Listening to Morton Feldman’s 2-hour piano diptych “Triad Memories”.
Actually, ‘listening’ may not be accurate. It is ebbing and flowing in and out of my awareness. It is a quiet slow piece, very minimal – in fact, even as it progresses only in the barest of moments is more than one key ever struck at the same time, and I suspect that technically, as written, they really are not; dissonance and chords project from the overlays of the natural sustains.
25 years ago I was a teller at his bank. He was in The University of Buffalo’s music department, and he must have lived in my bank branch’s neighborhood.
He was a big blousy late middle aged Jewish man; seeing him you knew he was some sort of intellectual. His suit and tie always a bit rumpled, his hair rumpled, big glasses. Not that personable, but in the absentminded lost in his own thoughts way. But amiable, and not cold, just a bit distant. Then again, we were just people he had to be in contact with once in a while, an annoying little chore.
We saw his secretary more often. I had the impression she was more a clerical assistant than a graduate student or aide. If she was indeed a musician, I apologize. A decent looking woman probably in her late 20s, she had the air of being harried. I could imagine she constantly had to interrupt his composing at the piano or his distant musings, to remind him that he had a class to teach in 10 minutes.
She was, basically, the nervous type. An applicable phrase might be ‘long suffering’.
One day, she was waiting in line. He comes in.
He steps up behind her, reaches down.
And gooses her.
She jumps and squeals, shocked – pivots.
He’s stepped back – he seemed twice as big as her – chuckling like a schoolboy with his deep voice.
“Who did you think it was?”
She just gave him a horrid look.