Morton Feldman / Erik Satie / John Cage - Rothko Chapel - ECM New Series 2378

Morton Feldman / Erik Satie / John Cage - Rothko Chapel - ECM New Series 2378
ECM New Series 2378Release: October 2015

Kim Kashkashian: viola; Sarah Rothenberg: piano, celeste; Steven Schick: percussion; Sonja Bruzauskas: mezzo-soprano; Lauren Snouffer: soprano

Houston Chamber Choir
Robert Simpson: conductor

Rothko Chapel addresses a network of musical relationships and inspirations. The album opens with Morton Feldman’s Rothko Chapel, named for the Houston, Texas multi-faith chapel built to house Mark Rothko’s site-specific paintings. Feldman considered that his music lay “between categories, between time and space, between painting and music”, and described the score as his “canvas”. Amongst his most important influences were abstract painters, his friend Rothko prominent amongst them. (Rothko, for his part, yearned to “raise painting to the level of music and poetry”.) Feldman was also liberated by the freewheeling example of John Cage’s work. “The main influence from Cage was a green light,'' Feldman said. ''It was permission, the freedom to do what I wanted.'' Cage, the most relentless of 20th century experimentalists, didn’t acknowledge what he called an “ABC model of ‘influence’” but always had a special fondness for Satie, a musical inventor of good-humoured originality with whom he could identify. Kim Kashkashian negotiates the subtle, glowing textures of Feldman’s planes of sound, joined by Sarah Rothenberg on celeste, and supported by percussion and choir. Rothenberg, on piano, plays Satie’s Gnossiennes and Cage’s Inner Landscape, and the Houston Chamber Choir sings Cage’s Four, Five and more.