Barbara Monk Feldman

(b. 1953)

mode 244

The Northern Shore


mode 244 Barbara MONK FELDMAN: The Northern Shore (Sabat/Clarke: Marc Sabat, violin, Stephen Clarke, piano, Dirk Rothbrust, percussion); In The Small Time Of A Desert Flower (Aki Takahashi, piano)

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The Northern Shore

Marc Sabat, violin
Stephen Clarke, piano
Dirk Rothbrust, percussion


Aki Takahashi, piano


Barbara Monk Feldman was born in Quebec, Canada. She received a Master in Music from McGill University, Montreal, and Ph.D in Music at State University of New York at Buffalo, where she studied with Morton Feldman, to whom she was married in 1987. This is the first monographic CD devoted to her music.

The works on this program are part of a series of compositions that take their inspiration from nature – in particular from aspects of nature that the composer experiences as resisting an alignment with her ideas about musical form. The composer writes:

At the Gaspé peninsula in Quebec where the St. Lawrence river widens into the sea, the opposite shore appears across the water as a mirage that is either enhanced or diminished by the intensity of the light on the water during the day. I kept the memory of this light in my mind during the composing of The Northern Shore … some aspect of the light and horizon might be intimated in the way differing registrations of the violin are sustained in relation to the percussion and piano.

I was interested in the reaction of the composer Lou Harrison to In the Small Time of a Desert Flower after we listened to the recording of the premiere of this work, performed by Aki Takahashi, for whom the piece was written. He was very enthusiastic and his first remark was, “The rhythm of the piece seems to come from the geography of a landscape — something I have never heard before!”

The interpreters are a stellar group of new music performers: pianist Aki Takahashi who has a long connection with both Monk Feldman’s and Morton Feldman’s music, the duo Sabat/Clarke, and percussionist Dirk Rothbrust of Ensemble musikFabrik.

Both works are first recordings.

Liner notes by Barbara Monk Feldman.


Barbara MONK FELDMAN profile
Morton FELDMAN profile
Stephen CLARKE profile
Dirk ROTHBRUST profile
Marc SABAT profile
Aki TAKAHASHI profile