5. Februar 2024, Bergen: Vortrag “Memory-Seismogram in Morton Feldman’s Trio (1980)”

Monday 5. February, 14:30 – 17:30 in Prøvesalen

University of Bergen
Møllendalsveien 61
5009 Bergen


Walter Zimmermann:
“Memory-Seismogram in Morton Feldman’s Trio (1980)”

What is important to me about Morton Feldman? It is that he very consistently formulated what all the other music that was characteristic of the post-war period had left out. In essence, he redefined the concept of the subject. Intuition took the place of serial construction and, although his pieces were highly constructed, they were constructed on the spur of the moment. He opposed the suppression and control of sounds by allowing them to breathe, giving the sound its own breath, the duration it needs. This, ultimately, attacked the ritual of listening, replacing the teleological listening-stream with listening that frees the listener from being told something: the listener is released from the imposition of following a message, programmatic or domesticating.

Feldman invalidated that kind of listening with his sound carpets or sound screens, which replace the old listening with one that becomes active, exploring the sound, taking time to explore the various constellations and crystallizations, allowing the sounds to become themselves. So, simply, he became important to me as another magnet that enabled me to do my things independent of the German school, and I thank him for that. Besides collecting Morton Feldman’s Essays for publication (Beginner Press 1984), I organized performances of these new long pieces, including the world premiere of the piano trio (on April 15th, 1984), in long sessions on three consecutive days in my Beginner Studio in Cologne. A bar-by-bar memory-seismogram of the Trio for violin, cello and piano (1980) (published in Melos 4/1984 p. 33-75).

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