Steffen Schleiermacher has often fascinated his public with works by Morton Feldman. Along with Christian Giger, the solo cellist in the famous Gewandhaus Orchestra, he is now presenting Patterns in a Chromatic Field – an extensive composition showing us the minimalist master’s more entertaining side. Here highly virtuosic passages alternate with petrified soundscapes; now the instruments seem to melt, now their contrasting nature becomes the point of reference. While avoiding any sort of developmental idea, a tonal process of great suggestive power is produced over the course of some eighty minutes.
Morton Feldman composed Patterns in a Chromatic Field when he was dealing intensively (also theoretically) with the use of patterns. He discovered an artistic kinship with Anatolian carpet weavers, who endlessly often repeat a few ancient patterns and thus incorporate into their work coincidental deviations based on color nuances, differences in the quality of the wool, or imprecise memory. The fact that this sometimes is deliberately intended and other times occurs completely unintentionally contributes to the special appeal of this artistic craft. Productive Space In Feldman’s work the musical material is also not greatly varied. Unlike the case in many other compositions by him, however, the technical demands placed on the musicians are enormous. Chromatic figures within the narrowest space and in the highest register occur in the cello; there are gigantic chordal leaps in the piano, and then again things come to a complete standstill: over an endlessly held cello tone the piano dabs the most economical chords, or tones celebrated together are separated by long rests.
Even after a few minutes Christian Giger and Steffen Schleiermacher succeed in casting their spell on their listeners. All expectations of a musical program are thrown overboard in the interest of a contemplative venture. The result offers the public a unique listening experience occurring at a rather reduced volume – in what amounts to a purifying process.