Mark Limacher /dɒtkɔm/

General Music, etc.

Morton Feldman’s Piano & String Quartet

From Why Patterns? An Analysis of Morton Feldman’s “Piano and string quartet”:

In discussing his 1978 work Why Patterns? Morton Feldman said:
“The most interesting aspect for me, composing exclusively with patterns, is that there is not one organizational procedure more advantageous than another, perhaps because no one pattern ever takes precedence over the others. The compositional concentration is solely on which pattern should be reiterated and for how long …” (Feldman, 129)
This impressive display of inversions is typical of Feldman’s late pieces. The aforementioned For Bunita Marcus is another exquisite example of such inventiveness. Feldman put it this way:
“Actually I just try to repeat the same chord. I’m reiterating the same chord in inversions.” (Feldman, 230)
“… there is a suggestion that what we hear is functional and directional, but we soon realize that this is an illusion …” (Feldman, 127)
“… The reason my music is notated is I wanted to keep control of the silence … when you hear it, you have no idea rhythmically how complicated that is on paper. It’s floating. On paper it looks as though it’s rhythm. It’s not. It’s duration.” (Feldman, 232)
Indeed, PSQ is very ‘complicated’ when it comes to durations. Such complexity derives from Feldman’s attitude, in his late works, to keep notated music free and ‘floating’, rhythmically speaking, as if it were a written transcription of an improvisation. Cage remarked once that Feldman’s late works were Feldman playing his early graph pieces.

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