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Thread: Morton Feldman

  1. #61
    dogen
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    Quote Originally Posted by dogen View Post
    I just listened to Rothko Chapel and found it to be most enjoyable. I shall endeavour to look further into his music (when I have the time, it seems!)
    Not one to rush...

    I'm listening again...

    Rothko Chapel
    For Frank O'Hara

    It is really...duh...beautifully peaceful music...

    Thank you Mr Feldman.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dogen View Post
    Not one to rush...

    I'm listening again...

    Rothko Chapel
    For Frank O'Hara

    It is really...duh...beautifully peaceful music...

    Thank you Mr Feldman.
    Rushing and listening to Feldman aren't two things that can (or should) really be mixed
    Last edited by Xenakiboy; Jul-02-2016 at 08:26.

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  4. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xenakiboy View Post
    Rushing and listening to Feldman aren't two things that can (or should) really be mixed
    I'm gathering that!

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    I’m teetering on the edge of ordering the John Tilbury recordings on Atopos. Has anyone had the chance to hear any of them?

    Very much enjoying his recording of For John Cage with The Smith Quartet at the moment, I’ve just ordered his recording of Piano, Violin, Viola, Cello with The Smith Quartet on the strength of it.
    Last edited by Mandryka; Jul-07-2018 at 14:36.

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  8. #65
    Senior Member millionrainbows's Avatar
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    Listening to Morton Feldman's String Quartet no. 2 (not the whole thing), and it occurs to me after hearing a phrase repeated over and over: it sounds absurd! That's part of what he was trying to do, create a sense of absurdity, like Samuel Beckett. Pretty nihilistic compared to John Cage, in a way. This reminds me of the saying "Schopenhauer is like Buddhism without the joy." That's it, exactly! and probably the reason that all his MODE album covers are grey.
    This should answer all the questions about Feldman: "Why is he keeping us waiting for so long? What's the point here? What is this? Where's the beef? How can he get away with this?"

    Last edited by millionrainbows; Feb-05-2020 at 16:23.

  9. #66
    Senior Member millionrainbows's Avatar
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    After reading through some of the posts, I am amused by comments like: "...thrilled by the soundscape this composer paints in my mind," "episodes of utter bliss," "...ascending towards the outer reaches of the cosmos," "Yin and yang have now become one," "Id, ego and alter ego exist no more." Oh really? Okay, that's a valid response, but I don't think it is in congruence with what Feldman's intent. I think Feldman was a little "darker" and existential than that. Remember, this was the 1950s, not the 1960s.
    Similarly, this response:
    Quote Originally Posted by mmsbls View Post
    ...I listened to the Piano and String Quartet. I enjoyed what I heard, but I found it too repetitive to finish it. From others' comments I think there's actually some very interesting things going on that make the work sound repetitive only to those who don't hear the detail. I obviously did not hear the detail. I looked a bit for explanations of the work that might help me but I didn't find something useful...
    Don't worry, you're almost there. No, there's nothing "interesting" going on here. The others have simply filled in the emptiness with their own brand of ecstatic subjectivity. If it's too repetitive to finish, then you haven't given it the full chance to bore you. But what does it matter? It's all meaningless anyway.


    Last edited by millionrainbows; Feb-05-2020 at 17:02.

  10. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by millionrainbows View Post
    Listening to Morton Feldman's String Quartet no. 2 (not the whole thing), and it occurs to me after hearing a phrase repeated over and over: it sounds absurd! That's part of what he was trying to do, create a sense of absurdity, like Samuel Beckett. Pretty nihilistic compared to John Cage, in a way. This reminds me of the saying "Schopenhauer is like Buddhism without the joy." That's it, exactly! and probably the reason that all his MODE album covers are grey.
    This should answer all the questions about Feldman: "Why is he keeping us waiting for so long? What's the point here? What is this? Where's the beef? How can he get away with this?"

    Have you heard any Jurg Frey? -- this quartet for example.

    https://soundcloud.com/quatuor-bozzi...ichquartett-ii

  11. #68
    Senior Member PeterFromLA's Avatar
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    There was a Feldman month? How'd I manage to miss it?

