top of page

David Felder

"David Felder and I decided to begin working together.

This fact was an important, life-changing outcome from my time at SUNY/ Buffalo."

- Elliot Caplan


Shamayim and Chashmal

A collaborative production between composer, David Felder and filmmaker, Elliot Caplan.  Shamayim begins with Felder’s writing of voice & electronics for singer Nicholas Isherwood. To begin, Caplan recorded a series of images based on conversations with the composer and together built the piece using Hebrew letters as structure for the music and the numeric value of Hebrew letters to inform the editing processes.

Composed for single screen.

Music/ David Felder     Images/Direction/ Elliot Caplan     Base voice / Nicholas Isherwood
Total Running Time 34:28

Shamayim DVD

Available for purchase from Albany Records.

Review from American Record Guide, May/June 2010, pp 226-227:

According to a fascinating but somewhat elliptical conversation between Felder and Caplan that takes the place of liner notes, this video-music work involved structural principles derived from Hebrew letters (which, according to Caplan, imply a sense of direction and movement as well as contain a numeric value). Indeed, "Shamayim" is Hebrew for "heavens", and the first two sections also carry Hebrew titles: the first, 'Chashmal', refers to the fiery radiance surrounding God on His chariot in Ezekiel's vision (Ezekiel 1:1-3); Felder himself translates the second, 'Sa'arah', as "stormy wind". In all three movements (the last is called 'Black Fire/White Fire'), the computer-generated sounds draw principally on Isherwood's wide-ranging vocal virtuosity, while the video presents many images from nature— trees, a lake, clouds—sometimes supplemented by other images (luminous hexagons are prominent) and other video processing. Sometimes I almost hear a text; the musicologist in me would like to know the text and translation, if any, but the notes supply none. I'm struck by Felder's remark that the work is "operatic" in size—that it loses quite a bit if one's not able to see it projected in a dark hall on a big screen. I can imagine the work making an even stronger impression in such a venue.

As it is, I find Shamayim a complex and (in the best sense of the word) awesome work. The music is abstract but not forbidding, and the images arresting and unforgettable. In particular, I'm glad to see Caplan's work. He's had a long career that includes collaborations with John Cage, Merce Cunningham, and the American composer Michael Gordon and hasn't gotten the attention that it deserves—most likely because the kind of theater that he's creating is so difficult to describe but so important to see.


Chashmal, single-channel video with composer David Felder, September 2006

Theatrical Stage Design by Elliot Caplan




with the Arditti Quartet:

 Irvine Arditti, violin

Ralf Ehlers, viola

Lucas Fels, cello

Ashot Sarkissjan, violin


Music/ David Felder  Images/ Elliot Caplan

TRT: 22:14


Les Quatre Temps Cardinaux

Les Quatre Temps Cardinaux

Performed at Lippes Concert Hall,

June in Buffalo Festival,

June 2015.

ensemble SIGNAL with members of the Slee Sinfionetta

Conductor, Brad Lubman

Soprano Soloist, Heather Buck

Bass-Baritone Soloist, Ethan Herschenfeld

Composer, David Felder

Post Production Direction and Editing, Picture Start Films

TRT: 55:10

Les Quatre Temps Cardinaux

bottom of page