A Guide to Morton Feldman’s music

Some­thing strange starts to hap­pen when you lis­ten to Amer­i­can com­poser Mor­ton Feldman’s long, long – and I mean long – late cham­ber pieces. I’m talk­ing about the 80-minute Piano and String Quar­tet, the four and a half hours of For Philip Gus­ton (which you can hear live at theHud­der­s­field Con­tem­po­rary Music fes­ti­val on 21 Novem­ber 2012) or the biggest of them all, the five-hour Sec­ond String Quar­tet. By the end of these works, com­posed a few years before Feldman’s death in 1987, I was left want­ing more, not less. My sense of time had been altered, so intently focused was I on the way the music changed from note to note and chord to chord. It cre­ated a liv­ing, breath­ing net­work of rela­tion­ships that extended across its length. You don’t really lis­ten to these pieces, you live through them and with them. By the end of the Sec­ond String Quar­tet, I felt it was liv­ing inside me too.”

For the full story, please read The Guardian.

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