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Feldman & Sciarrino - music without "notes"

Feldman Edition Volume 11 - Orchestra

Intersection I; Structures for String Quartet;
On Time and the Instrumental Factor;
Voice and Instruments; Orchestra

The Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin/Lubman; Martha Cluver (soprano)

Mode 238

Morton Feldman is an acquired taste. His music needs a different mind set for listeners to achieve a certain passivity so as to absorb his ways and messages.

Performances of Feldman's orchestral music in UK are infrequent, so a CD is greatly to be welcomed, this one important for bringing us rare works that allow great freedom, especially re the actual "notes" and their relationships to others - the bedrock of Western music, but one that does not interest him.

So, in some of this music most parameters are specified in their durations and relationships, but the pitches of actual notes are left indeterminate except that the registers of the instruments are given - the dynamics left to the performers.

Intersection 1 is assembled from performances of its graphic score, later notated for this recording. Whatever, it becomes persuasive music, as is each of these works (1951-79), guiding a relaxed attentive ear to absorb the music without tring to "think" about its growth and development. See PrestoClassical for more detail.

A substantial bonus is S C Birmaher's notes which do really "help listeners to a closer approach".

Sciarrino's Caprices also is music which does not depend uon "notes" and their relationships.

I was greatly taken with them at Kings Place (Graeme Jennings) and have found praise for violinist Aisha Orazbayeva's playing of them at RAM.

But her "nonclassical" (!!) CD Outside is a disaster; bitty extracts from this and that, a few of the Sciarrino Caprices recorded in various locations - ‘bus stops, warehouses and car parks’, their ambient noise mixed in.

Sad that Aisha should have been lured into such a travesty.

Peter Grahame Woolf