Ivan Ilić interprets Morton Feldman’s piece ‘For Bunita Marcus’

Ilić offers an exquisitely poised and expressive rendering of For Bunita Marcus

COMPOSERS: Morton Feldman
LABELS: Paraty
ALBUM TITLE: Ivan Ilić plays Morton Feldman
WORKS: For Bunita Marcus
PERFORMER: Ivan Ilić (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: Paraty PTY 135.305

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The music of Morton Feldman is mesmerising, perplexing and notably difficult to write about: as the composer himself declared, ‘you cannot analyse why it works.’ Born in 1926, Feldman was a pioneer of the New York school of ‘indeterminate music’, creating hushed, unhurried scores of glacial pace and beauty that duly defy definition or dissection.

This single-work disc focuses on Feldman’s For Bunita Marcus (1985) for solo piano. Feldman of ten included dedications in his titles and Marcus was a PhD student of the composer’s who became a close friend before Feldman’s death in 1987. The work is just over an hour long, and is characteristically soft and sparse throughout, journeying across a series of ‘micro’ motifs that typically comprise just a handful of tones or pair of chords.

This is the third disc by pianist Ivan Ilić to include music by Feldman, following Palais de Mari on his album The Transcendalist, and a CD/DVD album in homage to Feldman by the Geneve University of Art and Design. Here Ilić offers an exquisitely poised and expressive rendering of For Bunita Marcus (this being at least its fifth recording). The recorded acoustic is intensely intimate, heightening the emotional impact of the piece (Feldman described the composition process as closely linked to his mother’s death). The disc also contains insightful notes by Ilić outlining the work’s 22 sections, yet the experience of listening to this spellbinding disc naturally transcends what any analysis can offer.

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Kate Wakeling