Morton Feldman (1926-1987) is among the most influential American composers of the 20th century. While his music is known for its extreme quiet and delicate beauty, Feldman himself was famously large and loud. His writings are both funny and illuminating, not only about his own music but about the entire New York School of painters, poets, and composers that coalesced in the 1950s, including his friends Jackson Pollock, Philip Guston, Mark Rothko, Robert Rauschenberg, Frank O'Hara, and John Cage.
Together with John Cage, Feldman is the principal representative of the New York School of composers, a group of American avant-gardists who in the 1950s and 1960s challenged the European music establishment with their use of graphic scores, chance techniques, and indeterminate compositions. Yet despite Feldman's devotion to these radical innovations, his music was known above all for its sensuousness and melancholy. "There never was and there is not now in my mind any doubt about its beauty," wrote John Cage in his landmark book Silence. "It is, in fact, sometimes too beautiful."
It is Feldman's intuitive, almost spiritual approach to music that has caused him to become one of the most performed composers of our time; since his death in 1987, no fewer than 80 CDs of Feldman's music have been released, and his works can now be heard in classical music halls worldwide. His music has also won a large following outside the classical establishment: Feldman is one of the most listened to and discussed composers among fans (and practitioners) of avant-garde rock and techno music.
Give My Regards to Eighth Street is an authoritative collection of Feldman's writings, culled from published articles, program notes, LP liners, lectures, interviews, and unpublished writings in the Morton Feldman Archive at SUNY Buffalo (where Feldman taught for many years). Feldman's writings explore his music and his theories about music, but they also make clear how heavily Feldman was influenced by painting and by his friendships with the Abstract Expressionists. As editor B.H. Friedman notes in his introduction, Feldman's "writing about art is also of lasting importance."...Continua