MORTON FELDMAN – Rothko Chapel | Les Cris de Paris – Ensemble Intercontemporain (2017)

Morton Feldman wrote Rothko Chapel as a musical tribute to the famous “abstractionist” painter Mark Rothko (1903-1970), who committed suicide at the age of 66. It was conceived to be a permanent musical piece for the Rothko Chapel, a non-denominational chapel in Houston, Texas, founded by John and Dominique de Menil. The interior serves not only as a chapel, but also as a major work of modern art: on its walls are fourteen paintings by Mark Rothko in varying hues of black. The shape of the building—an octagon inscribed in a Greek cross—and the design of the chapel were largely influenced by the artist.

Feldman composed Rothko Chapel for soprano, alto, mixed choir and instruments for the meditation room of the Menil Foundation in Houston/Texas in 1971. The room contains 14 large paintings by the American artist Mark Rothko in red, black and purple tones, which vary according to the light and create an atmosphere of contemplation and tranquillity. “To a large degree, my choice of instruments (in terms of forces used, balance and timbre) was affected by the space of the chapel as well as the paintings. I wanted the music … to permeate the whole octagonalshaped room and not be heard from a certain distance” (Feldman).

Some critics say that Feldman’s indeterminate music is the sonic equivalent of Rothko’s paintings.

John Stulz, alto
Géraldine Dutronc, célesta
Samuel Favre, percussions
Adèle Carlier, soprano solo
Les Cris de Paris
Gregor A. Mayrhofer, direction

Enregistré en direct le 24.02.2017 à la Cité de la musique