Feldman: For Philip Guston

Feldman: For Philip Guston
Elmar Schrammel / Julia Breuer / Matthias Engler
Wergo 6701 2 (4 CDs)

Contents:

    For Philip Guston (1984)
  1. Pages 1-23
  2. (fade out)
  1. (fade in)
  2. Pages 24-52
  3. (fade out)
  1. (fade in)
  2. Pages 53-76
  3. (fade out)
  1. (fade in)
  2. Pages 77-102

Performers: Julia Breuer (piccolo, flute, alto flute), Matthias Engler (glockenspiel, vibraphone, tubular bells, marimba), Elmar Schrammel (piano, celesta)

Playing time: 275' (271' without fades)

Recording dates: April & May 2007 (Karlsruhe); released: 2008

As with most late Feldman works, the track breaks do not mean anything. Here there are simply fade-in/fade-out tracks to provide some overlap when changing the CDs. (Note that these can be avoided on computer hard drives, meaning that as of this writing, one can buy the mp3 version of this recording for $4 at Amazon by buying the 4 individual tracks.)

Like Dorothy Stone et al. on For Christian Wolff, this ensemble comes to For Philip Guston after extensive experience with Feldman's music for similar ensembles, and it shows. This is the first they have recorded, but this trio was formed specifically to perform Feldman's music, and has apparently had extensive performance experience. This is a great example of a younger group of interpreters coming to this music as a historical document, and the precision of their playing is superb. There had been three previous recordings of For Philip Guston (which is kind of amazing for such a long piece), but this trio manages to put an updated stamp on the piece with their precision and attention to detail.

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Todd M. McComb