Morton Feldman: For John Cage
Eric Carlson, Aleck Karis
Morton Feldman’s “For John Cage” is the second of seven large-scale works dedicated to artists, a series which includes Frank O’Hara, Bunita Marcus, Christian Wolff, Stefan Wolpe, Philip Guston, and Samuel Beckett. Feldman met John Cage in 1950, at a time when Feldman’s composition studies with Stefan Wolpe had reached a kind of dead end. Cage gave him encouragement, enthusiasm and permission to be himself. They remained friends until Feldman’s death in 1987. In its austere texture, “For John Cage” gives equal weight to the violin and piano parts. The fact that the two instruments often play similar material makes the contrast between the sustained sounds of the violin and the decaying sounds of the piano especially clear.