interesting to hear what he does with For Bunita Marcus.

Tilbury, like Kleeb, and unlike Takahashi, comes to Feldman with a lot of experience in improvised music and graphic and text scores (which I see as quasi improvised music.)

OK, OK, you’re selling it to me. I thought I’d give the longest version on record a try, and yes, I am really enjoying it. Too late to get through more than 20 or 30 minutes though.

https://www.discogs.com/release/3287035-Morton-Feldman-Last-Composition-Piano-Violin-Viola-Cello-28-May-1987

Still think it’s depressing and eerie though - one of us must be weird, or maybe we both love depressing eerie things.

Received this version a couple of days ago and spent a little over an hour with it. It's an extremely fine performance, though I still feel like Apartment House's is a good recommendation.

Quoted your earlier part about piano decay being important in Feldman's music, apparently Feldman felt the same. Typing out one of the paragraphs that mentions this, from the liner notes of Piano, Violin, Viola and Cello set with Aki Takahashi:

The piano is played extremely softly with depressed right pedal. Feldman uses its resonance to enhance the continuity of the sound. Even written out rests can't inhibit the suggestion of an uninterrupted sound. "An optical illusion for what is in fact the acoustic background of the whole work, comparable to 'room noise'", according to the composer. Also noteworthy is Feldman's frequent placement of the three string instruments in the lower register. Because low strings take longer to produce such a thing as 'aftersound', his intention here is to influence the timing during ensemble playing.

I think this type of music is best served on highly transparent DSP speakers like D&D 8c or Kii Three, I would love to hear this on them. For now it sounds pretty god damn spooky real on the ESL57.
« Last Edit: November 30, 2021, 10:52:46 AM by hvbias »
"I feel very strongly about Chopin — I just love him" - Fou Ts'ong

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Morton Feldman (1926-1987)
« Reply #824 on: December 01, 2021, 02:16:29 AM »
Received this version a couple of days ago and spent a little over an hour with it. It's an extremely fine performance, though I still feel like Apartment House's is a good recommendation.

Quoted your earlier part about piano decay being important in Feldman's music, apparently Feldman felt the same. Typing out one of the paragraphs that mentions this, from the liner notes of Piano, Violin, Viola and Cello set with Aki Takahashi:

The piano is played extremely softly with depressed right pedal. Feldman uses its resonance to enhance the continuity of the sound. Even written out rests can't inhibit the suggestion of an uninterrupted sound. "An optical illusion for what is in fact the acoustic background of the whole work, comparable to 'room noise'", according to the composer. Also noteworthy is Feldman's frequent placement of the three string instruments in the lower register. Because low strings take longer to produce such a thing as 'aftersound', his intention here is to influence the timing during ensemble playing.

I think this type of music is best served on highly transparent DSP speakers like D&D 8c or Kii Three, I would love to hear this on them. For now it sounds pretty god damn spooky real on the ESL57.

The thing that I need in these small ensemble pieces is a sense of rapport between the players. Of course I don’t know if I’m fooling myself, but I hear it more in the live Takehashi PVVC than in the Appartement House.
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Offline hvbias

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Re: Morton Feldman (1926-1987)
« Reply #825 on: December 01, 2021, 09:04:06 AM »
The thing that I need in these small ensemble pieces is a sense of rapport between the players. Of course I don’t know if I’m fooling myself, but I hear it more in the live Takehashi PVVC than in the Appartement House.

There is a certain wabi sabi aesthetic to the Takahashi, Tsuji, Bunschoten, Tanaka (I will refer to as Takahashi for brevity) performance, and not just because you hear things like rustling sounds or people shifting their weight, beyond the extraneous noises there is a quality of spontaneity to it. The strings also come off as more dampened on the Apartment House performance, whereas they are playing slightly more lively with Takahashi. After a second play through I think the differences are quite a bit more significant, and I certainly prefer Takahashi. The resonance we were discussing is also captured incredibly well with Takahashi but it's subtle and not exaggerated like on her recording of For Bunita Marcus.

