Meditative sound magic from New York City: Together with colleagues and friends such as John Cage, Christian Wolff and Earle Brown, Morton Feldman formed a circle of pre-eminent individualists within the 20th-century American avant-garde movement. Commencing in New York, it established a current of international significance. Crucial for Feldman's artistic development was undoubtedly his meeting with John Cage (1912–92), with whom he was in close contact after 1950. They inspired each other to create music that parted from the compositional techniques conventional up to that time, which particularly applied to the definition of specific notes, pitches and note durations or regular rhythm. It was a commission from the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and its principal conductor Michael Tilson Thomas that led to the composition of String Quartet and Orchestra in 1973. Feldman’s final completed work, Coptic Light, was written in 1986; it uses an even larger-scale orchestra than that in String Quartet and Orchestra. In Feldman's emotive works there is always the impression that they are cautious attempts to achieve coherent musical results, without challenging the essential character of the instruments.
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