Feldman's "late" works are the most remarkable. Often spanning hours in length, he transformed the concert into a ritual. "Is music an art form?" he liked to ask. In other words, is music more than just entertainment? His answer was clearly: "Yes".
Feldman's works are not just listened to, they are experienced. They are a mixture of music, performance art, and philosophy. Unlike John Cage, his close friend and mentor, Feldman was not interested in Zen philosophy. But listening to Feldman’s music leads to a heightened state of mind, a kind of musical enlightenment.
I just recorded two of Feldman's greatest works for solo piano: "Palais de Mari" (1986, 23') and "For Bunita Marcus" (1985, 67'). 15 minutes ago, I would've put the probability of seeing an article about Feldman on Hacker News at zero. Bravo.
Feldman's "Rothko Chapel" is a great way to get into his music (written following the suicide of painter Mark Rothko).
Here is part one:
The story of the Rothko Chapel is well worth reading if you like abstract expressionist artwork (de Kooning, Rothko, Kline, Pollock, etc).
Also, I recommend listening to the conversations between John Cage and Morton Feldman:
They talk, drink, smoke in the radio studio. It's all very 1960's but the insight into the lives of great composers is priceless.
It's Béla Bartók all over again. I wonder if there's an unwritten rule in nature that truly creative composers have to die before people recognize the value of their work?
A counterexample to this pattern is Philip Glass, who is receiving some recognition, but by virtue of being recognized in his own lifetime, may undercut his own reputation.
is the recording available online, either youtube or for sale?