IN: Reviews

the music of “it-ness”


an enveloping quiet … sighs … ellipses … wispy nano-events … silence … silence … a slow withdrawal of personality … it-ness … silence … silence interrupted … faintly … and then

Thus, for 75 fraught implicative minutes at the Longy School Sunday night, Morton Feldman’s “Piano, Violin, Viola, Cello” (1987).

Implicative of what? Of anything? Did it matter? If they knew, Collage New Music’s Christopher Oldfather, Catherine French, Miranda Cuckson, and Joel Moerschel gave nothing away, exhibiting a wonderfully glacial poise.

Where Feldman’s music seems virtually shadowless in the sense of having any Grand Tradition behind it, Webern’s—in this case his alchemical Four Little Pieces for Violin and Piano Op. 7, Three Little Pieces for Cello and Piano Op. 11, and the Variations for Piano Op. 27—let you hear the expressive phraseology and rhythmic stresses (however pared-down) that were manifestly of the Middle Europe of its time.

Heard in retrospect—backward-facing through the Feldman—what a riot of too-much-ness was hinted at, if largely through renunciation. But it was not the kind of renunciation that could be felt as loss.

Collage foursome exhibitt glacial poise. (Nicholas Anagnostis photo, mutilated by BMInt staff)
Collage foursome exhibit glacial poise. (Nicholas Anagnostis photo, mutilated by BMInt staff)
Richard Buell, a long-time critic for the Boston Globe, produces “The Air This Week”. He also conducts the music-centered blog, Ear Trumpet.


2 Comments [leave a civil comment (others will be removed) and please disclose relevant affiliations]

  1. What a coup! Fabulous, Lee, that you talked Richard Buell into contributing a review, as he confessed to me last night. Punchy imagery (silent jabs?) and blessedly short. And didn’t you have fun with that photo. Don’t let Buell get away.

    Comment by Bettina A. Norton — March 13, 2013 at 8:11 am

  2. I like “It-ness” — the whole idea that we are made able to hear the otherness in us, the un-self in which we bathe and from which we draw energy, desire.

    Comment by Ashley — March 18, 2013 at 8:52 am

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