On first sight, the Rothkos might seem to be solid colors. But they’ve been painted; they have texture, irregularities, varied hues. Hanging for thirty-five years has given some wave to the canvases, too. So there’s a lot to look at in these paintings.
From the Rothko Chapel web site:
The Rothko Chapel is alive with religious ceremonies of all faiths and diverse programs to engage audiences intellectually, artistically and spiritually. It is a place where the experience and understanding of all traditions and cultures are encouraged and made available....
William Winant and David Abel play on the recording. Alex Ross and Tim Rutherford-Johnson both blogged about the work earlier this year. Dan Warburton reviews a 1997 performance in Paris Transatlantic:
“Rothko Chapel” (1971), however, was breathtaking. I suppose this has to be Feldman’s most accessible piece, due probably to the inclusion near the end of a haunting melody on the solo viola which Feldman tells us he wrote when he was fifteen. This strange timeless melody arrives from nowhere, but somehow reflects on the work’s eerie floating chords. (Where did he get these amazing pitches from? What an ear!) Inevitably, the title leads us to think of death and matters spiritual--I wonder if we would react as intensely had he followed his usual practice of naming the piece after its instrumental forces: “