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Christian Wolff: For Morty (1987)
for vibraphone, glockenspiel and piano


The following note was written by Frank Denyer to accompany the CD recording of this piece by The Barton Workshop in a collection of works by Christian Wolff on the Mode Records label (Mode 69).

For Morty (1987) for vibraphone, glockenspiel and piano, written in memory of Morton Feldman who died in September '87, uses three instruments that have a particular significance in Feldman's work. Many composers who had personally known Feldman or had come under his artistic spell, felt his untimely death at the age of sixty-four as a personal loss. As one composer friend said: "for me something essential changed when Feldman died, the viability of the whole artistic quest somehow seemed more in doubt". An extraordinary number of composers around the world responded spontaneously by writing pieces dedicated to his memory. Never before have so many unsolicited works appeared in tribute to a fellow composer. At the head of these must surely stand this offering by his long-time friend and colleague, Christian Wolff. Its tender fragility reminds one of the unique sensibility of Feldman, while remaining music that only Wolff could have conceived. The quirky shape of its melodic strands, the way it seems to half remind us of something else yet remains oblique, and its overall air of serious unstagey homeliness, make it a very personal memorial.

Frank Denyer 1998

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