|or Philip Guston (1984) is quintessential--and very essential--Morton Feldman. His studies of pitch and notational austerities under John Cage produced one of the most unique voices in late 20th century American music. Feldman, who died in 1987, had also befriended a number of New York art world luminaries and the painter Philip Guston was one. For Philip Guston is technically a "chamber" work for piccolo, flute, piano, celesta, glockenspiel, vibraphone, marimba, and chimes--and lasts well over 4-1/2 hours. The work is a slow, deliberative, and ultimately meditative examination of just a handful of notes and limited pitches played with extreme slowness on usually one instrument at a time, with the flutes often balanced out by the piano or the celesta. This work demands a listener's patience, but yields immeasurable rewards, and the California EAR Unit does a tremendous job of restraint and acute inspection throughout. --Paul Cook
Here is the California EAR Unit's recording of the late Morton Feldman's monumental, 4 hour long For Philip Guston (1984). Included in this discount priced, 4 disc-set is an enhanced multimedia track, which includes Feldman's remarks as well as a photo montage of the composer. Morton Feldman stands as one of our century's darkest and quietest musical poets. His music seems a muffled yet spiritually inspired reaction to the speed, noise and horror of the events of the 20th century-much as in the work of the painter, Mark Rothko. For Philip Guston, a composition from Feldman's last years, is music that attempts to suspend time, but without the nervous "sequenced" energy that dominates so much of today's "process art." In for Philip Guston, the gigantism of Feldman's time-scale is offset by the extreme intimacy and seductiveness of the composer's expression. As Bridge Record's annotator, Alan Rich, puts it: "This is music of an outward immobility and inward irresistible propulsion, random yet purposeful-its construction, intricate and precise."