10 October 2008

Morton Feldman - Neither

Neither is a one act 'opera', for soprano and chamber orchestra, using a 'libretto' from Samuel Beckett. The words are indecipherable - they hang in the air and never resolve, complementing the music which shifts, flows and ebbs. According to Feldman, every line of Neither "is really the same thought said in another way. And yet the continuity acts as if something else is happening." It's interesting to compare this to Boulez's idea of the text which is constantly changing and which never ends the same way.

to and fro in shadow from inner to outer shadow
from impenetrable self to impenetrable unself by way of neither
as between two lit refuges whose doors once neared gently close, once away turned from gently part again
beckoned back and forth and turned away
heedless of the way, intent on the one gleam or the other
unheard footfalls only sound
till at last halt for good, absent for good from self and other
then no sound
then gently light unfading on that unheeded neither
unspeakable home

Eirian Davies (soprano)
SWR Sinfonieorchester Baden-Baden und Freiburg
Conductor - Kwamé Ryan
Salzburg Festival, 1997


Tantris said...

FLAC ( it's some kinda geek/macho phallocraptic kinda thing);


Anonymous said...

Thank you, T! A striking, mysterious piece. Do you know if Beckett and Feldman personally collaborated with each other in giving birth to this music?

Tantris said...

Hi glmlr;

This link gives some good background and insight into the music;


Cheers, T

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the link, T. Fascinating background! Somehow I sensed at first listening that there was some degree of co-operation between the two, however frail. The piece somehow contains the essence of both men.

Adam said...

There's another(?) version of Kwamé Ryan conducting Neither (on Col Legno, performed by the Bavarian RSO). Before I download the hefty flac file: Can you confirm your version is different from the Col Legno? Anyway, thanks for sharing this masterpiece. One of his most tranquile/serene and repetitite works, even by Feldman standards.

Tantris said...

Adam - it is a different version, with a different soprano and orchestra.

Adam said...

Thanks, Tantris. I'm really looking forward to comparing both Kwamé Ryan versions. The SWR and the Bavarian RSOs are virtually neighbours (with just a mere 150 km or so between their centres), and it's a rare chance to have the same piece interpreted by the same conductor.

Awaxhome.ws offers a few other lossless Feldman lps just in case you're interested (including the lenghty String quartet DVD if I remember correctly).