Monday, December 20, 2010

A Little Thought About Morton Feldman


This is from a little correspondence I just had with Larry Kart about the experience of listening to Morton Feldman. It summarizes some of my thoughts about Feldman's music that I had never put into writing:

I think Feldman's ear "voice leads" one sound to another, and I have the sense that he was very patient in choosing the right notes (though he often insisted the notes weren't as important as the sounds--hmm, not in my experience). So you have sounds and chord successions that remind you of particular harmonic movements and progressions that you've heard before, but they're not following any fixed structural logic, so they take on the quality of a memory or dream. (I tend to read the title 'Triadic Memories' in this context.) This effect is all amplified by the sense of stasis that each event produces. There's an incredible tension between that stasis, and the often radical harmonic changes that are occurring with each event. Which of course relies on the context not only of the piece itself, but of the listener's collective experience of music in general.





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