Patterns in a Chromatic Field
Mathis Mayr (cello), Antonis Anissegos (piano)
Wergo WER 7382 2 79:42 mins
Morton Feldman has proved one of the 20th century’s most influential composers. Yet he remains one of its most enigmatic, and his late works retain an aura of mystery steeped with the grandeur, anxiety and quietly changing colour he adored in abstract expressionist painting and, latterly, Anatolian rug design.
Patterns in a Chromatic Field (1981) is perhaps the most rhythmically active of these famously long, static pieces, which showed his increasing preoccupation with matters of form, scale and musical memory. Cellist Mathis Meyr and pianist Antonis Anissegos bring their improvisor’s sensibility and rigour to the score, etching its subtleties note by note into a tapestry of ever-evolving present.
Abstraction is key in the relationship of local moment to the whole – whether it be a single, soft harmonic or a chord sustained to the point of disappearance; a sudden pizzicato flurry or an obsessively repeated motif. No note or gesture has a meaning beyond itself, yet all are essential within the patterns which continually shift and change, grasped as if from the air to create, in Anissegos’ words, ‘a floating and breathing architecture’.
Overall it’s a captivating account, beautifully recorded with a dry immediacy that places the listener inside the sound.