Morton Feldman was born in New York on January 12th 1926. At the age of twelve he studied piano with Madame Maurina-Press, who had been a pupil of Busoni, and it was she who instilled in Feldman a vibrant musicality. At the time he was composing short Scriabinesque pieces, until in 1941 he began to study composition with Wallingford Riegger. Three years later Stefan Wolpe became his teacher, though they spent much of their time together simply arguing about music. Then in 1949 the most significant meeting up to that time took place - Feldman met John Cage, commencing an artistic association of crucial importance to music in America in the 1950s. Cage was instrumental in encouraging Feldman to have confidence in his instincts, which resulted in totally intuitive compositions. He never worked with any systems that anyone has been able to identify, working from moment to moment, from one sound to the next. His friends during the 1950s in New York included the composers, Earle Brown and Christian Wolff, the painters, Mark Rothko, Philip Guston, Franz Kline, Jackson Pollock and Robert Rauschenberg and the pianist, David Tudor. The painters in particular influenced Feldman to search for his own sound world, one that was more immediate and more physical than had existed before. This resulted in his experimentation with graphic notation. Projection 2 being one of his earliest scores in this idiom. In these scores the players select their notes from within a given register and time structure. Because these works relied so heavily on improvisation Feldman was not happy with the freedom permitted to the performer, and so abandoned graphic notation between 1953 and 1958. However, the precise notation he used instead during this period he found too one dimensional and so returned to the graph with two orchestral works: Atlantis (1958) and Out of Last Pieces (1960). Soon after these a series of instrumental works appeared called Durations in which the notes to be played are precisely written but the performers, beginning simultaneously, are free to choose their own durations within a given general tempo.
1967 saw the start of Feldman’s association with Universal Edition with the publication of his last graphically notated score, In Search of an Orchestration. Then followed On Time and the Instrumental Factor (1969) in which he once more returned to precise notation. From then on, with the exception of two works in the early 1970s, he maintained control over pitch, rhythm, dynamics and duration.
In 1973 the University of New York at Buffalo asked Feldman to become the Edgard Varèse Professor, a post which he was to hold for the rest of his life.
From the late 1970s his compositions expanded in length to such a degree that the second string quartet can last for up to five and a half hours. The scale of these works in particular has often been the cause for the controversy surrounding his works, but he would always be happy to attempt to explain his reasoning behind them:
„My whole generation was hung up on the 20-25 minute piece. It was our clock. We all got to know it, and how to handle it. As soon as you leave the 20-25 minute piece behind, in a one-movement work, different problems arise. Up to one hour you think about the form, but after an hour and a half it’s scale. Form is easy – just the division of things into parts. But scale is another matter. You have to have control of the piece – it requires a heightened kind of concentration. Before, my pieces were like objects; now, they’re like envolving things.“
Nine one-movement compositions by Feldman last for over one and a half hours each.
One of his last works, Palais de Mari from 1986, is unusual for a late composition in that it is only twenty minutes long. This came about from a request from Bunita Marcus, for whom it was written, for Feldman to sum up everything he was doing in the very long pieces and to condense that into a smaller piece. Knowing his sense of time, she asked for a ten minute work, knowing that it would probably be twice that length. On September 3rd 1987 Morton Feldman died at his home in Buffalo aged 61. - Bio from Universal Editions Publishers
Morton Feldman Interview
This is a link to a great interview with Morton Feldman.
I found some informations about Mortn Feldman.
This is the Link that shows us how did Feldman organized the piece from notes, chords, rhythm and mood these different angles.
The notes: they were set up by different patterns in several situations. Like a mirror between two patterns; half steps among five patterns in different timbres...
The chords: Feldman was trying to repeat the chords over and over while he kept changing a little bit in each pattern and let them sounds different.
The mood and rhythm: Feldman was trying to make a kind of silence and quiet background, so the rhythm on the score was quite complicated and this kind of rhythm let people feel floating.
This is the Link to the lectures by Morton Feldman on his own compositions, given in 1972-1985 at the University at Buffalo, the State University of New York.
-- Akkra Yeunyonghattporn --
This is a link http://www.cnvill.net/mfjobur2.htm to a lecture that Feldman gave before a recital in 1983. The tone here is very candid and reveals a lot about his personality as well as his ideas as a composer. He talks about his upbringing, his friends and he also discusses his piece Why Patterns?.
There is also this entertaining and informative article on Feldman in the New Yorker that gives the reader a very good overview on the man and his music.
The bellowing link is a about some information about Morton Feldman, which people way be interested in.
In this artical, we can simply get the music style of Morton Feldman.
Projection IV is an early piece for violin and piano by Morton Feldman, composed in 1951. Composed just a year after he met John Cage who became his good friend, one wonders how much of Cage's influence shows in the piece. Apparently, Feldman's compositional style was difficult to pin down systematically, as his perception of sound and music performance changed constantly. Projection IV is one of his pieces that experiments with graphic notation that specifies only certain details of range and timbre, but the notes themselves to be played are determined by performers. It is perhaps worth thinking about whether the graphic score itself is artistically designed to capture the eye of the performer and to elicit emotions that translate to notes.
Here is the link for the note of this piece and I also quote one paragraph from it.
Structures for String Quartet turns out to be a short composition in one movement always played as quietly as possible - another Feldman specialty. The "structures" of the piece follow one another in a quite straightforward linear pattern. The opening section is pointillistic and sparse in texture. This is followed by what I will call, for lack of a better word, a series of quasi-ostinato passages. Each one of these is almost but not quite a precisely fixed ostinato of a type almost resembling a tape loop in electronic music. Four of these occur in sequence separated by short rests or simple intervening chords. A second pointillistic passage, reminiscent of the opening, appears next and this is followed by two more quasi-ostinati and a concluding section again reminiscent of the opening. The dialectic of the piece thus is one of emptiness versus density, and of irregularity versus periodicity.- Lejaren Hiller: Morton Feldman - Structures for String Quartet (1951)
Here is video of Feldman's Rothko Chapel
Here is a brief 'progrmme' on it :The Rothko Chapel is a spiritual environment created by the American painter Mark Rothko (1903-1970) as a place for contemplation where men and women of all faiths, or of none, may meditate in silence, in solitude or celebration together. For this chapel, built in 1971 by the Ménil Foundation in Houston, Texas, Rothko painted fourteen large canvasses. Here is the link from an exceprt where Feldman himself gave description on this work.
It is interesting to me how different media of arts, in this case, visual and music, are used as a media of reflection, meditation for all human beings. I kind of have the impressions that it is easier to catch 'abstract' ideas from things we perceive visually (paintings) than auditory (music) since we tend to perceived message faster by eyes than by ear. Is that the reason why Feldman has different types of notation as well in his projections?
I found Morton Feldman's page on MySpace. It contains some of his compositions as A Very Short Trumpet Piece, The King of Denmark, Madame Press Died Last Week90, etc.
I found this through google, and I think it is really useful for us to know him better. You can know almost everyhing about Feldman from it.
It is his personal website :website of Feldman
Here is the link of The king of Denmark http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WIy... Here is the link of The king of Denmark http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WIyj-Ibh3NY by Morton Feldman. I think this piece only have sound and no melody and any beauty elements
After listen to the pieces and read the information about him, my first feeling about him is he is not a very kind person and maybe he will be very mean to his students, and actually don't know why I am not very love his music. Maybe is because it's somehow made me feel not so good.