I gave this a try on headphones and I might have mentioned this earlier in the thread that I only started to appreciate Feldman after I left apartment living and was able to have speakers. Once again I find headphones are just not satisfying. Digesting the liner notes more I think this does require the music be projected into your space. Even with the false acoustic of our listening space and not what is heard live the things like "room noise" (presumably early and late reflections is what Feldman was referring to? Or was that just ambient noise of a live setting?) does add to the experience in a not insignificant way.

Edit: I find it quite interesting when composers consider the intended image of what they want the listener to experience. IIRC the earliest account of this I can recall is Wagner's obsession with Bayreuth Festival Hall.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2021, 09:17:57 AM by hvbias »
"I feel very strongly about Chopin — I just love him" - Fou Ts'ong

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Morton Feldman (1926-1987)
« Reply #826 on: December 01, 2021, 09:33:13 AM »


Edit: I find it quite interesting when composers consider the intended image of what they want the listener to experience. IIRC the earliest account of this I can recall is Wagner's obsession with Bayreuth Festival Hall.

Very big issue there, subject of a Ph.D for someone probably, because, of course, the score does not determine the sounds of a performance. So by writing music conventionally the composers really aren’t communicating a determinate “sound image.”
« Last Edit: December 01, 2021, 09:35:25 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline hvbias

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Re: Morton Feldman (1926-1987)
« Reply #827 on: December 02, 2021, 05:40:02 PM »
Very big issue there, subject of a Ph.D for someone probably, because, of course, the score does not determine the sounds of a performance.

Fully agree.

Quote
So by writing music conventionally the composers really aren’t communicating a determinate “sound image.”

I didn't mean communicating this but what they intended, ie what they picture the performance to sound like. For Wagner while he was alive that is one more thing he had control of. A thought experiment, if two identical performances were at two different concert halls the one that he was involved in designing would give him his desired sound.

I didn't mean the analogy to be quite that literal, mostly just something I was thinking about and tying into my dissatisfaction of hearing this music on headphones.
"I feel very strongly about Chopin — I just love him" - Fou Ts'ong

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Morton Feldman (1926-1987)
« Reply #828 on: December 14, 2021, 06:20:02 AM »


https://www.prestomusic.com/classical/products/9268532--feldman-piano-and-string-quartet

Although I’ve been a bit down about Apartment House recently, first impressions of this are that they’ve redeemed themselves. They are still British gentlemen at heart, but I sense that here at least, they are playing as a team. I think they probably have benefited from concert experience with the music.

So listening to this with more attention I’m slightly clearer what’s happening. They play it quite fast, at least compared with Tilbury and The Smiths. The result is, I suggest, this: There is an attenuated feeling of mystery in the Apartment house, and an augmented feeling of kitsch - more so than in the (fast) Ives Ensemble performance (which seems pretty good in fact.) I’m not sure why I feel this kitschiness about the Apartment House, it may be the intonation, the balance, the sound take, I don’t know. The reason for the extra mystery in The Smiths performance is clearer: management of the silences.


Anyway it confirms very much my own predisposition towards slow takes of these long form pieces, and has helped me to get a bit clearer about why.
« Last Edit: December 14, 2021, 06:29:08 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline hvbias

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Re: Morton Feldman (1926-1987)
« Reply #829 on: December 14, 2021, 05:23:45 PM »
So listening to this with more attention I’m slightly clearer what’s happening. They play it quite fast, at least compared with Tilbury and The Smiths. The result is, I suggest, this: There is an attenuated feeling of mystery in the Apartment house, and an augmented feeling of kitsch - more so than in the (fast) Ives Ensemble performance (which seems pretty good in fact.) I’m not sure why I feel this kitschiness about the Apartment House, it may be the intonation, the balance, the sound take, I don’t know. The reason for the extra mystery in The Smiths performance is clearer: management of the silences.


