This is a marvelous release, equally perfect in conception, execution, and engineering. The program locates the intellectual origins of the American avant-garde composers Morton Feldman and John Cage not in postwar European developments, but in the music of Erik Satie, who with each decade seems a more pioneering figure. Feldman and Cage here seem not modernists, but postmodernists. Front and center at the beginning is Feldman's masterpiece Rothko Chapel (1967), a chamber-ensemble-and-chorus evocation of the Houston, Texas, chapel adorned with paintings by, and partly designed by, the Abstract Expressionist painter Mark Rothko.
…The Grand Canyon Suite by Grofe has that same cozy nostalgic feel further enhanced by some UNusual instrument placement and editing. A serious recording technician would probably laugh at the approach used by this orchestra and Living Stereo, but to me it's a silly but highly enjoyable masterpiece. The SACD Stereo sound is fantastic, and this is one of my SACD Top Picks!
…Thanks to the unprocessed and fully natural audio signal, all of the nuances of Schleiermacher's touch are captured, yet there is also a slight background sound that apparently comes from the performance space, not from any defect in the all-digital recording. Listeners may find that this is only a mild distraction and easy to get past once the music takes hold. This important series is recommended for all Feldman aficionados and anyone interested in the sublime expressions of his late period.
…If you're unfamiliar with Feldman's nuanced, nondevelopmental music, this may not be the easiest point of entry, but . . . well, there probably isn't an easy point of entry after all, so why not just dive in?