A two-disc CD set from OgreOgress.

Morton Feldman’s ‘Rothko Chapel’ is one of the classics of East Coast avant-garde music and is the work that turned me on to this composer in the first place. His quiet music is nonpareil.

This disc set — ‘Morton Feldman: Complete Violin|Viola and Piano Music’ — does not contain ‘Rothko Chapel,’ of course (since, despite the great viola melody at the end, the Rothko meditation is ‘Spacial Music’ and not chamber music), but it does showcase his second most famous work, ‘The Viola in My Life,’ a justly admired work.

The first disc starts off with an excellent early violin sonata. It is the odd piece out, here, but welcome nonetheless. It is in a vaguely neoclassical style, tuneful, many timbres . . . not just pizzicato. What we hear in this work reveals Feldman’s genius mainly as a promise of great works to come.

The brief, under-two-minute ‘Piece’ provides a good follow-up, coming next on the first disc, a sort of cleansing of the palate. It, and the several works to follow, show Feldman at his most characteristic; here is the Feldman we have come to know. Not at all tuneful in an ordinary way, but always listenable, thoughtful. I am not sure how Feldman manages to make this seemingly disjointed material cohere together. But he does. Perhaps it is the calmness: Feldman does not push his pointillistic chords and notes and ‘gestures’ (frankly, I forget what that is supposed to mean, technically, in avant-garde music, but it suggests something I think we all can point to) in an ‘in-your-face’ way. Feldman rarely if ever shouts. I find it hard to describe Morton Feldman’s music that might convince anyone to give it a try. It is just different from other composers’.

Perhaps what makes Feldman’s work so unique is that what he offers is not music as we usually understand it, but the Dream Time equivalent: peaceful echoes of music, as if an afterlife memory.

I enjoyed all the performances. This disc set gave me a few new Feldman ‘favorites’ — the second disc, especially, with two long works dedicated to two specific older contemporaries of Feldman, Aaron Copland and John Cage. I could take almost any single piece from his mature style and place it on infinite loop. I am listening to ‘Spring of Chosroes’ right now. I will be listening to it again. Soon. Any minute now.

Morton Feldman

N.B. Unlike John Cage, I do express interest in listing favorites. Feldman’s most arresting and accessible work remains, in my opinion, “Madame Press Died Last Week at Ninety,” which John Adams conducted for a CD entitled ‘American Elegies.’