Feldman: String Quartet (1979)by The Group for Contemporary Music
Almost 80 minutes long and conceived in a single, uninterrupted movement, Morton Feldman's String Quartet (1979) may seem like an imposing chunk of music. But it's a mere trifle compared to the composer's notorious String Quartet II (1983), which lasts at least five hours (and surpasses six in the Flux Quartet's heroic recording). Suffice it to say that for newcomers to Feldman, and in particular to his so-called "long pieces," the 1979 quartet is a better place to start; after all, listeners need as much training in endurance as performers do. However, Feldman's experiments with time, memory, and attention offer more than a lesson in patience: They present something uniquely valuable to the music of the late 20th century, an era marked otherwise by attention deficits and a mania for speed. Slow in pace and frugal with material, Feldman's music is minimal but lacks the pulsating repetitions of Minimalism; it forces concentration on individual sounds and textures, an absorbing experience that sometimes expands 20 seconds into an eternity and collapses 20 minutes into a moment. Playing with mutes for the work's entire span, the performers of the Group for Contemporary Music make the String Quartet cohere almost magically through their own intense concentration. First released in the mid-1990s, this reissue is most welcome, as it exhales Feldman's rarefied air with the eloquence, integrity, and beauty it deserves.
- Release Date:
- Naxos American
- String Quartet
Performance CreditsGroup for Contemporary Music Primary Artist
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
See all customer reviews