Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Morton Feldman Lost and Found

Very good news, it seems, about a notoriously lost piece. The following message was posted today by Chris Villars of the Why Patterns? mailing list (your source for all matters Feldmanian):
Steve Dickison of San Francisco State University, who co-
edits a magazine of music and poetry called "Shuffle Boil",
contacted me recently to say they were running a review of
"Morton Feldman Says" and asking whether I had any other
related material they could publish. I suggested that they
publish the text of the short talk, "Morton Feldman in My
Life", that I gave at Huddersfield Contemporary Music
Festival last November. In that talk, I speculated that a
tape of Feldman's lost electric guitar piece, "The
Possibility of a New Work for Electric Guitar", might still
exist in the archive of the radio station where Christian
Wolff said he once performed it. Quoting Wolff, I named that
radio station as "WKFA in San Francisco". Reading this,
Steve Dickison responded that there was no such station and
suggested that it would almost certainly have actually been
"KPFA in Berkeley". At Steve's suggestion I contacted
Charles Amirkhanian at Other Minds, who maintain the KPFA
archive. He immediately forwarded my message to Charles
Shere, a former Music Director who was at KPFA from 1964-67.
Amazingly, Charles Shere recalled seeing a tape in the
archive labelled with the title of Feldman's piece, which he
had thought was a piece by Christian Wolff. No-one had
realised the importance of this tape as probably the only
recording of a piece whose score was subsequently lost!
Later Charles Amirkhanian forwarded me this message from the
Other Minds cataloguer, Stephen Upjohn:
"We have a tape 'An Avant-Garde Concert, July 29, 1966' that
I recently cataloged that lists "The possibility of a new
work for electric guitar" by Morton Feldman and performed by
Christian Wolff as one of the musical selections. It has
been digitized."
Everyone involved is excited and amazed! Wonderful that a
record of this "lost" piece does still exist after all!
Not sure just yet when or how we will get to hear it, but
great to know it does exist!


rchrd said...

There is also a wonderful interview the Charles Shere did with Morton Feldman from July 1967 on the site:

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