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Morton Feldman (1926 - 1987)
String Quartet (1979)
Josje Ter Haar, violin
Janneke Van Prooijen, violin
Ruben Sanderse, viola
Job Ter Haar, cello
Total Time 76.57
Format: CD, Album, DDD, 24Bit, 1st Edition, Gatefold cardboard sleeve, FOC (aufklappbar)
© HAT HUT Records Ltd.
Bestell-Nr./Catalog#: hat[now]ART 167
Komponist/Composer: Morton Feldman
Interpret/Artist: Ives Ensemble
Titel/Title: String Quartet
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The String Quartet of 1979 is full of variation, small to be sure, but in this sense transitional. The (in)famous second string quartet of 1983 represents the consolidation of Feldman's late "Turkish rug" period, marked by a reduction in variation to tiny changes on repeating patterns. This 1979 work has more in common with PATTERNS IN A CHROMATIC FIELD for cello and piano of 1981 (see my review) in its exploration of a wider range of possibilities, and more abrupt transitions, within the limited sonic terrain it occupies.
The first recording by the Group for Contemporary Music in 1993, (originally released on Koch in 1994), is "only" 78'35 long, and this second recording by the Ives Ensemble in 2005 is just ever-so-slightly faster at 76'57. There is a big difference in sound, though -- the Ives Ensemble is much sharper, indicating close miking of each instrument. The GCM by contrast sounds softer, air-brushed, perhaps recorded with one overhead microphone. At this point I would say the Ives Ensemble recording is definitive.
It took me some time to warm up to the late Feldman, but I came around. I love the 1970s still life works (see my review of the CPO set with Zender conducting), but I have embraced the string quartets, and the VIOLIN AND STRING QUARTET as well (see my review of the hatHUT recording). There is a recording of the second String Quartet by the Ives Ensemble on hatHUT that is "only" 5 hours long, on 4 discs instead of the 5 discs it takes to hold the 6-hour recording by the Flux Quartet for Mode, that has not appeared on this site. It is superb, and available via Cadence Magazine.
See my FELDMAN: A LISTENER'S GUIDE list for more recommendations and reviews of the music of one of the finest late 20th century composers.
(verified purchase from the Jazz Loft)