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The Viola In My Life

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Product Details

  • Composer: Morton Feldman
  • Audio CD (May 20 2008)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: ECM - Universal Special Imports
  • ASIN: B0011DZN70
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #85,018 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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1. The Viola in My Life I
2. The Viola in My Life II
3. The Viola in My Life III
4. The Viola in My Life IV

Product Description

"The Viola in my Life" is one of innovative American composer Morton Feldman's most important works. Performed by Norway's versatile chamber group, the Cikada Ensemble and the Norwegian Radio Orchestra under the direction of Christian Eggen.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0xa5a69948) out of 5 stars 3 reviews
26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa5539714) out of 5 stars Feldman Fans - You'll Appreciate This April 23 2009
By Thomas Gleim - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I don't know about you, but I just can't seem to get enough of the music of Morton Feldman, no matter how many CDs of it I buy. I'll assume that if you're here reading this, then you're either already a Feldman admirer or, at the least, that you aren't afraid of the mid-twentieth century avant-garde in general or the "New York School" in particular. Let's discuss the music first, then the performance.

Feldman wrote _The Viola in my Life_ for violist Karen Phillips. It's in four parts, the first three written in 1970, and the fourth in 1971. Each part is scored differently, the first three for various chamber ensembles, the last for viola and orchestra. Each part could certainly stand on its own, yet the parts make an integrated whole despite the different make-up of the performing forces. _Viola_ marked a new direction for Feldman, turning away from the indeterminacy of earlier compositions to a predetermined sound world in which the composer exerted control over all the major elements of the music. The piece itself anticipates the feel of some of the later grand canvases (_Patterns in a Chromatic Field_, _Crippled Symmetries_, etc.), if lacking their scope and intricacy. It's exquisite, and if you appreciate the beauty of Feldman's writing, you certainly want the piece in your collection.

This new ECM disc, performed by (mostly) Norwegian musicians, offers a really first rate performance, completely in sync with the Feldman aesthetic. The real question for the prospective buyer is whether to get this recording or the recording the composer conducted with dedicatee Karen Phillips playing viola. That latter recording (which I haven't heard) would seem to have a superior pedigree. On the other hand, it was recorded in 1970, when the composer hadn't yet written the fourth part of the work, so it's incomplete. If you want an excellent reading of the complete work, this one is highly recommended.

The liner notes contain an essay by Paul Griffiths on the composition and its place in Feldman's oeuvre, in English and German.
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa5534c54) out of 5 stars A proper ECM production May 26 2009
By J. Roz - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Although I hadn't heard many of the several CD versions of "The Viola In My Life," I felt choosing the ECM release to be a no-brainer. I was not disappointed. The sound is gorgeous and the performance estimable. Like only a small handful of Feldman's middle-period works, TVIML has a sense of drama, even portentousness, which is well borne in this performance.
Having previously owned only the original LP on the CRI label, the fourth movement for Viola and Orchestra is entirely new to me, and an excellent addition to the work as I've known it.
While the entire CD clocks in at only about forty minutes, I feel it was a good programming choice to present The Viola In My Life as the only work on this release. "Filling out" the disc with other selections would only serve to weaken the impact of this important work, which deserves to stand on its own.
HASH(0xa4ff80b4) out of 5 stars For the viola lover in your life! May 15 2016
By Dan Adams - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This was purchased as a gift for a long-retired viola player for the Chicago Symphony. She loved it and listens often.