Morton Feldman

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

Feldman: Piece for 4 pianos

Feldman’s changing engagement with sound

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.

Morton Feldman speaks with Webern

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).

Morton Feldman speaks with Beethoven

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.

For Bunita Marcus 7: pages 23-25

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.

For Bunita Marcus 6: Settling down (pages 20-22)

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.

For Bunita Marcus: end-to-end

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.