I find that there’s a really sharp change in Morton Feldman’s work in 1957, with his Piece for 4 pianos. But what ties these worlds together is something that I think gets at the heart of Feldman’s work: a direct engagement with sound.
Writings about the music of American composer Morton Feldman (1926-1987)
Both Morton Feldman and John Cage at various times remembered fondly the long talks they had together during the 1950s, soon after they met. What did they talk about? One topic may have been a spiritual one: seeking something beyond their own sense of self in their work, something larger.
Hearing Webern and Feldman next to each other is a real ear-opener. The other day I decided to explore this a little further. I listened to the Webern Symphony again, then to two Feldman pieces from the time of that famous concert walk-out: Projection 1 for cello (1950) and Structures for string quartet (1951).
A good while back, I wrote about Morton Feldman’s Intermission 6. I’ve been playing it some more this month and just made a recording of it.
The latest music to migrate from the bookshelf to the piano to be worked on are pieces by Morton Feldman and Beethoven. What I’m finding is that these pieces are talking to each other—or at least Feldman is speaking to Beethoven—about voicing, weight, and sound.
An explanation of why my page numbering doesn’t match the Feldman scores now sold by Universal Edition.
After attaining a state of deep concentration in pages 20-22, For Bunita Marcus breaks off and scatters a bit over the next few pages. This is another section where Feldman rearranges earlier music, disorienting our memories.
As I noted at the end of the last installment of my trek through For Bunita Marcus, the end of page 19 signals something altogether different. What happens over the next three pages is an expansion of time and a sharpening of concentration in the piece.
Here in the blog, I’ve been describing my progress through Feldman’s For Bunita Marcus one section at a time. I’ve gotten through page 19, which is about halfway through the piece. In reality, I’ve been much further ahead of the blog. A couple of weeks ago, I finally reached the end.
In a recent lecture on Feldman’s music, Bunita Marcus said that Feldman was ”playing with memory and the evolution of memory.” The next part of For Bunita Marcus (pages 16-19) is devoted to this “playing with memory”.