- Audio CD (June 10 1999)
- SPARS Code: DDD
- Number of Discs: 1
- Label: Polygram Records
- ASIN: B00000JNPF
- Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #272,805 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
|1. Coptic Light: Coptic Light: Piano and Orchestra - M. FELDMAN|
|2. Coptic Light: Coptic Light: Cello and Orchestra - M. FELDMAN|
|3. Coptic Light - M. FELDMAN|
Piano and Orchestra is fast becoming my favorite Feldman piece. Written as part of a series of works for instruments and orchestra in the 70's, the work lives from moments to moment, consisting of soft discreet sounds separated by silences. Feldman's ear for instrumental sonority is unmatched. Ear sound is lush...dissonant and yet gorgeous, rather in the manner of Debussy or Messiaen. And the quiet dynamics increase the beauty of each sound. There is a sense of form, a series of chords played over and over by the pianist and echoed by the orchestral pianist create what is a recognizable "theme", is you can call such minimal material a theme. But the best way to listen to this music is to think of it as an object of sound, rather like a crystal with light coming through it. Static on the surface, but infinitely fascinating if you quiet down your own mind and just observe it.
Cello and Orchestra is from the same series, though written earlier. I am less enamoured of this one, though I like it. I'm not sure what leaves me colder in it. Perhaps the sustained nature of the cello makes this piece a little more conventional than Piano and Orchestra, a little more like a concerto. It is nevertheless a beautiful work.
The final work on the CD is Coptic Light. This is a stunning work from Feldman's late period, but with the virtue of being much shorter than most works from this time.Read more ›
Other reviewers have complained of a lack of eventfulness in the music, but there is more going on in the music than a casual listening is likely to reveal. A musician friend once described Debussy's "Jeux" (one of my three or four all-time favorite pieces of music) as the first example of 'moment music'. I thought of this when listening to "Coptic Light", though the Feldman work is far more momentary in the true sense than the Debussy. "Jeux" is held together by underlying motivic means; "Coptic Light" in contrast is like a set of variations in search of a theme. In fact, the repeated phrases do subtly evolve throughout the piece, so that by the end they barely resemble their point of departure. Really, how can anyone call this music dull - unless he has monolithic notions about what musical form and tempo should be?
As to the performances, I have no complaints, but then again I only know this performance so cannot make any comparisons.
"Coptic Light" is fairly interesting...but it grows tiresome upon repeated listenings. I could see where it would be intersting live. "Coptic Light" absolutely STOMPS the other two pieces, so that should tell you what I thought about them. While perhaps quasi-interesting live, on disc its like staring at asphalt...which is more boring than watching paint dry...because when paint drys...at least there is minimal action occurring. Don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan of "weird"...I like Takemitsu, Messaien, Schnittke, etc, but this is just like listening to white noise. Its not very dynamic...it kind of oozes. If that's what he was tyring to achieve, then he hit it spot on.
If this flips your switch, that's fine with me, but I could think of a thousand better ways to spend 70 minutes than listening to this CD.
The word Copt is derived from the Greek word Aigyptos, which was, in turn, derived from "Hikaptah", one of the names for Memphis, the first capital of Ancient Egypt. The modern use of the term "Coptic" describes Egyptian Christians, as well as the last stage of the ancient Egyptian language script. Also, it describes the distinctive art and architecture that developed as an early expression of the new faith.
The Coptic Church is based on the teachings of Saint Mark who brought Christianity to Egypt during the reign of the Roman emperor Nero in the first century, a dozen of years after the Lord's ascension. He was one of the four evangelists and the one who wrote the oldest canonical gospel. Christianity spread throughout Egypt within half a century of Saint Mark's arrival in Alexandria as is clear from the New Testament writings found in Bahnasa, in Middle Egypt, which date around the year 200 A.D.Read more ›