Works performed by Earplay:

For Frank O'Hara
Nature Pieces
i met heine on the rue furstenberg
Spring of Chosroes
The Viola in my Life III
Voice and Instruments II

Morton Feldman (1926-1987, United States) was an American composer — an American artist — an American in the true sense of the word. He identified himself by differentiating his views on composition from those of his colleagues in Europe. He was proud to be an American because he was convinced that it enabled him the freedom, unparalleled in Europe, to work unfettered by tradition. And, he was an American also in what may have been a slight inferiority complex in the face of cultural traditions in Europe, something he proudly rejected and secretly admired. Like any true artist, Feldman was endowed with a sensitivity for impressions of a wide variety of sources, literature and painting in particular. His affinity to Samuel Beckett has enriched music literature by a unique music theatre piece, Neither, and two ensemble works. His friendship with abstract impressionist painters gave birth to a range of masterpieces, Rothko Chapel in particular. Later in Feldman’s career, his modernist approach: "compositional self-criticism and continual questioning of materials and methods," as Molly and Paul Paccione described it in their essay Did Modernism Fail Morton Feldman?, put him at odds with the postmodern school of American composition then coming into fashion.

Feldman had an intriguing reply up his sleeve when it came to answering the question of why he composed in the first place: "You know that marvelous remark of Disraeli's? Unfortunately, he was not a good writer, but if he was a great writer, it would have been a wonderful remark. They asked him why did he begin to write novels. He said because there was nothing to read (laughs). I felt very much like that in terms of contemporary music. I was not really happy with it. It became like a Rohrschach test." More than twenty years since his death, Morton Feldman's music is as alive as ever.

[from program for February 6, 2012 concert]