The Rambler :: blog

Friday, November 21, 2003

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And I love Rothko, y'know. The first time I visited Tate Modern, I was bowled over by the Rothko room there - obviously, I knew what Rothkos were supposed to look like, had the posters, even seen a few in Real Life, but these ones - they were a different shape. Not fuzzy rectangles floating over fields of colour, but fuzzy 'O's, like bits of toast with wholes cut out the middle, but red and the size of a car.

I could talk about Rothko for hours - as a painter he seems to come closest to everything I hold dear in art. I almost can't help coming back to him, somehow. Have you ever heard Feldman's Rothko Chapel? There's a specially built chapel in Texas (I think) full of Rothko paintings, and Feldman wrote this piece for it, for choir, percussion and viola. And it was the most amazing thing he ever did: by his own standards its pretty short (about 15 mins, in several bits), but sounds typically Feldman - drifty choir chords, percussion droplets, that sort of thing. Then at the very end, this beautiful viola melody comes, out of nowhere, and squeezes you until you weep. It's apparently a tune that Feldman wrote as a young boy, and for whatever reason he chose to put it in here. It's a shocking and extraordinary moment, and there's not much else like it.

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