Thursday, January 12, 2006

Happy Birthday, Morton Feldman

A busy day awaits, but I'd be remiss if I didn't acknowledge this baffling and wonderful composer who has provoked more astonishment, confusion and delight in my being that any other composer I can think of. A loud, boisterous (an adjective that doesn't even begin to describe some stories I've been told) man who wrote the quietest, most delicate pieces of music we've yet heard. And some of the longest ones. Relatively obscure while he was alive, now we're all trying to grapple with his legacy. I never met him, but my friend Thomas L. Hamilton did. Hearing Feldman's "The Viola in My Life" in Buffalo in 1996 is an experience that I'll be grateful for as long as I live. I hope wherever he is now, the musicians are playing as softly as he wants them to. (Above image from Feldman archive at University at Buffalo)

Update: the crew at the KC Symphony that I work with had a banner Morton Feldman B-Day, listening to "Clarinet and String Quartet," "The Viola in my Life," "Coptic Light," "Why Patterns?" and a few others.

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