Pianist Aki Takahashi has long been recognized as one of the leading interpreters of the music of Morton Feldman. Here she plays a wide range of his compositions for solo piano, arranged chronologically, from the early "Illusions" to the last piece he wrote for piano, the beautiful "Palais de Mari." Feldman's aesthetic evolution is fascinating to watch unfold. While the earlier works show the influence of serialism as well as the more freewheeling approach of his teacher Stefan Wolpe, the core, meditative aspect of his character was always present. Works like "Piano Piece 1955," with its calm demeanor and deceptively loose structure, exist in a universe unique to Feldman, seemingly isolated from the contemporary world. By the time listeners reach "Palais de Mari," the detachment is almost complete. His microscopic examination of adjacent sound blocks and incredibly subtle rhythmic juxtapositions, owing enormously to his obsession with Turkish carpets, take on a deep and resonant life of their own, floating into the ether. Takahashi, to whom a major piece herein was dedicated, plays with great love and care, though perhaps with a touch of dryness not found in the renditions by John Tilbury on his All Piano release of Feldman's works. Though the Tilbury album is the ne plus ultra of solo piano Feldman, this recording is a fine introduction to that facet of this wonderful composer's work.
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AllMusic Review by Brian Olewnick