Morton Feldman


mode 119

Feldman Edition 7: Late Works with Clarinet



mode 119 Morton FELDMAN, Vol. 7: Late Works with Clarinet – Clarinet and String Quartet; Bass-Clarinet and Percussion; Three Clarinets, Cello and Piano – Carol Robinson (clarinets); Diatoma Quartet, Paris.

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Feldman Edition 7: Late Works with Clarinet
"Program notes in English, German and French linked to from resource. Carol Robinson, solo clarinet, bass clarinet ; Pierre Dutrieu, Olivier Voize, clarinets (1st work) ; Elena Andreyev, cello (1st work) ; Vincent Leterme, piano (1st work) ; Françoise Rivalland, Peppie Wiersma, percussion (2nd work) ; Quatuor Diotima (3rd work). Recorded in 2002.

Carol Robinson, solo clarinet & bass clarinet

Three Clarinets, Cello and Piano (1971)   (9:33)
Pierre Dutrieu, clarinet, Olivier Voize, clarinet, Elena Andreyev, cello, Vincent Leterme, piano

Download the MP3 sample (2.6MB)

Bass Clarinet and Percussion (1981)   (17:30)
Françoise Rivalland, percussion, Peppie Wiersma, percussion

Download the MP3 sample (2.5MB)

Clarinet and String Quartet (1983)   (42:20)
Quatuor Diotima: Eiichi Chijiiwa, violin, Nicolas Miribel, violin, Franck Chevalier, viola, Pierre Morlet, cello

Download the MP3 sample (2.7MB)

Renowned Parisian based clarinetist Carol Robinson is accompanied by leading European musicians in a magical disc of Feldman’s music.

These works are combined on one disc for the first time.

Clarinet and String Quartet. A meandering clarinet line blends into and colors the string quartet sound, generating a hybrid timbre, almost as if the clarinet were taking on the identity of a string harmonic. Without melody, the listener somehow reaches a momentary solemnity, and even, elation.

Three Clarinets, Cello and Piano.  Feldman thought of this piece as a still life, and indeed its calm is immediately striking to the listener. Shimmering clusters resonate, solo lines of utter simplicity emerge expressively. Noteworthy are the extreme dynamics, particularly the loud moments, highly unusual for Feldman.

Bass-Clarinet and Percussion. Music of a floating quality with rhythms that expand and contract against a steady but unheard pulse. A piece of extremes: brutally high for both timpani and bass clarinet, with large interval leaps and discretely modulating timbres, all within an exaggeratedly reduced dynamic. This is perhaps among Feldman’s most mysterious and otherworldly pieces.

The two-part liner notes consist of an essay by Ernstalbrecht Steibler, former director of Neue Musik at the Hessischer Rundfunk in Germany; and detailed notes on the works by Carol Robinson.

Language : English, French, German.


Morton Feldman
Late Works with Clarinet

Carol Robinson, clarinete; Françoise Rivalland y Peppie Wiersma, percusión. Cuarteto Diotima. Pierre Dutrieu, Oliver Voize, clarinete; Elena Andreyev, violonchelo; Elena Andreyev,  piano.
Mode 119

Carol Robinson
La atracción de Feldman por el clarinete se intensifica en el último tramo de suvida. No es el suyo el primer caso. Antes, les había pasado también a otros compositores: Mozart, Brahms, Reger… Las razones de esa predilección tal vez residan en el timbre otoñal y pastoso del instrumento, anunciador de una suavidad cálida y amorosa al mismo tiempo. Ya en el extático y excelente Three Clarinetes, Cello and Piano, de 1971, los tres clarinetes son los protagonistas de una naturaleza muerta instrumental de suavísima y entrañable factura, al borde del estatismo e impregnada de tonalidades rosadas. Bass Clarinet and Percussion, de 1981, sigue coordenadas parecidas, con sonoridades infiltradas por el silencio, que en la parte central alcanzan una contenida (aunque ilusoria) movilidad. Clarinet and String Quartet, de 1983, es una de las cumbres del último Feldman. Aquí el compositor se mide con una plantilla dotada de cierta tradición: el quinteto con clarinete. Más que evitados, los clásicos antecedentes de Mozart y Brahms parecen aquí transcendidos en los lentos movimientos repetidos en espiral, despojados de toda cáscara material y convertidos en puros retazos de dulzura. Enfrentado a las cosas últimas, el compositor americano propone a sus oyentes una música ni antigua ni moderna, sedosa e intemporal. La clarinetista Carol Robinson posee la delicadeza, la pulcritud y la paciencia que estas páginas requieren. Mágico y exigente.
— Stefano Russomanno

