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ECM Releases Morton Feldman's Rothko Chapel

Oct. 02, 2015

ECM Releases Morton Feldman's <em>Rothko Chapel</em>

On October 23, ECM Records releases a new recording of Morton Feldman’s Rothko Chapel, featuring violist Kim Kashkashian, soprano Lauren Snouffer, mezzo-soprano Sonja Bruzauskas, percussionist Steven Schick, and Sarah Rothenberg on celeste alongside the Houston Chamber Choir, conducted by Robert Simpson. The recording, which also includes choral and piano works by John Cage and Erik Satie, has its official launch as part of a major retrospective of Mark Rothko’s works at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Prior to the recording, the ensemble gave a performance of the work at Rothko Chapel in February, presented by Da Camera Houston. 

Morton Feldman’s Rothko Chapel, for soprano, alto, mixed choir and instruments, was composed for the meditation room of the Menil Foundation in Houston, Texas (known as Rothko Chapel) 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 tranquility. Feldman wrote of the work:

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 octagonal-shaped room and not be heard from a certain distance.

Details on the recording can be found at and a video of Da Camera Houston’s performance can be seen at

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Morton Feldman
Rothko Chapel (1971)
for soprano, alto, mixed choir, percussion, celeste, and viola