Feldman, Morton. (1926 - 1987)

Autograph Letter

Exceedingly rare autograph letter from the influential American composer, a pioneer of indeterminate music, who works are characterized by notational innovations and a very particular sound: rhythms that seem to be free and floating; pitch shadings that seem softly unfocused; a generally quiet and slowly evolving music; recurring asymmetric patterns.

Autograph Letter to the noted music administrator and author Renee Levine [Packer].  1 page, ca. 315 x 149 mm. Dated January 14, [19]77. In blue ink on an air letter with integral address panel to verso. Slightly worn; creased at folds, with one short tear, not affecting text; very slight loss to blank upper right corner. Feldman tries to commission English composer Harrison Birtwistle (b. 1934) to write a piece for "Martha," and perhaps the mezzo-soprano Jan DeGaetani. He would like to invite "Tillbury[!]" – likely the English pianist John Tilbury (b. 1935) – to play John Cage's "masterpiece," Music of Changes. He aloso mentions French composer Iannis Xenakis, American pianist David T[udor], Irish playwright [Samuel] Beckett, and probably American painter [Cy] Twombly. 

"... alas Rome Opera insistent on a few summit meetings. It seems Twombly (smart lad) doesn't show up unless.... "Will Morty be there?" So, I'll be there. Now to get hold of the Fl. player... Didn't like her on the phone. Oi!! Can I smell trouble just from a 'Hello'. Also spoke to Tillbury. While I would like him to come, I was guarded and said you will write Allied [?] if we agreed that it was possible... I also told him I was interested in Cage's masterpiece (that only he and David T. only played – 4 books – 40 min) Music of Changes and not much else and also he had to play with the group. He is marvelous... I also spoke to Birtwistle... I also asked him to write a piece for Martha & Jan [DeGaetani?] (her lines are lyrical, dig?). No reaction when I said $750. I throw in Xenakis did it for that and it's very affective... "

"Influenced by abstract painting, [Feldman's] music often employs alternative notational and organizational systems that contribute to a compositional style centred on gestural, timbral and non-metric relationships." Steven Johnson in Grove Music Online.

"Born in France, raised in New York and Mexico City, Levine Packer worked with Lukas Foss and was co-director with Morton Feldman of the renowned contemporary music group in Buffalo, New York, and a director of the Contemporary Music Festival at the California Institute of the Arts. She was Director of the Inter-Arts program at the National Endowment for the Arts, the producer of Steve Reich and Beryl Korot's multimedia opera The Cave, and a dean at the Maryland Institute College of Art." Oxford University Press online.

Letters from Feldman are very rare on the market. (13754)

Autograph Letter
Classical Music