Feldman and Scelsi

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Dohol
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Feldman and Scelsi

Post by Dohol »

The true progenitors of the musics most of us love so well.

(I think)

Discuss
“In a kind of middle-aged crisis, it dawned upon me that there was a possibility that music might not even be an art form.”

Morton Feldman


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tristan
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Post by tristan »

I just started listening to some Scelsi. Got the CD "5 String Quartets; String Trio; Khoom"

Of what I've heard, string quartet no. 3 is my favorite...though I haven't listened to Khoom or the 4th and 5th quartets.

Recommendations for other Scelsi?

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Post by Dohol »

I would recommend almost anything except his piano music. In my (very) humble opinion, it's his least interesting stuff.

I was just listening to that CD. The Arditti Quartet?. I love most of it, though his first string quartet isn't the Scelsi we know and love.
“In a kind of middle-aged crisis, it dawned upon me that there was a possibility that music might not even be an art form.”

Morton Feldman


http://soundcloud.com/doug-holbrook

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Re: Feldman and Scelsi

Post by kp* »

Feldman once refered to Scelsi as the Charles Ives of Italy

which is pretty funny cause it fits in some ways, but Ives and Scelsi had wildly different personalities and temperments.

Feldman once, when asked about Arvo P?rt said, "I would like to pull that guy's beard."

Seriously, there is no end to the funny Feldman stories. I have dozens. I didn't study with Feldman, but did study with Wolff and Bunita Marcus and others who knew Feldman well and i swear someone has to collect all these bon mots into a "Feldman Remembered" type book. Everyone who knew Feldman has a good Feldman story. Everyone. The dude was funny. Unless of course, you were on the receiving end of one of his verbal jabs, then, maybe not so fun.


Here is one more ( fuck Scelsi <.25 wink> ):

At the premier of Coptic Light the audience applauded and when Feldman went up on stage to accept the applause the first violinist sort of hissed at Feldman under his breath. Feldman shook his hand smiling and said quietly, "i am glad you can still feel something"


hehe....

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tristan
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Post by tristan »

Dohol wrote:I would recommend almost anything except his piano music. In my (very) humble opinion, it's his least interesting stuff.
I haven't heard any of his works for piano, though I can understand it not being as good considering the nature of the instrument and the nature of his composition.
I was just listening to that CD. The Arditti Quartet?. I love most of it, though his first string quartet isn't the Scelsi we know and love.
yeah, that's the one.

I also got The Complete Works for Clarinet. Haven't listened yet though.

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Post by Richard Pinnell »

Not sure why Feldman and Scelsi get lumped into one thread as I don't hear that many similarities, but anyway.

Over the last couple of months I've absorbed an awful lot of Scelsi's music. The works for string quartet are all very nice, and I wouldn't write off all of the piano pieces either, although not as inventive as the music for strings I enjoy some of it. The Ka and Ttai suites pieces are nice, if only in a calm, relaxing prettiness kind of way.

What I really didn't enjoy in the slightest was his works for high winds. The Mode collection of some of these pieces was really irritating to my ears.

One disc I enjoy a lot is the Scelsi collection on the RZ label that I only recently picked up. The version of Quartet no.2 on that disc is great.

As for Feldman I'm going to see Tilbury play For Bunita Marcus this weekend, not sure it gets much better than that. :)

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Post by fearandpanic »

those two have drifted in some people's imagination more towards the easy-listening wing of 20th century composition

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Post by jon abbey »

I'd figure it's kind of obvious, but Feldman's influence on the EAI world is primarily in his elongation of time and use of space in his late, massively long works, as well as more directly via Tilbury in AMM.

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Post by Richard Pinnell »

fearandpanic wrote: those two have drifted in some people's imagination more towards the easy-listening wing of 20th century composition.
I know what you are saying here, and I generally agree, but there is listening and there's listening. I've lost count of the number of times people have told me they go to sleep with Feldman on (I have to admit to doing the same thing often) but to really spend time with Feldman takes a degree of stamina. Sitting through a performance o f the second string quartet isn't something I'd probably think of as Easy listening, probably quite the opposite.