Morton Feldman
Late Works with Clarinet

Mode 119

One of the characteristics of Morton Feldman’s music is the way silences are thrown into stark relief.  Each silence – freighted with memory, charged with expectation – becomes a unique presence in the music more than merely an absence of it. Though his silences are measured in units of time, they also contain an intimation of infinity.  The music of the “classical” tradition slows down, speeds up, layers and otherwise manipulates time. Of the other arts, only cinema plays with our temporal perception to a greater degree. But we’ve come so accustomed to this happening that we hardly notice it. Feldman’s music, especially that of his later years, more nearly approximates the quotidian time of which we’re only fleetingly aware. If his music seems strange, it’s not because it employs the temporal distortions to which we’ve become accustomed but, on the contrary, because it doesn’t.

Feldman takes three slightly different approaches to time and silences in Late works with Clarinet. Either by luck or calculation, these roughly coincide with the major developments in his music. In Three Clarinets, Cello & Piano (1971), a piece that sums up the achievements of his early career, the sounds are freefloating and unpredictable, a series of seemingly random but beautifully configured musical events. Written a decade later, Bass Clarinet & Percussion has a chiming ritualistic quality; the music is episodic, slyly repetitious, simultaneously lulling and disruptive. By comparison, Clarinet & String Quartet (1983), although nakedly repetitious, employs the subtle thwarting of expectation that is so typical of the compositions of Feldman’s last five years. Here silence is woven through the sounds, creating a flexible, airy matrix. Clarinettist Carol Robinson, the Quatuor Diotima, and the other instrumentalists involved in this production have avoided one of the bugbears of recent Feldman performances: Mozartisation, where the sheer sonic beauty of a work is over-emphasized, and insufficient attention is paid to the other aspects. But throughout Late works with Clarinet things are just as they should be.
— Brian Marley, The Wire November 2003

Morton Feldman
Three Clarinets, Cello, and Piano.1 Bass Clarinet and Percussion.2 Clarient and String Quartet.3
Carol Robinson  (cl & bcl). Pierre Dutrieu and Olivier Voize (cl), Elena Andreyev (vc), Vincent Leterme (pn);1 Frnaçoise Rivalland and Peppie Wiersma (perc);2 Quatuor Doitoma [Eiichi Chijiiwa and Nicolas Miribel (vn), Franck Chevalier (va), Pierre Morlet (vc)].3
Mode 119 CD (67:23)

Morton Feldman
The Straits of Magellan
Two Pieces for Six Instruments. Projections. Durations.
The Turfan Ensemble (Philipp Vandré and Thaddeus Watson, dir.)
Mode 103 CD (62:17)

These two Mode releases present a beautifully balanced portrait of the arc of Morton Feldman’s career. By now recognized as one of the most important American composers of the second half of the century, Feldman occupies a position in relation to his mentor Cage somewhat analogous to that of Berg in relation to Schoenberg, i.e. a “disciple” who received a radical re-imagining of musical practice and adapted it to his own personal ideal of sonic beauty. Feldman found particular inspiration in visual art, both the abstract expressionists and color-field minimalists. Mark Rothko and Philip Guston were important friends and influences. While for decades typecast as the composer who wrote slow/spare/soft music, it’s becoming increasingly clear that his music has enormous range, albeit disguised by the subtlety of his craft. These discs help to expose that diversity.

The second disc in the headnote deals with early works. The Two Pieces date from 1956 (and are a first recording), and have a distinctly Webernesque feel. Projections is from 1950-51, and exists for five combinations (solo cello; flute, trumpet, violin, cello, and piano; two pianos; violin and piano; three flutes, three cellos, trumpet, and two pianos). These are among Feldman’s indeterminate works, which involve beautifully rendered graphs, indicating the range (high/middle/low) within which a composer may choose a note. (While spatial rather than metric, rhythm is still precisely indicated, as a function of duration.) The result is a perfectly “neutral” music—without any evidently intentional “expression”, like changing patterns of weather. And as such it has a “natural” beauty that is more closely akin to Nature than many works which seek consciously to evoke it.

