|John Tilbury, pianist, improviser and writer, has performed experimental music for over fifty years, for a long time in association with Cornelius Cardew. (His biography of Cardew, "Cornelius Cardew - A Life Unfinished," was published in 2008.) He is the foremost British exponent of Feldman's piano music.
Palais de Mari (1986) was Feldman's last piano piece. It was commissioned by Bunita Marcus and dedicated to the painter Francesco Clemente. The title refers to an ancient Mesopotamian palace at Mari (modern Tell Hariri) in Syria. Feldman had seen a photo of the ruins of the palace during a visit to the Louvre in Paris and found in the image a powerful metaphor for the music he wrote. Perhaps he saw in the complex arrangement of similar but varied architectural features partially buried and covered by sand an analogy to the subtly varying musical patterns that make up the piece, patterns themselves enveloped and transformed by an aura of sound created by continuously holding down the piano's sustaining pedal.
The recording below was made by Dr David Reid at a live concert in the Conway Hall, London, on 24th March 2006. It is made available here by kind permission of John Tilbury.