contains several small-ensemble pieces of Feldman
's, spanning the years 1950-1961. The compositional strategy employed here involved the use of a type of graphic notation wherein the pitch is only loosely indicated, generally by means of a box that encompassed several possible notes, while other aspects of play would be presented with more or less precision (number of notes in a sequence, attack and decay rates, amplitude, etc.). Feldman
was thus beginning to straddle the divide between composition and aleatoric music, providing a set of "rules" for the performers where the overall shape of a piece would retain a given character while the elements that made up that piece could vary widely. A work like "The Straits of Magellan" sounds both modern and even jazzy, with instrumentation that includes trumpet, contrabass, and amplified guitar, but also has a sense of ease that separates it from much of the dryer serial music of the same period. Indeed, one can discern here the roots of the wonderful "breathing" quality that would imbue itself into Feldman
's later work -- the unforced, natural rhythms and tones that are at once unexpected but, in retrospect, so right. The five "Durations" are particularly prescient pointers toward his large-scale compositions of the '70s and '80s, developing a foretaste of their enormous expansiveness, delicacy, and careful placement of sounds, something of the musical equivalent of a Japanese rock garden. All of the pieces are lovingly performed by the Turfan Ensemble, making Indeterminate Music
a valuable addition to the Feldman
disc catalog. Recommended.