    I did get to witness a live performance of For Philip Guston at least, in November of 2019, however. The piece unfolded over four and a half hours or so, but time really lost importance, sitting in a gallery surrounded by Guston drawings and paintings, while listening to these delightfully obsessed sonic morsels that Feldman doled out like candies at a convention for sugar addicts.

    http://www.mondayeveningconcerts.org...ip-guston.html

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  13. #69
    Senior Member flamencosketches's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by millionrainbows View Post
    Remember, this was the 1950s, not the 1960s.
    Hmm? Most of Feldman's major works were written in the '60s, '70s and '80s. But you've got me curious, now, what are some good Feldman works from the '50s? As far as I know he was still using his "graph notation" techniques then and his music was quite different than what I know him for.

    What you say about String Quartet No.2, the nihilism, the absurdity, the existentialisme sans joie. I think I would agree with you as regards that work, but by no means would I say those comments apply to the whole of Feldman. I think there is a lot more to it than what you say; his music doesn't just mean one thing, or nothing, but instead rewards a variety of views and interpretations. Anyway, I'm curious to know your sources for Feldman's intent, where he specifies that his music is supposed to be joyless, boring, and meaningless.

    Anyway, the real reason I'm posting is just to celebrate the great music of Morton Feldman, which has been keeping me well occupied lately. It's powerful stuff, what he did is something big. I'm very glad to have discovered it in these past few weeks. I feel like I'm just getting started and that this music will be with me for years. I felt similarly when I discovered the music of Anton Webern, about this time last year.

    Some of my favorite CDs:







    Anyone else been listening lately?
    Last edited by flamencosketches; Mar-14-2020 at 23:45.

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  15. #70
    Senior Member PeterFromLA's Avatar
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    Extended interview of Feldman by Charles Amirkhanian, 1986, a year before his death.

    https://archive.org/details/MFeldman...eldmanSOM1.wav

    https://archive.org/details/MFeldman...ldmanSOM1.wav#

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  17. #71
    Senior Member flamencosketches's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeterFromLA View Post
    Extended interview of Feldman by Charles Amirkhanian, 1986, a year before his death.

    https://archive.org/details/MFeldman...eldmanSOM1.wav

    https://archive.org/details/MFeldman...ldmanSOM1.wav#
    Excellent. Thanks, Peter.

    Since I made that post a couple months ago, Feldman has definitely risen quickly in my estimation and I would now call him one of my favorite composers with gratitude. There is still so much of his music that I've yet to hear, but there are some works that I really cherish: Crippled Symmetry, Why Patterns?, Rothko Chapel, Bass Clarinet & Percussion, Two Pianos, The King of Denmark, For Franz Kline, etc... I'm still working on getting into some of the long-form pieces—the roughly hour-and-a-half long Crippled Symmetry is as far as I'll go, but that piece is sublime start to finish. It never loses my undivided attention for a second. Even when I try and multitask and read or something while listening, I invariably find my attention drifting back to the twists and turns of the music.

    Feldman's music changed my life...
    Last edited by flamencosketches; May-05-2020 at 23:39. Reason: song?

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  19. #72
    Senior Member millionrainbows's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by flamencosketches View Post
    Hmm? Most of Feldman's major works were written in the '60s, '70s and '80s. But you've got me curious, now, what are some good Feldman works from the '50s? As far as I know he was still using his "graph notation" techniques then and his music was quite different than what I know him for.
    I was really referring to the 'pre-hippie' era, which lasted until maybe 1965/.

    What you say about String Quartet No.2, the nihilism, the absurdity, the existentialisme sans joie. I think I would agree with you as regards that work, but by no means would I say those comments apply to the whole of Feldman. I think there is a lot more to it than what you say; his music doesn't just mean one thing, or nothing, but instead rewards a variety of views and interpretations. Anyway, I'm curious to know your sources for Feldman's intent, where he specifies that his music is supposed to be joyless, boring, and meaningless.
    That's just my general take on Feldman, in comparing him to Cage, whose aesthetic of sound is more Buddhist-based. I'm not trying to restrict anyone's view of Feldman, just trying to define him generally. And believe it or not, my take on Feldman has no "sources" other than maybe reading liner notes from the CDs. It's something I arrived at myself. I'm not trying to prove any point, but I do like to come across as confident-sounding for my own protection on the internet.

