Morton Feldman: Orchestra

  • for orchestra
  • 4 4 4 4 - 2 3 3 1 - perc(3), hp, pno(2), str
  • Duration: 18’
  • Instrumentation details:
    picc-3·3-c.a·3-contl·3-cbn - 2·3·3·1 -perc(3) -hp., 2 pft(/1 cel) - str.
  • Composer: Morton Feldman
  • Commission: Musica Nova of Glasgow

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Work introduction

One of the compositional quirks I’m most lucky about is the almost total state of amnesia immediately after completing a composition. There is not one of which I could sit down and recall a note of (except the opening of those oscillating D flats the piano plays in Piano and Orchestra – how could one forget that!).

I write that I’m fortunate about this (the Talmud refers to an Angel of Forgetfulness), what I mean to say is that this broken memory makes possible the never ending stopping of my pen. It is that which you repeat not from memory but from the lack of it which is the “substance” that interests me most.

Like Don Juan, whose involvement with women was only because he was on the run from them, my involvement with compositions comes about the same way: avenue of escape FROM it. As a friend used to say at a dull part, “Where’s the escape hatch?”. Art is no different. It’s a boring party. The thing is to know when to leave and write something like… Orchestra.

Morton Feldman, 1976

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