The Durations are from 1960, and despite a surface similarity, are quite different. (And again, they fall into different configurations: alto flute, violin, cello, and piano; cello and piano; tuba, violin, and piano; violin, cello, and vibraphone; violin, cello, vibraphone, celesta/piano, and harp. One sees in the instrumentation Feldman’s taste for distinct, unlikely, and magical color combinations.) By this point Feldman had moved to precise notation of pitch, but had loosened up the rhythmic grid, so that the music was open to the performers’ rubato. And this music is more like the Feldman we have come to known, as his exquisite ear for the intersection of timbre with harmony comes into its own. If I compared the Projections to a natural phenomenon such as weather, the Durations are like a set of natural objects, such as a sprinkling of precious gems over a desert.

Finally, there are two shorter works for larger ensemble. Two Pieces for Six Instruments dates from 1956, is precisely notated throughout, and has a distinctly Webernesque feel. The Straits of Magellan, on the other hand, is another indeterminate piece, from 1961 for a mixed sextet, and at least in this rendition, has a skittery quality that suggests Feldman was not immune to the bebop and emergent free jazz percolating around him in the New York scene (an impression reinforced by the cover photo showing the composer at the piano, omnipresent cigarette dangling from his lips, topped with porkpie hat.)

The second disc takes up almost where the first left off. By the 1971 Three Clarinets, Cello, and Piano, Feldman had perfected his mature language, consisting of isolated blocks of sounds, floating in time’s amniotic fluid. This work is austere, and largely non-repetitive, even though it is highly static. A decade later in Bass Clarinet and Percussion (1981) and Clarinet and String Quartet (1983) the music has advanced a step further, in that now slowly repeating textures are allowed, and its scale is expanding. The work with clarinet is not on the level of the gargantuan Second String Quartet, but its more-than-forty-minutes duration certainly evokes an image of timelessness. And the work for bass clarinet is quite simply a masterpiece, suggesting a deep mystery in its dark rumbling sounds, its barely audible whispers from the clarinet, and its periodic delicate “tickings”. One thing that emerges from these pieces is that by this point (near the end; the composer died in 1987 at the too-early age of sixty-one), is that Feldman had become a master in his manipulation of motive, which ironically links him with the great German tradition through Schoenberg, Brahms, and Beethoven. The simplest ideas repeat and mutate effortlessly, hypnotizing and drawing the listener through a dream that is the music.

I don’t believe that the two quintets are among Feldman’s greatest music, but that doesn’t keep me from singing the praises of this extraordinary recording. Part of it is the sound itself—the full sensuous weight of the ensembles’ sonorities comes through with immediate presence throughout. The other factor is the breathtaking artistry of Carol Robinson. (Full disclosure—I knew her professionally early in her career in Paris, more than two decades ago, and had lost touch. I’m delighted to discover how her early promise has been justified).  Her control of dynamics and tone is stunning. And even more importantly, she seems to have an instinctive interpretive understanding of Feldman. This allows her to bring the core musical values of these works to the fore. In her hands, we can actually hear both why they are important, and just how difficult they are! (The latter fact being emphasized by how easy she makes them seem; in Robinson’s hands, the old virtuoso paradigm is renewed and transferred to this seemingly anti-virtuosic music.)

Taken as a pair, these two discs are definitely Want List material, and essential listening.
— Robert Carl, Fanfare, issue 27-2, Nov/Dec 03

