December 1st, 2012 | Published in Blog
John Tilbury would jokingly refer to our long-serving, slightly battered Dannemann baby grand as ‘that piano shaped box’ and it was in part due to his ongoing encouragement that we took delivery of an ex-rental Yamaha C3 grand piano at the beginning of September this year.
We were able to get a great deal from Markson’s Pianos to make this possible. Still, a piano like that doesn’t come cheap and we will need to pay it off over the next two years. To that end, John has kindly agreed to perform a very special programme of Morton Feldman’s early piano works in honour of the new instrument and to raise funds to put towards those repayments. 100% of all ticket sales tonight go to that.
British pianist John Tilbury is renowned for his remarkable touch and in constant demand as an interpreter of piano pieces by composers such as Morton Feldman and John Cage. During the 1960s, Tibury was closely associated with the composer Cornelius Cardew, whose music he has interpreted and recorded and a member of the Scratch Orchestra. He is also an incredible improvisor, most famously as a member of legendary British group AMM.
Tilbury discusses playing Feldman in his liner notes to the incomparably, indispensably excellent 4cd All Piano collection: “Almost all Feldman’s music is slow and soft. Only at first sight is this a limitation. I see it rather as a narrow door, to whose dimensions one has to adapt oneself (as in Alice in Wonderland) before one can pass through it into the state of being that is expressed in Feldman’s music. Only when one has become accustomed to the dimness of light can one begin to perceive the richness and variety of colour which is the material of the music. When one has passed through the narrow door and got accustomed to the dim light, one realises the range of his imagination and the significant differences that distinguish one piece from another.”
In the words of Cornelius Cardew: “Feldman sees the sounds as reverberating endlessly, never getting lost, changing their resonances as they die away, or rather do not die away, but recede from our ears, and soft because softness is compelling, because an insidious invasion of our senses is more effective than a frontal attack. Because our ears must strain to catch the music, they must become more sensitive before they perceive the world of sound in which Feldman’s music takes place.
The programme includes:
Two Intermissions (1950)
Extensions 3 (1952)
Intermission 3 & 4 (1952)
Vertical Thoughts 4 (1963)
Three Pieces for Piano (1954)
Piano Piece 1955
Piano Piece 1956a (to Cynthia)
Piano Piece 1956b
Intermission 5 (1952)
Intermission 6 (1953)
Piano (Three Hands) (1959)
Madame Press Died Last Week at Ninety (1971) – Arranged for piano solo by Frank Markel
Palais de Mari (1986)
Piano Piece (1952)
Photo: John Tilbury @ Fylkingen by Lars Jonsson