  20. #73
    Senior Member flamencosketches's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by millionrainbows View Post
    I was really referring to the 'pre-hippie' era, which lasted until maybe 1965/.



    That's just my general take on Feldman, in comparing him to Cage, whose aesthetic of sound is more Buddhist-based. I'm not trying to restrict anyone's view of Feldman, just trying to define him generally. And believe it or not, my take on Feldman has no "sources" other than maybe reading liner notes from the CDs. It's something I arrived at myself. I'm not trying to prove any point, but I do like to come across as confident-sounding for my own protection on the internet.
    Well, I appreciate the honesty I don't have any interest in depriving you of your conclusions and it's clear they are well thought out. I only took issue with what appeared to be your declaration that the reactions of so many people to Feldman's music were not "in congruence with what Feldman's intent", which led me to question what you know concretely of Feldman's intent. Statements like that, which aim to go inside the dead composer's head to determine his motivations, are always open to questioning, and tend to rub me the wrong way 9 times out of 10 (the main reason I detest arguing with Mahlerians who identify too personally with their composer of choice—who, as you may know from previous conversations, is a great favorite of mine). But I digress, you've arrived at your conclusions yourself, as have I (we can call mine a work in progress) and so many thousands of other lovers of Feldman's music. I think it's a beautiful thing that such outwardly simple music can generate such a multiverse of responses.

    Anyway, I think we can both at least agree that Feldman was no hippy, and that there is some kind of ultimate darkness to his music. But I stand by that he was not setting out to write joyless, grey music, regardless of the imagery that a certain record label has decided to assign to his covers (which I would agree are excellent).

  21. #74
    Senior Member millionrainbows's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by flamencosketches View Post
    Well, I appreciate the honesty I don't have any interest in depriving you of your conclusions and it's clear they are well thought out. I only took issue with what appeared to be your declaration that the reactions of so many people to Feldman's music were not "in congruence with what Feldman's intent", which led me to question what you know concretely of Feldman's intent. Statements like that, which aim to go inside the dead composer's head to determine his motivations, are always open to questioning, and tend to rub me the wrong way 9 times out of 10 (the main reason I detest arguing with Mahlerians who identify too personally with their composer of choice—who, as you may know from previous conversations, is a great favorite of mine).
    Oh, feel free to jump in whenever something rubs you the wrong way. that's what I do. When I started reading the reactions to Feldman being "meditative" and "one of the most spiritual experiences of my life," I chimed-in to correct our ship's course.

    And, no, you don't have to thank me for defending Feldman against the "twins separated at birth" image, since removed.

    But I digress, you've arrived at your conclusions yourself, as have I (we can call mine a work in progress) and so many thousands of other lovers of Feldman's music. I think it's a beautiful thing that such outwardly simple music can generate such a multiverse of responses.
    Yes, within reason, but there's always Tangerine Dream.

    Anyway, I think we can both at least agree that Feldman was no hippy, and that there is some kind of ultimate darkness to his music. But I stand by that he was not setting out to write joyless, grey music, regardless of the imagery that a certain record label has decided to assign to his covers (which I would agree are excellent).
    The same thing could be said of Beckett.

  22. #75
    Senior Member PeterFromLA's Avatar
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    Well, I think if you listen to Feldman in interviews, or read his essays, one of the things that comes through, constantly, is his deadpan sense of humor. It's just almost always there, or if not there, around the corner from being there. So, there is often a sense of absurdity behind his compositions in that he is pushing things to the extreme in places where extremes are not necessarily indicated. The lengthy pieces are an example of this, of course, but not only there. He has a bevy of titles for his pieces that read like inside jokes. It's not hard to imagine him having a great time writing his compositions, because as he says he doesn't write the pieces with a plan, he kind of finds his way through the piece as he writes it, often surprising himself with what he comes up with. The music sounds like a system playing itself out, but if it is a system, it's one that is emergent, rather than derived from a formula.

    As he put it, "The whole idea is not to write a good piece. The whole idea is to get lost. To get lost and to come out."

    I love the guy, and I love his music.
    Last edited by PeterFromLA; May-06-2020 at 04:29.

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