Morton Feldman
Late Works with Clarinet

Mode 119

The seventh volume of Mode’s Feldman Edition features Paris-based clarinettist Carol Robinson in three sensitive and well-recorded readings of 1971’s “Three Clarinets, Cello and Piano”, 1981’s “Bass Clarinet and Percussion” and 1984’s “Clarinet and String Quartet”. This latter was previously available only on HatHut, but three other recordings of “Bass Clarinet and Percussion” are currently available. Indeed, there’s now so muchFeldman out and about on disc that would-be completists are either contemplating bankruptcy or faced with some difficult choices – for example, quite why Mode has chosen to release another version of “Three Clarinets, Cello and Piano” so soon after the Barton Workshop’s version of the piece on Feldman Vol.5 (Mode 107) is something of a mystery, especially since there are (amazingly) still quite a few Feldman works – admittedly not featuring clarinet, so they’d be excluded here – that have never been commercially available, notably “The Swallows of Salangan” (1960) “Rabbi Akiba” (1963) and several large orchestral works. That aside, the above-mentioned discographic proliferation raises two questions of critical import, namely which version of a given piece should one choose to buy and, more problematic, perhaps, which of Feldman’s works can be considered to be more important? Autrement dit, can we speak of “major” and “minor” Feldman works? There are no truly “bad” recordings of Feldman’s music that I know of (though one can admit preferences, especially in the case of the solo piano works, in terms of sound – microphone placing, pianists’ use of sustaining pedal, and so forth), so the answer to the first question inevitably comes down to matters of personal taste. Very few reviews I have encountered have actively championed one version of a Feldman work over others, choosing instead to avoid the question by descending into the usual stock descriptions of the Feldman sound universe. The second question concerns on the reception-history of each specific work – one imagines for example that “Rothko Chapel” will remain something of a cause célèbre in Feldman’s output, if only for its (atypical) closing section – and as Feldman’s compositions are discreet affairs rather than spectacular showpieces (as are many of Stockhausen’s works from the mid 1950s to the mid 1970s, for example), it may take some time for that elusive beast, the “canon”, to make its own value judgements – arbitrary at times though many of them seem in retrospect. Feldman anecdotes and quotations are hardly thin on the ground, but ultimately the music tells its own story better. One imagines that Mode’s Brian Brandt’s predilection for Complete Editions is a sign that he already has one eye out on the future, when recordings such as these will be indispensable elements of a comprehensive (as far as possible) archive of late 20th / early 21st century contemporary classical music.
— Dan Warburton,,
October 2003

Morton Feldman
Late Works with Clarinet

Three Clarinets, Cello and Piano.
Bass Clarinet and Percussion.
Clarinet and String Quartet.
Mode 119

TECHNIQUE: 7 à 8/10

Bien qu’elle repose pour une large part sur la répétition, la musìque de Feldman peur difficilement être qualifiée de répétitive ; de la même façon, si son matériau est souvent très restreint, elle correspond bien peu à l’ìdée minimaliste ; enfin, les procédés combinatoires ne lui sont pas étrangers, et néanmoins elle n’est tributaire d’aucun système. Ces apparentes contradictions se dissolvent sur une surface musicale étale, apparemment débarrassée de toute tension, où la dialectique formelle laisse place à une succession de moments don’t la cohérence d’ensemble ne fait aucun doute.

Le programme du septième volet de cette ” Feldman Edition ” permet d’appréhender une temporalité très originale, susceptible d’entraîner l’auditeur dans une écoute contemplative. On peut identifier dans Three Clarinets, Cello and Piano (1971) les processus qui se conjuguent pour dessiner trois sections (gradation entre les attaques douces et les attaques franches, émergence puis dissolution de deux segments chromatiques complémentaires) ainsi que les repères stables (récurrence d’une séquence harmonique, répétitions de motifs). Le déploiement de Bass Clarinet and Percussion (1981) repose quant à lui sur la distiction, peu identifiable cette fois, de deux plans rythmiques qui ne se rejoignent qu’épisodiquement, â l’instar de la clarinette basse qui, selon le registre, se fond par intermitence dans le halo harmonique des percussions.

C’est encore une construction tripartite qui sous-tend Clarinet and String Quartet (1983), mais curieusement, la répétition, présente à divers niveaux structurels, n’oblitère pas une perception fluide du temps. Un motif chromatique de quatre notes, au fil de ses permutations et extensions, alimente une trame – la métaphore textile prend ici tout son sens – largement hétérophonique. Le mérite principal des interpètes, exemptés de toute performance technique, est d’avoir su caler leur temps intérieur sur celui des æuvres, de nous permettre de nous installer dans l’apesanteur d’une durée abolie.
— Pierre Rigaudiere, Diapason, September 2003, No. 506

Morton Feldman
Late Works with Clarinet

Mode 119


Carol Robinson (clarinette, a-c),Pierre Dutrieu (clarinette, a), OlivierVoize (clarinette, a), Elena Andreyez(violoncelle, a), Vincent Leterne (piano, a), Françoise Rivalland (percussions, b), Peppie Wiersma (percussions, b), Quatuor Diotima (c)

1 CD Mode 119 ” Feldman Edition7 ” (distribué par Abeille Musique)

Texte de présentation (d’Ernstalbrecht Stiebler et Carol Robinson) en françaisEnregistré en 2001 – Minutage : 1 h 9′ DDD