Anyway it confirms very much my own predisposition towards slow takes of these long form pieces, and has helped me to get a bit clearer about why.

I've listened to the longer 20 minute sample on Bandcamp, indeed it is very good. You're making me really want to hear Tilbury and The Smiths. And I didn't realize they also recorded Piano, Viola, Violin and Cello which I have to hear with it being my favorite work.

And I finally found a reasonably priced copy of Flux Quartet playing String Quartet 2. I ended up buying Ives' recording after hearing Flux on Youtube, but Ives didn't really hit the same highs for me, this could be all in my head. I can't wait to subtract another 5 hours of my life and hear this in better than Youtube quality when it comes in.
"I feel very strongly about Chopin — I just love him" - Fou Ts'ong

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Morton Feldman (1926-1987)
« Reply #830 on: December 15, 2021, 12:54:27 AM »
I've listened to the longer 20 minute sample on Bandcamp, indeed it is very good. You're making me really want to hear Tilbury and The Smiths. And I didn't realize they also recorded Piano, Viola, Violin and Cello which I have to hear with it being my favorite work.

And I finally found a reasonably priced copy of Flux Quartet playing String Quartet 2. I ended up buying Ives' recording after hearing Flux on Youtube, but Ives didn't really hit the same highs for me, this could be all in my head. I can't wait to subtract another 5 hours of my life and hear this in better than Youtube quality when it comes in.

The Smiths with Tilbury are downloadable from Tilbury’s website. I wonder what you’ll make of this

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zOk1xOm4Rq8
« Last Edit: December 15, 2021, 12:57:23 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline hvbias

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Re: Morton Feldman (1926-1987)
« Reply #831 on: December 15, 2021, 12:55:19 PM »
The Smiths with Tilbury are downloadable from Tilbury’s website. I wonder what you’ll make of this

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zOk1xOm4Rq8

It will probably be some time before I listen to the recording from Volger.

I started listening to the Mode recording of Flux Quartet and realized the performance is different from the one on Youtube! Sure enough reading the description on Youtube it says it's a recent live recording. I'll want to give this Mode recording of Flux from 2001 several spins before exploring others. Disc one was exceptional, has that certain quality that Ives never had. Maybe the very soft playing, more drawn out tempo and some flexibility in tempo in certain passages.
« Last Edit: December 15, 2021, 12:57:02 PM by hvbias »
"I feel very strongly about Chopin — I just love him" - Fou Ts'ong

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Morton Feldman (1926-1987)
« Reply #832 on: December 15, 2021, 01:11:02 PM »
It will probably be some time before I listen to the recording from Volger.

I started listening to the Mode recording of Flux Quartet and realized the performance is different from the one on Youtube! Sure enough reading the description on Youtube it says it's a recent live recording. I'll want to give this Mode recording of Flux from 2001 several spins before exploring others. Disc one was exceptional, has that certain quality that Ives never had. Maybe the very soft playing, more drawn out tempo and some flexibility in tempo in certain passages.

I think the second quartet is an example of a really problematic piece of music. Morally problematic. Because to play it the musicians have to put their health at risk. Feldman is making an unreasonable request - like sweat shop labour or slum landlords.
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Offline hvbias

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Re: Morton Feldman (1926-1987)
« Reply #833 on: December 15, 2021, 04:09:38 PM »
I think the second quartet is an example of a really problematic piece of music. Morally problematic. Because to play it the musicians have to put their health at risk. Feldman is making an unreasonable request - like sweat shop labour or slum landlords.

