The Long Now
Morton Feldman - For Philip Guston
Sun. March 25, 2018
11:30 AM - 4:30 PM
Flutes (Petr Kotik); Percussion (Chris Nappi); Piano & Celeste (Joseph Kubera)
On March 25th, S.E.M. Ensemble will be performing Morton Feldman five-hour long masterpiece For Philip Guston at the MaerzMusik Festival in Berlin. This performance is part of "The Long Now," the festival 30-hour closing concert. For Philip Guston is more of an environment than a piece of music, one in which you can stay for the whole piece, leave and come back, or leave for good! "The Long Now" highlights music of extreme duration, and will be a perfect setting to experience this work. We hope you will come out to see this rare performance!
Petr Kotik on Morton Feldman:
I first met Morton Feldman in London in the Spring of 1966, when Cornelius Cardew took me to see his lecture. Feldman already knew about our performances in Prague and when I returned, we started to correspond about other possibilities. I arrived in the U.S. in November 1969, to take part in the Creative Associate program at Buffalo University. Soon after I arrived, the soprano Gwendolyn Sims - another Creative Associate - asked me to help her with a program for her recital. I suggested, among other pieces, four compositions for soprano and instruments by Feldman – Journey to the End of the Night, Vertical Thoughts III, Rabbi Akiba, and For Franz Klein. At the end of December 1969, Gwendolyn and I traveled to New York, and met with Feldman to discuss these pieces.
In 1971 Feldman arrived in Buffalo to teach composition at the university, a position he held for the rest of his life. I lived in Buffalo until 1983, and we saw each other very often, especially in the early years. He did not live far from my house and on occasions, he would come over for a visit. In 1973, he composed Instruments I for the S.E.M. Ensemble: flute (Kotik), oboe (Nora Post), trombone (Garret List), percussion (Jan Williams), and keyboard (Julius Eastman).
In 1987, I asked Feldman to write another piece for SEM. I did not know how ill he was. He never composed the piece, as he died in September of that year. In place of the new piece, I decided to perform For Philip Guston simply because it does not require a bass flute - I didn’t have one at the time. Performing For Philip Guston reconnected me with Feldman’s music, especially with his later compositions. SEM regularly performed For Philip Guston between 1988 and 2000.