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Interpretation in the Late Works of Morton Feldman


The following document offers an intensive study of the interpretive challenges posed by the late music of Morton Feldman, focusing on Bass Clarinet and Percussion (1981) and For Philip Guston (1984). A single dynamic marking, coded rhythmic organization, and extreme duration create an interpretive dilemma unprecedented in Western classical music. Indeed, the relatively simple surface of this music quickly gives way to a staggering complexity. This study stages several interpretive explorations of this musical scenario; many interpretive perspectives are considered in order to construct a dynamic context, multiple approaches toward rhythmic organization are assessed for their musical implications, and in the face of unprecedented duration, the notion of interpretive control is reevaluated.

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