For instance, in 1980 Austin Clarkson interviewed Morty about his teacher Stefan Wolpe, and asks him about Ernst Krenek:
MF: Well, you see, what Krenek didn’t do, what Stefan did was that he was a competitor. Krenek felt the fact that he had a success when he was young [Jonny Spielt Auf, I assume], and he was married to Schoenberg’s daughter [but see comments], that he was given a crown and he could go and fall asleep with his own ideas for the rest of his life. Wolpe was in the midst of a musical revolution in New York. He was in the midst of the rising young, fabulously talented people coming up in Europe, and he knew it. Krenek never knew it. There’s not an ounce in Krenek’s music, in things that I’ve heard of his late style… But nothing existed, nothing happened. It’s music where nothing happened. It’s the kind of music somebody might write some place in Adelaide, Australia. But Wolpe is caught up in world events, musical events, and things happened…
MF: To show you [Wolpe’s] identification with the avant-garde, he once balled me out, very strongly, for never playing him in our concerts in the early ’50s. The Cage concerts. He balled me out. He was sore. But he did identify with the younger people… which certainly most of his students didn’t. Ralph [Shapey] didn’t, none of his students around him. I don’t know what they identified with. They identified not with Wolpe so much, but the tradition which Wolpe came out of. [p. 107, itals and ellipses in the original]
And, asked about Wolpe’s early interest in Satie:
MF: …I’ll tell you what happened to Satie and the whole idea that independents couldn’t survive in Europe, just couldn’t survive the way they survive here. That some of our strongest people today are independents, where do you put them? Like George Crumb. He was a big influence, and yet he is an independent really. George Crumb couldn’t happen in Europe, essentially. With all the European cliques it couldn’t happen. And so Wolpe added to the whole category of very strong independent composers in America. I think that the best thing is to push him as an American rather than as a European. That way you’ll get a little more mileage, because if you’re going to push him as a European, they’re going to say, well, what is this in relation to… we have this over here, which is what they say. [pp. 107-8]
And how Feldman met Wolpe:
MF: I’ll tell you how I heard about Wolpe. I was just a kid out in Queens. I didn’t know anybody. A friend of mine – I’m not going to mention his name, because his name is known to some degree – thought very highly of himself and sent a score of his to [Dmitri] Mitropolous. Mitropolous saw essentially that he was still a student, even though the young man didn’t think he was still a student, and suggested that he work with Wolpe. I lost my friend, and I was very close to this friend, because he came back and he told me about a visit he had with Wolpe where they just didn’t get along at all, anything that Wolpe had to say. And I listened to this conversation very clinically, and I listened to the things that Wolpe said to my friend, and I gave it a little thought, and three days later I called up Wolpe and asked him if I could come see him. I mean, he sounded to me like a terrific teacher, and I lost a friendship of a young colleague at the time for betraying him. “How could you go to Wolpe after telling how Wolpe insulted me?” But he sounded like a good teacher to me. [laughs] And that was the smartest thing I ever did was to lose that friend and not have that sense of loyalty. [p. 109]
Fascinating and endearing stuff (apologies, though, to any composers in Adelaide). Anyone know who the friend was?