D’une rare plasticité, l’ouvre deMorton Feldman plane “dansle silence comme si elle cherchait à le rendre audible, presque toujours doucement, pour ne pas recouvrir le son du silence” (EmstalbrechtStiebler), car c’est aux frontières del’indicible que se dessine cette écouteraréfiée. Ce commentaire s’appliqueparticulièrement à Trois clarinettes,violoncelle et piano de 1971. Quelquesclusters saillants, des crescendos quis’évanouissent : un temps suspenduposé sur une gamme infinie denuances. Dix ans plus tard, avec Clarinettebasse et percussion (1981), lesouffle de l’instrument s’enrouleautour de la cymbale pour une sonorité cotonneuse au rythme lâche. Piècemajeure des dernières années, Clarinetteet quatuor à cordes (1983),engage une conversation au ralenti oùmots et accords feutrés s’entremêlentau point que l’instrument à vent seconfond avec les cordes. Emmenés parla clarinettiste Carol Robinson, qui aparticipé à de nombreuses créations,notamment de Giacinto Scelsi, lesFrançais du Quatuor Diotima, le pianiste Vincent Leterme, les clarinettistesPierre Dutrieu et Olivier Voize, la violoncelliste Elena Andreyev, ainsi que les percussionnistesFrançoise Rivalland et Peppie Wiersma, trouvent les sonorités les plus délicates pour cette musique arachnéenne.
— Franck Mallet, LE MONDE DE LA MUSIQUE  N°279,
Septembre 2003

Morton Feldman
Late Works with Clarinet

Mode 119

FELDMAN had a unique line in Zen meditations, and these three works are  no exception to the transcendental rule. Three Clarinets, Cello and Piano (1971) – his titles tend to be mere itemisations of the forces required –  was written for Alan Hacker and his Matrix ensemble. It is brief, for  Feldman (10 minutes), and to the point: subtle intimations of what lies inside a note and why it might have a greater claim on us than silence. In Bass Clarinet and Percussion (1981), the parts float independently of each other, occasionally coinciding. Clarinet and String Quartet (1983) is an unbroken span of 42 minutes and first-rate mood music, though rather more than that.
— Paul Driver, The Sunday Times (London), 27 July 2003

Morton Feldman
Late Works with Clarinet
Three Clarinets, Cello and Piano; Bass Clarinet and Percussion; Clarinet and String Quartet

Mode 119

Towards the end of his life, Morton Feldman abandoned descriptive or poetic titles for his works, labeling them instead simply by their instrumentation and in the process underlining the wonderfully abstract intensity of the invention. On this beautifully nuanced disc, with limpid clarinet playing from Carol Robinson, Three Clarinets, Cello and Piano (1971) is the earliest piece, juxtaposing tight-packed clarinet lines with pizzicatos and suspended piano chords. The 1981 Bass Clarinet and Percussion suspends solitary melodic lines over steadily shifting patterns of drum pulses, all within a dynamic envelope that never rises above a whisper. Clarinet and String Quartet (1983) is a much more substantial work, over 40 minutes; the sound world is as sparing as the musical material, but the microscopic variations that Feldman imposes on both are compelling.
— Andrew Clements, The Guardian, July 25, 2003

Morton Feldman
Late Works with Clarinet

Mode 119

Oddly enough, Feldman’s clarinet works remain a still relatively unknown section of his oeuvre.  With the exception of the now deleted 1995 recording of ‘Clarinet and String Quartet’ (1983) and ‘Two Pieces for Clarinet and String Quartet’ (1961) on Hat Hut (ART CD 6166), this installment of Mode’s Feldman Edition is, I believe, the only disc to exclusively feature pieces written by Feldman for the instrument, and to be clear from the outset: it’s a cracker.  Featuring Carol Robinson on clarinet and bass clarinet, the disc is a worthy companion to her recordings of Giacinto Scelsi’s wind music on Mode 102 last year with Cathy Milliken and Clara Novakova.  Indeed, if that isn’t recommendation enough, the three works on Feldman Edition Seven – ‘Three Clarinets, Cello and Piano’ (1971), ‘Bass Clarinet and Percussion’ (1981) and ‘Clarinet and String Quartet’ (1983) – all specialise in that much loved Feldman illusion: each piece psychologically stretches its actual playing time beyond all recognition.  There is more than enough to hold your interest over repeated / extended plays here, and I assure you that after your first listen you’ll feel that far longer than seventy minutes have elapsed.  Paradoxically, the short spacing between the pieces helps maintain this temporal mirage: a seemingly minute point perhaps, but worthy of comment.  We’ve become accustomed to hearing extended breaks of programmed silence between Feldman pieces, and its refreshing to see a successful move in the opposite direction.  You might be rightly sceptical, but once heard, there is no doubting the success of the choice as the three pieces pass into one another.

