If you’re in the mood for his music, as I often am, nothing else will do.
Morton Feldman (1926-1987), Triadic Memories (1981); Louis Goldstein, piano
In the summer rain
—Yosa Buson (1716-1783; translated from Japanese by Robert Hass)
What would it be like to live in a world without sound?
John Cage (1912-1992), Sonatas and Interludes for Prepared Piano (1946-1948); Louis Goldstein, piano, live, Winston-Salem, N.C. (Reynolda House Museum of American Art), 1982
What I love about this performance is its directness. He doesn’t treat these pieces as arty exotica. He plays them as simply and naturally, as musically, as one might play Bach, or Mozart, or Chopin.
I remember loving sound before I ever took a music lesson. And so we make our lives by what we love.
A sound does not view itself as thought, as ought, as needing another sound for its elucidation, as etc.; it has not time for any consideration–it is occupied with the performance of its characteristics: before it has died away it must have made perfectly exact its frequency, its loudness, its length, its overtone structure, the precise morphology of these and of itself.
They say, “you mean it’s just sounds?” thinking that for something to just be a sound is to be useless, whereas I love sounds just as they are, and I have no need for them to be anything more than what they are. I don’t want them to be psychological. I don’t want a sound to pretend that it’s a bucket or that it’s president or that it’s in love with another sound. I just want it to be a sound.
If you listened each day for the rest of your life to a new piece of music, how much music, at the end of your life, would remain unheard?
Claude Debussy, Two Etudes (Nos. 1 & 5)/Pierre-Laurent Aimard, piano, live
Last night I heard, for the first time, one of the most beautiful recordings of piano music I’ve ever encountered—a new recording of Morton Feldman’s For Bunita Marcus by Louis Goldstein, which can be heard, in its entirety, in the second half of an archived program of Alternating Currents, a weekly radio show out of Milwaukee. This performance lasts about 70 minutes. Coming out of it, I felt different than I did going in: lighter, clearer, awash in shimmering overtones.