Sound and Silence – equally important in music – and American composer Morton Feldman (1926-87) exploited both.
Typically, in titular terms, For Bunita Marcus (1985) is dedicated to someone in his life, in this case a composition student at Buffalo University. Marcus admitted when she listened to Feldman’s music that “I’m drifting and I’m floating”, and Feldman’s minimal (but not minimalist) use of notes, and restrained dynamics, does have that effect, a fascinating simplicity that offers a sort of musical hypnotism, yet keeps the listener alert as to what might happen next as part of this slow-burn organic processional.
From the focussed and sensitive Ivan Ilić, his touch on the piano’s keyboard suitably weightless, Feldman’s continuous exploration of how much can be said with modest means, yet making for a significant whole, lasts sixty-eight minutes here (his publisher, Universal Edition, suggests seventy-five), gives us music that is always expressive and which haunts the air. Paraty Productions 135305.
Postscript: this recording was released in October 2015, I discovered, but my copy arrived unannounced only recently – honest! Thus it’s a sending as mysterious as the music itself, which I am now glad to know and will return to in search of its fathoms.