Morton Feldman / hr_Sinfonieorchester (Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra) / Sarah Leonard / Zoltán Peskó

Morton Feldman: Neither

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This unusual, highly emotional fifty-minute work, performed here by soprano Sarah Leonard and the Radio Sinfonie Orchester Frankfurt conducted by Zoltan Pesko, with text by Samuel Beckett, is an "opera" perhaps only in the New Narrative Opera sense--the delivering of messages or meaningful images through words and music without the standard plot forms, dramatic contrasts, even casts of characters of traditional European-based opera. The soprano voice is obsessed with punctuated single tones, or, by contrast, bizarre melisma. Repeated, slowly phase-shifted pulses of astonishing harmonic color and melodic pattern are the basic gesture throughout the work--far more eerie and foreboding, with an interior tension not normal for, which is to say expected of, Feldman--"from impenetrable self to impenetrable unself by way of neither ... as between two lit refuges whose doors once neared gently close, once away turned from gently part again." This piece is an intense evocation of existentialist awe, the infinitely extended discovery of the present moment, the awareness of the impossibility and irrelevance of final definition. Sarah Leonard delivers a powerful and richly modulated realization with a great range of emotional energy and remarkable technique.

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