Morton Feldman wrote as he composed music, carefully placing one element after another, producing some of the avant-garde’s most lucid considerations of what it means to make music
Morton Feldman (1926-87) is among the most influential American composers of the 20th century, a man whose music is known for its extreme quiet and delicate beauty (while Feldman himself was famously large and loud). Karlheinz Stockhausen once asked the composer what his secret was: I don’t push the sounds around, Feldman replied. His writings resemble his music in their quiet steadiness, their oscillations between assertion and doubt. They are also funny and illuminating, not only about his own music but about the entire New York School of painters, poets and composers that coalesced in the 1950s, including Feldman’s friends Jackson Pollock, Philip Guston, Mark Rothko, Robert Rauschenberg, Frank O’Hara and John Cage. Give My Regards to Eighth Street is an authoritative collection of Feldman’s writings, culled from published articles, program notes, LP liners, lectures, interviews and unpublished writings. It is one of those rare books from which anyone can draw inspiration, no matter what the vocation or discipline.