MORTON FELDMAN (1926-1987): Orchestra, Elemental Procedures for Soprano, Chorus and Orchestra, Routine Investigations for 6 Instrumentalists.
Catalogue Number: 10S097
Reference: WER 7325 2
Description: These three orchestral works, on which Feldman worked simultaneously in a short span of time in 1976, form a trilogy in which the composer prepared for his work on his Samuel Beckett opera 'Neither'. All three works incorporate what Feldman called 'Beckett Material' - a long sequence of distinct sonic events in different tone colors; clusters, chords, individual pitches, which ironically did not make its way into the opera. Feldman and Beckett are a natural fit; just as nothing happens in 'Waiting for Godot', nothing happens here either, but the tension, expectation and the audience's concentration on every syllable are unrelieved. The dynamic level is almost invariably pianissimo, the textures abstract and rhythmically complex. Elemental Procedures is more richly layered, with that strange, floating, timeless beauty of texture that (almost incidentally) characterizes some of Feldman's most memorable works. The wordless choir and soprano soloist float over the orchestral phonemes of the Beckett Material; the 'procedures' to which the title refers are the transmutations performed on the basic material, including Feldman's characteristic polymetric presentation in which lines metrically diverge and move out of synchronization with each other. Halfway through the piece the level of activity suddenly increases, lending the soprano part a coloratura quality, and this leads to the work,s sung text, an explicatory stage direction from a silent film that Beckett made in 1965 (broken up such that its meaning is hard to follow). Routine Investigations finds the composer working out textures that determined the sound of extended passages of 'Neither'. The piece explores slowly pulsing 'breathing' dynamics in extremely spare instrumental textures. Claudia Barainsky (soprano), Cologne Radio Chorus and Symphony Orchestra; Peter Rundel.