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Durham University

Institute of Advanced Study

Past Events

Human Scale: Morton Feldman: Scale versus Form - Public Lecture

21st November 2016, 18:30 to 19:30, Department of Music, Durham University, John Snijders (Durham University)

Head of Music Performance at Durham University, John Snijders will give a lecture on the late works of American composer Morton Feldman (1926-1987) and his involvement with ‘scale’ as opposed to ‘form’ in musical composition. Feldman’s body of work shows a gradual shift from thinking in short, compact forms in the 1950’s and 60’s, to a slight increase to what he called ‘the twenty-minute piece’ in the 1970’s. Through thinking about memory and scale, in combination with an interest in Turkish and Anatolian rugs and the work of painters like Mark Rothko, new elements started to emerge. Concepts such as ‘crippled symmetry’, microtonal inflections, and patterns are coupled with increased length, culminating in the 5-hour String Quartet (II), written in 1983. The lecture investigates this shift in compositional thinking, and the transition from form to scale.

The talk will take place in the Lecture Room of the Music Department, on Palace Green. Admission is free.

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