Wednesday, 12 September, 2007

Morton Feldman - Three Voices for Joan La Barbara (1989)

"Three Voices, composed for Joan La Barbara and completed in 1982, uses delicate repeating patterns of precise pitches and rhythms and is indicated to be sung very softly. It is a setting of fragments from the poem Wind, by Frank O'Hara (dedicated to Feldman). The composition is sung in vocalise until just before the midpoint of the piece when the text appears. It was first performed in March 1983 at the California Institute of the Arts at Valencia" (CD Notes)

"Here is one of the great contemporary masterpieces for voice. Three Voices was composed for Joan La Barbara, a singer and performer of avant-garde music in the tradition of Cathy Berberian or Jan DeGaetani. In live performance, the singer stands next to two loudspeakers that play two prerecorded tapes of her voice, to which she synchronizes herself. At the center of the work is a setting of the poem Wind by Frank O'Hara. The various vocal patterns on either side of the poem were inspired, as in all Feldman's late music, by the patterns on Oriental carpets, and you actually can hear the slow modification of shape and form as the music proceeds. It's a remarkable work, and La Barbara's performance is definitive". David Hurwitz

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bravo juju said...

An article by Joan La Barbara herself on the "Genesis and History of Three Voices" can be found here:

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