The disc’s first piece ‘Three Clarinets, Cello and Piano’ featured on The Barton Workshop’s ‘Voices and Instruments’ CD (Mode 107): an earlier disc in the edition that unfortunately suffered somewhat from a rather dry recording.  Here, along with Pierre Dutrieu and Olivier Voize (clarinets), Elena Andreyev (cello) and Vincent Leterme (piano), Carol Robinson’s performance is more engaging and ultimately more satisfying.  Recorded in the manner we’ve come to expect of Mode, the listener can better grasp the dynamics of the piece here, and the interplay between instruments is sharp and defined as sounds cluster around one another.  For those not familiar with the work, it’s interesting to note that the piece shares its date with ‘Rothko Chapel’ and ‘I Met Heine on the Rue Fürstenberg’; both larger pieces of course, but if you enjoy these better known pieces, seek out ‘Three Clarinets, Cello and Piano’.  It’s an interesting exercise to play it between them, and hear the same techniques and ideas used in a reduced setting: the lines from solo instruments making their way out across the expanse whilst still managing to curl up around one another.  And although it’s a particularly ego-less piece, a special word should be given to Vincent Leterme for his performance.  He gives an impressive account of the piano part, recalling, I feel, Feldman’s own playing with a touch equal in decisiveness and sensitivity.

As ‘Three Clarinets, Cello and Piano’ dies away, the disc jumps forward ten years in five seconds of silence and ‘Bass Clarinet and Percussion’ (1981) begins with a meandering, high-end line from the bass clarinet backed by a percussive shimmer.  Even more than most Feldman pieces of the period, the sounds of ‘Bass Clarinet and Percussion’ are other-worldy – oceanic perhaps – and although I’m no expert in such things, it’s clear that the clarinet line demands virtuosity, juxtaposing notes from the top and bottom ends of the instrument’s register.  Peppie Wiersma’s percussion is more than equal to Robinson’s playing, however, and this fascinating seventeen-minute dialogue is, for this listener, the highlight of the disc.  Colours and textures abound with characteristic Feldman shading, and similarly, the rhythmic play seems typical.  Whilst the percussion remains steady in 3/4, the clarinet weaves around it, highlighting and repeating sounds with a drawn-out ethereal resonance that complicates and splices the rhythm.  Somewhat surprisingly given that this is late Feldman, I can imagine this piece would lend itself quite beautifully to choreography, and even more so than ‘Three Clarinets, Cello and Piano’, it stands as a wonderful example of how the ethos of Abstract Expression can be translated into sound.

The disc’s final piece is the longest and ‘Clarinet and String Quartet’ (1983) clocks in here at just over forty-two minutes.  Some things are relative, of course, and the piece is short when compared to the other ‘and String Quartet’ pieces: ‘Piano and String Quartet’ (1985) and ‘Violin and String Quartet’ (1985).  Certainly, ‘Clarinet and String Quartet’ looks forward to these later works, but it is a fascinating piece in its own right, and if you’re a fan of these then this disc is a compulsory purchase.  A working example of the composer’s dictate about the necessity of taking account of how an instrument actually sounds when writing for it, ‘Clarinet and String Quartet’ is remarkable for the manner in which the soloist foils the quartet and vice versa.  Indeed, one can easily hear something of a ‘crippled symmetry’ at the level of the sound itself: the similarities in tone being just enough to suggest difference and repetition.  It is as if the listener is party to a morphing of instruments.  Now in their seventh year, Quatour Diotima play beautifully with Robinson, and as is the case throughout, you can’t fault the quality of the production, which is, incidentally, also Robinson’s work.

