Thursday, October 29, 2015

In Which Morton Feldman Saves My Life Again

From a 1967 interview with Morton Feldman, just retweeted onto my timeline five minutes ago.

Jean-Yves Bosseur: What meaning do you give to musical time? 
Morton Feldman: (prolonged silence) I don’t understand it. 
JYB: Among the different musical parameters, is there one you favor? 
MF: Objection, your honor! If you use terms like that in front of Morton Feldman, that means you’d like to think about his music in a different context. So, if you like, this question doesn’t apply to me. 
JYB: Do you feel that your work is developing? 
MF: Ouch! Another one of those words, “develop,” that one can’t apply to me. I don’t think that I belong to a musical continuity. 
JYB: What about moment form? 
MF: It’s like a kid at play. First, he plays with lead soldiers, and then he gets sick of them. He goes and finds his doll; he tosses it aside. Then he goes back to his little train. That’s moment form. It’s the idea of the immediacy of what you’re hearing, without the obstruction of any kind of dialectic. But when you’re talking about moment form, you’re thinking of Stockhausen, right? (Feldman gives me a mischievous little look) I’m right, aren’t I? 
JYB: Yes. 
MF: So, Stockhausen makes a dialectic out of this state that others of us think is completely normal! You get it? 
(I must admit that I don’t really get it.) 
MF: It’s simple; we no longer have to make a system to live in the present.