30 nov. 2006

Morton Feldman's writings on music are very profound.

His distate for "attack." In other words, he doesn't want music dominated by the front end of the note or by loud flashy dynamics. Think how much more interesting the decay of the note is than its onset.

His notion of a note as a "stencil." He didn't want the stereotype of an instrumental sound. He was hearing something more subtle in his mind.

All his interest in oriental rugs and painting, in musical sound as a visual surface.

He even out-Cages Cage.

2 comentarios:

Herb Levy dijo...

Feldman is definitely one of the major composers of the second half of the 20th century. The surge in recordings of the last decade as well as the publication of the book(s) you're probably looking at (Give My Regards to Eighth Street & Morton Feldman Says) has enabled a remarkable post-mortem renaissance of interest in music that had previously been nearly invisible/ and unheard.

Feldman's also very relevant to your earlier post on rhythm. His late works are often heard as long, quiet, oddly pretty pieces with unusual patterns of repetitions. However, a lot of what is heard as "repetition" is actually altered rhythmic restatements of the same gamut of pitches. These differences may be as slight an additional sixteenth note of rest somewhere in a phrase or an added or subtracted beat between the sounding of a phrase.

These tiny deviations from any kind of consistent pulse distinguish this music from almost any other music I know. These distinctions are sometimes less obvious on some of the recordings, but I think your University's big enough that they may have scores of some of the music from the last decade of his life.

I'll have to differ with your statement that Feldman "out-Cages Cage". For me what most distinguishes Cage's overall body of work is his continued attempts to make art while subverting any sense of expressing his personal taste.

Of all of the contemporary and modern composers I know, Cage almost always successfully avoided falling into a personal style. Cage made systems that determined how sound events were selected, but tried, not always successfully, to not let his own decision-making processes interfere with what sound events the listener heard. Feldman, on the other hand, is all about presenting something he really wants the listener to experience.

Jonathan dijo...

You definitely know a lot more about Feldman than I do. You are definitely right about Cage. I was thinking more in terms of a more specfic point that Feldman makes about Cage in an essay from 8th-street, that Cage's zen attitude is too programmatic in a way, too ideological. For me Cage is too didactic, too programmatic. There isn't a personal style or "taste" but there is a personal set of axes to grind.