31. July 2023

Last Pieces


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Morton FeldmanLast Pieces (1959)
for piano

Benjamin Kobler, piano

Janet Sinica, video and editing
Julius Gass, recording producer
Martin Schmitz, light

Last Pieces

The music of Morton Feldman is one of the most remarkable explorations of the twentieth century. Along with artists, writers, and composers such as Mark Rothko, Philip Guston, Robert Creeley, and John Cage, he helped bring the twentieth century closer to an understanding of both the nature of perception and the structure of human experience.
Rejecting the most basic tenets of conventional musical discourse, he espoused a creative stance in which sounds seem to move freely in time and space without the interference of any compositional rhetoric or a priori procedures.
Each of his compositions represents a sensitive transcription of the creative moment.
Indeed, one is often tempted to think of them not so much as pieces of music, but rather as actions in the process of becoming musical works; as examples of an impulse toward the experience known as art. His compositions exemplify the position first advocated by John Cage that works of art are created “…not (as) preconceived objects…(but)…occasions for experience.”

Last Pieces is a set of four compositions for piano written in 1959. The first and third pieces are played slowly and softly, the second and fourth quickly and quietly (The latter two pieces are among the few instances in which Feldman created music that was meant to be played quickly).
In all four pieces, the duration of each sound is free and left to the discretion of the performer.
Excerpt of an essay by Thomas DeLio, originally published in “The Music of Morton Feldman”