Morton Feldman

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In the collection American Elegies, performed by the Orchestra of St. Luke's, and conducted by composer John Adams, this piece was written in 1970 as an elegy to Feldman's adored Russian piano teacher (who reportedly tutored the Czar's children) with whom he had studied since age 12, and whom he always credited as a great influence on his sense of music: "The way she would put her finger down, in a Russian way of just the finger. The liveliness of just the finger. And produce a B-flat, and you wanted to faint." (Feldman). This composition is one of Feldman's first pieces in which he used continuous rhythm and some repetition. A repeated major-third figure in the flute, and a few times in the trumpet, suggests a cuckoo clock and is played throughout the piece -- a cuckoo clock that has gone cuckoo. Each time it is stated it is re-harmonized by the small orchestra. A chime further suggests a clock. This charming, attractively sentimental (without being syrupy) piece is atypical of Feldman's music, though it shares the quiet attitude, the peacefulness and the ensemble sound of many of his works. It is an easy introduction for the listener new to his music.