|Markus Hinterhauser has been slowly recording Feldman's major works for piano, having already recorded the epic For Bunita Marcus and Triadic Memories. This disc contains three shorter works: one with orchestra and all (as are all Feldman's mature works) slow-moving and predominantly quiet in nature.
Piano and Orchestra (1975) is from a series of works for orchestra and solo instrument or instruments. It pits a solo piano against a large orchestra with piano but entirely eschews the conventional concerto rhetoric for slow-moving music based on small motifs which often never return after being explored once. The harmonies and melodies are beautiful but often austere, almost Webernian. There is one climax, but otherwise the work explores the 'flat surface' of Feldman's beloved Abstract Expressionist painter friends.
Piano (1977) is one of the earliest of the works in which Feldman started to use irregularly repeating patterns (inspired by Turkish rugs) as the musical material. This work is 30 minutes of slow, chromatic melody often repeating a few times, then moving on.
Palais de Mari (1986) is Feldman's last work for solo piano. It uses similar techniques to Piano, but has pared the musical material to the bone, just a few tiny motifs and chords. These repeat and alternate for the 27 minutes of the work in a hypnotic piece which comes very close to minimalism.
Markus Hinterhauser is an accomplished pianist in all of these works. I was particularly impressed by the performance here of Piano and Orchestra which, while somewhat unconventionally tense, brought a range of colours wider than I'd heard before in this piece. Piano and Palais de Mari are both taken quite fast compared to many recordings--though at a similar speed to Aki Takahashi on Mode--but I don't feel there is any lack of repose in these performances.
Personally, I've found Takahashi and Hinterhauser to both be excellent guides to the solo works, and I'm happy to have both recordings. Takakashi's couplings are early works, so, unless you're a completist, Hinterhauser's collection may prove slightly more attractive. If you want a slower recording of the solo works, try Ronnie Lynn Patterson on L'Empreinte Digital, who takes closer to 40 minutes for both pieces than the 30-or-so of Hinterhauser and Takahashi, but, naturally, has no coupling.