17 may. 2011

Rothko Chapel

"Rothko Chapel" is perhaps the best introduction to Feldman. It is not an hour and a half long; it is pleasant in its instrumentation; and has a conventionally beautiful melody at the beginning of the fifth section. I love his use of quiet timpani. This was the first piece I heard by Feldman and for years I didn't know much else of him. It didn't hurt that Rothko is my favorite painter, of course.

Once you get used to Rothko Chapel, then you are ready for "Crippled Symmetries." This piece is quite a bit longer, but it is a better introduction to his great, late long works than, say, "Piano and String Quartet" or "Mental Perturbation." It is more sonically pleasant, more calming and even melodic. It is divided into sections, so you can start with one and listen to 15 or 20 minutes. This work will teach you how to listen to more unitary, unsubdivided long works.

Some really short early works might be easy enough to get through, but they are too short to provide enough information for the listener to get used to Feldman's style. "Rothko Chapel," at 24 minutes, is perfect in length in this regard.

There have been whole years when I just wasn't in the mood for Feldman's music. I only wanted music that would stimulate and arouse my nervous system in the more usual ways.

4 comentarios:

Vance Maverick dijo...

It's back! Did you re-post this, or was it restored by Blogger?

Agreed on the recommendation, by the way. I'd also point to "Madame Press Died Last Week At Ninety", though it's a smaller form.

Jonathan dijo...

Blogger brought it back to life. It was lost during the Great Blogger Outage.

Jonathan dijo...

I hadn't heard Madame Press before. I just found it and it is very lovely.

Vance Maverick dijo...

I know it from a John Adams recording of ten or fifteen years ago.