Morton Feldman

Writings about the music of American composer Morton Feldman (1926-1987)

Memories and Imitations

I spent a recent Saturday morning chatting with Laura Kuhn of the John Cage Trust, a conversation now available online in the latest episode of her program “All Things Cage” for WGXC.

Triadic memory 4: Rhythms and structures

Triadic memories, like all late Feldman, is a series of repeated patterns, musical images that are extended in time by repetition. In some pieces these repetitions are of larger chunks of music, with a system, set of systems, or even pages of music reappearing, often with permutations. I’ve always thought of these larger-scale repetitions in terms of the whole pattern: pitch and rhythm together. Playing through Triadic memories, I’ve become aware of them rhythmically, repeating even as the pitches are moved around.

Triadic memories

An ongoing, sporadic series examining aspects of Morton Feldman’s Triadic memories for piano. The series has no overarching structure, but instead takes up individual moments, images, and questions about the piece and follows them where they lead. Triadic memory #1: Hand-made music Triadic memory #2: A question about rhythm Triadic memory #3: A figure in memory

Triadic memory #3: A figure in memory

There is a figure that appears about a third of the way into Triadic memories. It catches my attention, wakes me up: it is a signal that something is changing. Where are we going now? And haven’t I heard this before somewhere?

How I happened upon the Happenings

For me, there is a more personal history of the Radio Happenings: the story of how they came to light and were preserved. It all happened because of procrastination and the pre-Internet digital social world of Bulletin Board Services in New York City. It was a rare musicological adventure.