Morton Feldman is a well-known pioneer of indeterminate music, a style of composing based around playing phrases and notes by chance, or in a random or order, for an unspecified amount of time, sometimes randomly. It’s a technique that often provides the conductor and performer with sandbox-like control over the direction of music that often results in confusingly dense performances. Morton Feldman is also known for writing excessively winded pieces, Triadic Memories, written in 1981, is one-hour-and-fifteen-minute-long piece. In one movement. According to notes written by the performer, Belgian pianist Jean-Luc Fafchamps, Triadic Memories is based around obtusely placed repeat marks, sometimes in the middle of phrases, which can very quickly turn into a time-signature-less mess.
The piece is oddly hypnotizing, and the repeats are noticeable as the piece stumbles and plods along, constantly stepping over itself again and again, rocking back and forth. In my mind I saw a man sitting at a type writer, slowly tapping the keys in a random sequence, letting the ink drip and stain the page. No margins. No words. The letters just randomly file in one after another until there is such a dense soup that suddenly it all feels very empty. There are holes in the masterpiece. But that is what Feldman’s memories is, holes and emptiness. It is an exercise in staring at the clock until it starts to awkwardly tick backwards into oblivion. There is no structure. It’s like the architecture of a desert, occasionally something worth taking a picture of, but worth the monotonous experience.