I'd take Lachenmann over Scelsi any day also, but I'm glad its not an either/or situation (I know you didnt suggest it was) they both set out to achieve different things and they are both pretty successful .

I think we need Lachenmann and Nono threads... I'd like to hear your recommendations for those Fear.

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Post by Dohol »

I have no problem lumping the two together. They both explored music as a microcosm. They both created music out of minimal resources.

I guess their music could be considered easy listening. Play Rothko Chapel for you grandmother. Let her be the judge.


Feldman and Scelsi, to paraphrase Varese " flew on their own wings " They belonged to no school save their own.

Yes, Scelsi overindulged in faux mysticism. So what? That's really got nothing to do with his music. ( Except his piano music which were transcribed " transmissions " ugh )
“In a kind of middle-aged crisis, it dawned upon me that there was a possibility that music might not even be an art form.”

Morton Feldman


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Post by kp* »

fearandpanic wrote:I presume you're singling those two in particular out because of their shifting of emphasis away from pitches and pitch relationships and onto timbre and sound colour. But unlike Webern, Varese, Ligeti, Lachenmann, and others, who also were concerned with this, those two have drifted in some people's imagination more towards the easy-listening wing of 20th century composition. So I suppose that's appropriate too.
Yeah, For Samuel Beckett, Turfan Fragments, Coptic Light, Routine Investigations, Untitled Composition for Cello and Piano, these are all practically muzak :roll:

furthermore i am not in least convinced about the bit about pitches. Scelsi was concerned with the overlap of pitch & timbre, or the notion that tuning is timbre. What he did could not have been done without a concern for pitch.

As for Feldman. I just can't type much on that... i'll be here all week, But Feldman's music this was done with a very keen sensitivity to pitch. What you have there is a really overly simplified and problematic notion to me. What both these guys understood is that pitch & timbre intersect.

Here's another story: A dude was playing one of Feldman's graph pieces and it had a box with a 3 in it to indicate 3 tones. The pianist hit his three notes and Feldman grimaced..... The dude looked at Feldman like, "WTF? you said 3 pitches?" Feldman responded, "yeah, but not those three."
fearandpanic wrote: Feldman's use of instrumental textures (particularly large orchestral textures) never became as radical as Lachenmann's or Spahlinger's, who reduced instruments right down to their very core. If you take the coontinual questioning and redefinition of beauty to be one of the defining elements of much 20th century composition and improv, then I'd say Feldman was definitely more an old Romantic soul.
dood... listen to the Turfan Fragments, & Neither and report back yo. besides Lachenmann is about a totally different deal altogether... He's the continuation of Nono's late work.

In the early 70s Feldman was writing melodies, as he put it, "big melodies, like Puccini" but let's not get carried away. Surely F was half winking when he said that.

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Post by Dohol »

inharmonik wrote:
fearandpanic wrote:I presume you're singling those two in particular out because of their shifting of emphasis away from pitches and pitch relationships and onto timbre and sound colour. But unlike Webern, Varese, Ligeti, Lachenmann, and others, who also were concerned with this, those two have drifted in some people's imagination more towards the easy-listening wing of 20th century composition. So I suppose that's appropriate too.
Yeah, For Samuel Beckett, Turfan Fragments, Coptic Light, Routine Investigations, Untitled Composition for Cello and Piano, these are all practically muzak :roll:

furthermore i am not in least convinced about the bit about pitches. Scelsi was concerned with the overlap of pitch & timbre, or the notion that tuning is timbre. What he did could not have been done without a concern for pitch.

As for Feldman. I just can't type much on that... i'll be here all week, But Feldman's music this was done with a very keen sensitivity to pitch. What you have there is a really overly simplified and problematic notion to me. What both these guys understood is that pitch & timbre intersect.

