John Tilbury

Morton Feldman: All Piano

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AllMusic Review by

Since about 1980, pianist John Tilbury has been a member of what is arguably the finest improvising ensemble in the history of free music, AMM. One of the clearest elements he brings to AMM's music is a consistent reference in his playing to the work of Morton Feldman. Unbeknownst in all likelihood to many fans of that ensemble, Tilbury had been cultivating a reputation as the premier interpreter of Feldman's music and the results are magnificently borne out in this four-CD set. All Piano consists of all the music written for solo piano by this composer and the album is a major event in beauty, breadth, and execution. Disc one contains 21 short pieces written from 1950-1964, often showing Feldman's tangential relationship to the predominant movement of the time, serialism, while always limning a idiosyncratically Feldman-esque space, one of silences and extreme delicacy where quiet counts as much as sound, indeed is considered as viable as sound. The second disc has two longer, later works: Piano 77 and his last piece for solo piano, Palais de Mari, both performed exquisitely. But the final two discs, with one composition apiece, are what take this music into realms of beauty rarely encountered. Both Triadic Memories and For Bunita Marcus are works of astounding depth, expression, and intelligence, and Tilbury gives them readings that are unmatched. His touch is so in tune with Feldman's vision that it becomes difficult to imagine the pieces played by anyone else. The combined 156 minutes of the last two discs slip by in an apparent instant. London Hall is a small label and perhaps tough to locate, and All Piano is a limited edition (though no print amount is indicated), but anyone with a professed love for Feldman cannot afford not to own this set. A staggering achievement.

Track Listing - Disc 2

Title/Composer Performer Time
1
28:37
2
23:58

Track Listing - Disc 3

Title/Composer Performer Time
Triadic Memories, for piano
1
01:05:00
2
14:26

Track Listing - Disc 4

Title/Composer Performer Time
1
01:17:01
blue highlight denotes track pick