Peter Quantrill
August 2017

The dedication is to a pianist, student and lover whom Morton Feldman came to know late in life, but For Bunita Marcus (1985) has other, unwritten subjects and subtexts: the composer’s mother, his grief at her passing, the solace he takes in unpicking and restitching the old Western fabric of counterpoint into one unbroken, 75-minute span as gently patterned yet intricately detailed as the Persian rugs he collected. As Marc-André Hamelin has remarked: ‘It’s astonishing that a work with so few notes on the surface can be so multi-layered.’

There have been other recordings, more patiently unfolded and with less dependent recourse to the sustain pedal, notably Sabine Liebner on Oehms. What Hamelin has in his favour is an unwavering focus on the dense wave of Feldman’s rhythmic grid, and a studio recording as softly tangible as fine silk. Do not, as they say, adjust your set. Rather, sit back and let the music adjust your head.