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For Philip Guston

5.0 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Audio CD, November 18, 1997
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Product Description

Here is the California EAR Unit's recording of the late Morton Feldman's monumental, 4 hour long For Philip Guston (1984). Included in this discount priced, 4 disc-set is an enhanced multimedia track, which includes Feldman's remarks as well as a photo montage of the composer. Morton Feldman stands as one of our century's darkest and quietest musical poets. His music seems a muffled yet spiritually inspired reaction to the speed, noise and horror of the events of the 20th century-much as in the work of the painter, Mark Rothko. For Philip Guston, a composition from Feldman's last years, is music that attempts to suspend time, but without the nervous "sequenced" energy that dominates so much of today's "process art." In for Philip Guston, the gigantism of Feldman's time-scale is offset by the extreme intimacy and seductiveness of the composer's expression. As Bridge Record's annotator, Alan Rich, puts it: "This is music of an outward immobility and inward irresistible propulsion, random yet purposeful-its construction, intricate and precise."

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For Philip Guston (1984) is quintessential--and very essential--Morton Feldman. His studies of pitch and notational austerities under John Cage produced one of the most unique voices in late 20th century American music. Feldman, who died in 1987, had also befriended a number of New York art world luminaries and the painter Philip Guston was one. For Philip Guston is technically a "chamber" work for piccolo, flute, piano, celesta, glockenspiel, vibraphone, marimba, and chimes--and lasts well over 4-1/2 hours. The work is a slow, deliberative, and ultimately meditative examination of just a handful of notes and limited pitches played with extreme slowness on usually one instrument at a time, with the flutes often balanced out by the piano or the celesta. This work demands a listener's patience, but yields immeasurable rewards, and the California EAR Unit does a tremendous job of restraint and acute inspection throughout. --Paul Cook
  • Sample this album Artist (Sample)
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Disc 2
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Disc 3
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Disc 4
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (November 18, 1997)
  • Number of Discs: 4
  • Label: Bridge
  • ASIN: B000003GK0
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #156,274 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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By A Customer on May 4, 2001
Format: Audio CD
There are other performances of For Philip Guston available (on Hat Hut and Dog w/a Bone), but this recording by the California EAR Unit seems to be the one most recommended. Honestly, I can go either way, sometimes preferring Blum, Vigeland, etc to the EAR Unit, and vice versa. Feldman's later works--his best in my opinion--are extremely long with minimal events (patterns and variations) often taking place over several hours. Hence they deal with memory, or the limitation thereof. I could describe this music as introspective, meditative, or glacial, but I'm reminded of someone else's description instead (perhaps it was Arto Lindsay's). That listening to Feldman was akin to holding up an object, like a crystal, to the light and examining it from several angles for an extended time. Other great Feldman "For..." performances that I recommend are "For John Cage" (Hat Hut) by Josje Ter Haar and John Snijders of the Ives Ensemble, and "For Bunita Marcus" (LondonHall) by the great John Tilbury.
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By A Customer on September 17, 1998
Format: Audio CD
Of all the pieces that Feldman wrote for Flute, Piano, and/or mallet percussion, this is the recording and performance to get. I prefer this ensemble to the ones on the Hat Art label, although some of them are good too.
The piece is magic. It is evocative of underwater images of slowly undulating objects, flowing movements at different speeds, yet very peaceful. Everything has natural movements, they just take their course.
This has been a piece I have never stopped returning to.
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By A Customer on January 2, 1999
Format: Audio CD
This recording offers the most honest and skilled approach to this piece that I have ever heard. This music really reflects Guston's visual aesthetic--in a way that only Feldman could understand.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
you have to love minimalist music to enjoy this. i am reminded of a radio interview on npr years ago about aki takahashi's rendering of his piano and string quartet. he said to get deep color in a fabric, you have to dip it many times into the vat, and that is what he attempts to do with his music. i had the good fortune of seeing this played live at the spolletto festival here in charleston some years ago. if you ever get a chance to hear this live, do it. until then, this is the next best thing
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