Here's another story: A dude was playing one of Feldman's graph pieces and it had a box with a 3 in it to indicate 3 tones. The pianist hit his three notes and Feldman grimaced..... The dude looked at Feldman like, "WTF? you said 3 pitches?" Feldman responded, "yeah, but not those three."
fearandpanic wrote: Feldman's use of instrumental textures (particularly large orchestral textures) never became as radical as Lachenmann's or Spahlinger's, who reduced instruments right down to their very core. If you take the coontinual questioning and redefinition of beauty to be one of the defining elements of much 20th century composition and improv, then I'd say Feldman was definitely more an old Romantic soul.
dood... listen to the Turfan Fragments, & Neither and report back yo. besides Lachenmann is about a totally different deal altogether... He's the continuation of Nono's late work.

In the early 70s Feldman was writing melodies, as he put it, "big melodies, like Puccini" but let's not get carried away. Surely F was half winking when he said that.

Ahahahaha...
“In a kind of middle-aged crisis, it dawned upon me that there was a possibility that music might not even be an art form.”

Morton Feldman


http://soundcloud.com/doug-holbrook

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Post by fearandpanic »

Dohol wrote: Yes, Scelsi overindulged in faux mysticism. So what? That's really got nothing to do with his music.
Except it's all over his music. I'm thinking of 60s pieces like Hurqualia and Knox-Om-Pax and its repetitions of "Om." He spent time with Tibetan monks, chanting and meditating, and those kind of vocal effects turn up all over the place (like in the Canti del Capricorno). Even limiting this to what's obviously audible, how could you say it has nothing to do with his music? These are ideas right at the heart of his music, and why his music is the way it is! It's like saying that Cage's ideas about chance and Zen have nothing to do with his music.

I have no problem with Messiaen, for instance, where what you say would be more accurate (the religious claptrap being more like an esoteric programme you can take or leave).

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Post by kp* »

jon abbey wrote:I'd figure it's kind of obvious, but Feldman's influence on the EAI world is primarily in his elongation of time and use of space in his late, massively long works, as well as more directly via Tilbury in AMM.
I can't prove it. But i think there is more to it that that.

Thinking back to improv as it was in the late 80s early 90s in new york and hearing what i hear now in what folks are calling EAI. I am hearing very different things and i feel, intuitively, that some of that has to do with the explosion in interest in Feldman and the change in atmosphere and attitude that he brought about, once his stuff started being recorded and heard more. I hear more regard for sound, more listening, more restraint, much more quietude, more silence, more stasis, more of the types of things you hear in Feldman. It is not all due to F and it would be easy to overstate it, but there is little doubt in my mind that some of this change in language, in atmostphere has a little to do with Feldman, directly and indirectly.

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Post by fearandpanic »

inharmonik wrote: Yeah, For Samuel Beckett, Turfan Fragments, Coptic Light, Routine Investigations, Untitled Composition for Cello and Piano, these are all practically muzak :roll:
I said in some people's imagination; not in mine. I also warned against reducing his music to a stereotype. But you can argue with one if you like.
As for Feldman. I just can't type much on that... i'll be here all week, But Feldman's music this was done with a very keen sensitivity to pitch.
I'm aware.
dood... listen to the Turfan Fragments, & Neither and report back yo.
Got those, dude. Neither obviously owes a lot to the atmosphere of Beckett, agreed. As I said, I'm not in the habit of turning a body of work as varied as Feldman's into a stereotype.
besides Lachenmann is about a totally different deal altogether... He's the continuation of Nono's late work.
Lachenmann was active as a composer from the 50s. How is he the "continuation" of late Nono exactly (something usually dated from the early 80s)?

The Feldman stories are good though, keep those coming.

