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Note on Feldman's "Trio for Flutes"

by Eberhard Blum

Morton Feldman's short, unpublished piece for three flutes is dated March 5, 1972. It lasts about four and a half minutes. The title, Trio for Flutes, was given to the work by Eberhard Blum; Feldman himself gave it no title. The piece received its first public performance in a concert in the Ballhaus Naunynstrasse, Berlin, on May 31, 1989. The performers on that occasion were Eberhard Blum, Christiane Hellman and Johanna Kassner. In his introductory remarks in the programme booklet for the premiere, Eberhard Blum wrote:

"In the autumn of 1988, in the middle of my preparations for the concert series 'Stationen der musikalischen Moderne', I remembered that when Morton Feldman lived in Berlin in 1972 he had written a composition for three flutes and dedicated it to the Hungarian, Sophie Kotanyi. This composition has never been premiered. The original manuscript remains the property of Sophie Kotanyi. Now she has agreed that, after all these years, the composition shall at last be given its first performance.

Morton Feldman has written a series of much larger chamber music works in which the flute plays a central role. These are: Why Patterns? (1978), Crippled Symmetry (1983), For Philip Guston (1984) and For Christian Wolff (1986). All these works gain more and more in importance, and very different composers (Nono, Ligeti, Walter Zimmermann) refer in their own work to Feldman's musical thinking.

With today's premiere, this Trio for Flutes complements Feldman's 'large format works' with a 'small drawing'."

Sophie Kotanyi was born in Budapest in 1953. Her parents belonged to a group of intellectuals, philosophers and fine artists in that city. After escaping from Hungary in 1957 she grew up in Brussels and since 1971 she has been living in Berlin. She met Feldman during his stay in Berlin in 1971/72 and he wrote Trio for Flutes for her as a dance piece. Subsequently, she graduated from the Deutsche Film- und Fernsehakademie (German Film and Television Academy) and has since become famous as a film writer and director.
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