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Timothy Broege: Elegy in Memory of Morton Feldman (1987)
for piano

I first began studying and playing Morton Feldman's piano music in the 1960's. From the piano music I moved on to the chamber music, especially the Durations series, and later to the larger ensemble works. It was love at first sight, at first hearing. A music only dreamed of had become both reality and inspiration for a young composer.

After Feldman's untimely death in 1987, I returned to the two piano pieces I first learned and performed: Last Pieces (1959) and Extensions 3 (1952). I played them over and over, slowly and somberly mostly, for several weeks. Out of this mourning process emerged my Elegy. The score was completed within several months of Morton Feldman's passing.

The Elegy should be played within the same performance practice parameters as most of Feldman's piano music, i.e., mostly very slow and very soft. I incorporated both literal and gestural quotations from the two Feldman piano pieces mentioned above as both tributes and talismans.

One of the most heartening trends in the concert music world is the increasing amount of performance and recording of the music of Morton Feldman. Back in the 1960's and 1970's it was sometimes rather lonely maintaining his greatness and importance, at least within the professional musical establishment. In the year 2000, however, the task is easier for all concerned.

Timothy Broege 31 March 2000

[Morton Feldman Page] [Feldman: Homages]