Anyone that composes something so long that you have to wait 4 or 5 hours before you can blow a fag must be a bit of a bastard :)
"I feel very strongly about Chopin — I just love him" - Fou Ts'ong

Offline milk

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Re: Morton Feldman (1926-1987)
« Reply #834 on: December 16, 2021, 05:03:01 AM »
I think the second quartet is an example of a really problematic piece of music. Morally problematic. Because to play it the musicians have to put their health at risk. Feldman is making an unreasonable request - like sweat shop labour or slum landlords.
Has anyone ever thought of tag-team performance? Like tag-team wrestling? Maybe that's one way to solve it. Or maybe they need bench players and a coach.

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Morton Feldman (1926-1987)
« Reply #835 on: December 16, 2021, 06:50:13 AM »
Has anyone ever thought of tag-team performance? Like tag-team wrestling? Maybe that's one way to solve it. Or maybe they need bench players and a coach.

I think that you’re missing the point, the audience’s pleasure comes from seeing the performers suffer - like the crowds who went to see heretics, regicides etc,  being tortured and burned alive in medieval times.
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Offline T. D.

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Re: Morton Feldman (1926-1987)
« Reply #836 on: December 16, 2021, 08:22:00 AM »
I think that you’re missing the point, the audience’s pleasure comes from seeing the performers suffer - like the crowds who went to see heretics, regicides etc,  being tortured and burned alive in medieval times.

IMO the audience themselves are suffering. I like Feldman's music, but sitting stationary for 4+ hours listening to fine gradations of "ppp" is too uncomfortable for me to contemplate.
I few years ago I unaccountably missed a local performance of For Philip Guston which took place at an art gallery, where the piece was played as background while patrons walked around the exhibit. That sort of thing for the mega-long pieces I could handle.

Offline Artem

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Re: Morton Feldman (1926-1987)
« Reply #837 on: December 16, 2021, 01:15:12 PM »
For Philip Guston is an interesting challenges for a listener. It falls somewhere between physical endurance and mental concentration. Strange that it is not a piece by John Cage. It'd be more fitting with his Buddhism/meditation frame of mind.

Feldman's super long pieces are often discussed and highly praised by the Onkyo/EAI crowd that to me is a lot about physical aspects of the music and the act of listening to it.

I sat/lay through For Philip Guston once five or so years ago. I had to get up to replaces 4 disks in between, but I still have a very distinct memory of when the piece ended.

Offline milk

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Re: Morton Feldman (1926-1987)
« Reply #838 on: December 16, 2021, 03:18:14 PM »
I think that you’re missing the point, the audience’s pleasure comes from seeing the performers suffer - like the crowds who went to see heretics, regicides etc,  being tortured and burned alive in medieval times.
why does it have to be like that? You’re saying for the SQ2 only? Or PG as well? Hmmm…why can’t he just have heard the music this way and followed his heart? I guess I can kind of see your point. Maybe he should have written breaks into the score. I think there’s merit in the actual exploration, outside the practicalities. If he could allow discretion as to how it’s carried out. Or perhaps if one allows for recording-only. I suppose composers don’t write with recording-only in mind.
I can agree it’s problematic, I just think if the problems can be solved, the music can be worthwhile without being about pain. I guess Feldman was a big egomaniac and one can see the piece as an act of egomaniacal sadism.

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Morton Feldman (1926-1987)
« Reply #839 on: December 17, 2021, 02:15:41 AM »
why does it have to be like that? You’re saying for the SQ2 only? Or PG as well? Hmmm…why can’t he just have heard the music this way and followed his heart? I guess I can kind of see your point. Maybe he should have written breaks into the score. I think there’s merit in the actual exploration, outside the practicalities. If he could allow discretion as to how it’s carried out. Or perhaps if one allows for recording-only. I suppose composers don’t write with recording-only in mind.
I can agree it’s problematic, I just think if the problems can be solved, the music can be worthwhile without being about pain. I guess Feldman was a big egomaniac and one can see the piece as an act of egomaniacal sadism.

The one non egomaniacal thing I can think of about Feldman is the trio, which apparently he wrote to please all the people who told him that not enough happens in his music.
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