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Post by Richard Pinnell »

fearandpanic wrote: it's all over his music. I'm thinking of 60s pieces like Hurqualia and Knox-Om-Pax and its repetitions of "Om." He spent time with Tibetan monks, chanting and meditating, and those kind of vocal effects turn up all over the place (like in the Canti del Capricorno). Even limiting this to what's obviously audible, how could you say it has nothing to do with his music? These are ideas right at the heart of his music, and why his music is the way it is! It's like saying that Cage's ideas about chance and Zen have nothing to do with his music.
Agreed here, the references are blatant to my ears, not that I have a great problem with them though, I think they probably had a positive effect on how his music actually sounded, though of course we will never know.

One ting that does bug me is that zen symbol he took to using as his signature. I'm sick of seeing it, just an excuse for labels to not have to worry about designing decent sleeve art if you ask me!

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Post by kp* »

fearandpanic wrote: I said in some people's imagination; not in mine. I also warned against reducing his music to a stereotype. But you can argue with one if you like.
sorry, i thought that was what you were saying, i jumped the gun since a LOT of folks seem to say that. That's waht links Vivaldi & Feldman (haha)... folks always say, they just wrote the same pieces over and over, and that is only true if you are not listening. Here are 2 pieces from the same year:

Palais de Mari
Coptic Light

Now those are 2 wildly different pieces.
Lachenmann was active as a composer from the 50s. How is he the "continuation" of late Nono exactly (something usually dated from the early 80s)?
What Lachenmann is doing now, with silence and such is right out of Nono's late pieces. When Nono's music changed in 1980... Lachenmann's followed. You can hear it. It is obvious to my ears and if you google you can see lots of article written about it.

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Post by kp* »

This is a semi famous one... i believe might have been published in an interview with Stockhausen, but i heard third hand that Feldman admitted that it was true and that it this actually happened.

Stockhausen attened a priemer of Feldman's in New York when he was here in 1967 i think it was. Anyway this was a big event and the piece was well recieved and the audience was clapping at the end of the piece and Stockhausen got up and waived to the audience as if he were the composer. They cheered more and again Stockhausen got up to steal Feldman's applause. Finally Feldman, clearly pissed off, told Stockhausen to sit down saying, "Karl, sit down, for chrissakes my mother is here!"

Feldman was always giving folks a hard time and of course, Stockhausen, in particular. Stockhausen finally got back at Feldman.

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Post by grisha »

jon abbey wrote:I'd figure it's kind of obvious, but Feldman's influence on the EAI world is primarily in his elongation of time and use of space in his late, massively long works, as well as more directly via Tilbury in AMM.
i especially agree with the time point here, not only elongation, if you read the book, you know what i mean, when he talks about music becoming time, or something like that, can't remember the exact words. made me think of EL005.

when he was talking about "between", i also couldn't help thinking thinking about Rowe's notes for the duo CD.

and his concerns with sound (instruments, etc) are all over EAI, incidentally or not.

i like like some Scelci, though never heard much, but his aesthetic isn't nearly as close to my heart as Feldman's, which is huge for me. i can't always agree with what he wrote, but many times i was just reading in awe, thinking "yes! exactly!".

i don't think late Nono, Spahlinger and Lachenmann can be left out when talking about EAI, as far as use of extended techniques goes.
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Post by jon abbey »

inharmonik wrote: can't prove it. But i think there is more to it that that.

Thinking back to improv as it was in the late 80s early 90s in new york and hearing what i hear now in what folks are calling EAI. I am hearing very different things and i feel, intuitively, that some of that has to do with the explosion in interest in Feldman and the change in atmosphere and attitude that he brought about, once his stuff started being recorded and heard more. I hear more regard for sound, more listening, more restraint, much more quietude, more silence, more stasis, more of the types of things you hear in Feldman. It is not all due to F and it would be easy to overstate it, but there is little doubt in my mind that some of this change in language, in atmosphere has a little to do with Feldman, directly and indirectly.
yes, I agree with this completely, atmosphere is a lot of it, both directly and filtered through AMM. atmosphere is so crucial to EAI that I've considered throwing out the term 'atmospherics' as a genre name a few times, and this atmosphere has a major underpinning in Feldman's late work.

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