The disc’s packaging continues Mode’s high standards and I continue to prefer their sleeve notes to the sometimes ‘too-arty’ accounts by Art Lange that accompany Hat Hut releases.  Indeed, although Robinson’s own comments are a little technical, she successfully opens the way for a better hearing of the three pieces.  To my mind, this disc is one of the highlights in Mode’s edition thus far, and that obviously makes the release simply essential.
— Alan Nicholson, Why Patterns? Website, 18 May 2003

R10Morton Feldman
Late Works with Clarinet
Three Clarinets, Cello And Piano.
Bass Clarinet and Percussion.
Clarinet and String Quartet.

Carol Robinson, Olivier Voize, Pierre Dutrieu (clarinette), Elena Andreyev (violoncelle), Françoise Rivalland, Peppie Wiersma (percussions), Vincent Leterme (piano), Quatuor Diotima.
Mode 119 (Abeille Musique). 2001-2002. 69′ Stéréo DDD

Son d’une profondeur magique. Le contexte de La Muse en Circuit d’Alfortville y  est pour beaucoup
(très bonne notice de l’interprète principale)

Un Feldman à la française, et enregistré en France, comme nous l’attendions ! La Suisse alémanique et l’Allemagne restaient jusqu’à présent la source principale, sinonunique, des concerts et des disques de l'” école de New York “. Et même dans la maison américaine Mode, qui accomplit un pieux devoir patriotique, les bandes proviennent souvent de stations de radio germaniques. C’est notre faute, c’est tout.

L’intérêt de ce regard français tient  à éprouver l’universalité de Feldman, dont nul ne doute certes, mais par l’oreille même, c’est-à-dire à la vivre. Que cet abord nous vienne avec un choix d’ouvres ayant trait à un instrument français, le petit clarin ou clarinette, ajoute à ce charme. Car il s’agit, avec Feldman plus qu’avec tout autre, d’un ” univers sonore “, mot de Schoenberg que cite Carol Robinson.

Oublions les grilles (patterns), les tapis, les clusters (grappes) ou autres glissements de timbres, d’intensités ou de rythmes qui reviennent à propos du titi new-yorkais… Nous voici envoûtés par Three Clarinets, Cello and Piano (1971), que Feldman présentait comme une ” nature morte “, par Bass Clarinet and Percussion (1981) où, sur un fond de percussion, ” La ligne de clarinette basse traverse des décompositions irrationnelles et d’incessants changements de mètre “. Clarinet and String Quartet (1983) ouvre longue et maîtresse, voit ses sections ” assemblées ” pour atteindre cet inouï : ” II n’y a pas de mélodie et pourtant nous arrivons de temps à autre à la solennité ou même l’allégresse. “

Cette joie tient à la merveilleuse tendresse des interprètes, la clarinettiste américaine mais bien (de) chez nous Carol Robinson, qui nous raconte un conte de fées, plusieurs solistes gracieux et ce Quatuor Diotima sensible et fragile dans sa précisions dont nous venons récemment d’apprécier la finesse dans l’interprétationdu subtil Quatuor “Strada non presa” de Stefano Gervasoni, dans la saison du festival Musica. C’est eux tous qui font la note bien française de ce disque, tendre, douce et orgueilleuse, qui apporte une nouvelle dimension à Feldman (il l’aurait aimée), en en attendant d’autres…
— Jean Vermeil, Répertoire, No. 170J


Morton Feldman on Mode:
Vol.1: Piano works played by Aki Takahashi. (mode 54)
Vol. 2: First Recordings: 1950s-with the Turfan Ensemble (mode 66)
Vol. 3:  Complete Works for Violin and Piano-Sabat/Clarke Duo
(mode 82/83, 2-CDs)
Vol. 4:  The Straits of Magellan – Indeterminate Music – with the
Turfan Ensemble (mode 103)
Vol. 5:  Voices and Instruments (mode 107)
Vol. 6:  String Quartet No. 2 (mode 112, 1-DVD or 5-CDs)
Vol. 8: Marilyn Nonken plays Triadic Memories (mode 136)
Vol. 9: Composing by Numbers (mode 146)

Carol Robinson on Mode:
Alain BANCQUART: Le Livre du Labyrinthe (mode 120/121, 2-CDs)
Luigi NONO: Voices of Protest (mode 87)
Giacinto SCELSI: Music For High Winds (mode 102)

Elena Andreyev profile
Pierre Dutrieu profile
Morton Feldman Profile/Discography
Vincent Leterme profile
The Quatuor Diotima profile
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Carol Robinson profile
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Late Works with Clarinet“: Interview with Carol Robinson
by Alan Nicholson.