morton feldman's string quartet number ii

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worth buying? and, if so, taking sides: ives 4cd set vs flux 5cd or dvd set.

toby (tsg20), Saturday, 23 November 2002 23:08 (twenty years ago) link

I've only heard the Ives set and I loved it. It's an interesting piece - if you haven't heard it, it's much busier and at times actually aggressive, unlike calmer, more fluid pieces like For Philip Guston. I don't know if the Ives Ensemble recorded it in pieces, it definitely doesn't show much fatigue near the end - which would be an interesting component of the work. Also, it is the complete work: they argue that they're using Feldman's tempo markings, and that the accurate duration is just under five hours. (Kronos used to brag it could take over six hours - and then they would abridge it.)

I want to check out the Flux set - I didn't know it was out. By DVD, do you mean an audio-only DVD that contains the entire performance in one go? That would be suh-weet.

Also, if you haven't checked it out there's a Feldman discussion board out there full of Feldomaniacs who are probably debating the two works in excruciating detail right now:

Chris Dahlen (Chris Dahlen), Sunday, 24 November 2002 04:06 (twenty years ago) link

Don't know what I really have to offer to this discussion since I haven't heard either one, but:

Yes, the Flux DVD is continuous.

Is the Ives Qt. one on HAT? If so, all my friends say the Flux version is far better.

I heard Flux give a live performance of the piece a month or so ago. I wasn't there the whole time, but I was there from about the 3 hour mark to about 4.5 hours, and they still sounded spectacular-- balanced, steady, in tune. It's pretty hard to be any of those things after playing 2 hours straight, let alone four and a half.

charlie va (charlie va), Sunday, 24 November 2002 06:52 (twenty years ago) link

yes it is on hat. didn't know there was another recording of this.

toby- I have bought it on sale a month ago at tower but I just haven't had the time really (too much work and ILX really) but I will definetly listen when i go on holiday next week.

Julio Desouza (jdesouza), Sunday, 24 November 2002 11:26 (twenty years ago) link

i think i saw the flux set for $30 the other day (although i fear i imagined it), so maybe i'll go back in and get it...

toby (tsg20), Sunday, 24 November 2002 18:42 (twenty years ago) link

$38 at for the DVD.

Now, if the DVD played shitloads of pictures of oriental rugs, you would have yourself a good goddamn time.

Chris Dahlen (Chris Dahlen), Monday, 25 November 2002 02:42 (twenty years ago) link

thirteen years pass...

Performance in Boston on February 28th.
Unreasonably excited about this.

mr.raffles, Monday, 25 January 2016 06:09 (seven years ago) link

seven years pass...

MaresNest, Saturday, 4 February 2023 13:12 (one month ago) link

watching more of this than I'd care to admit...

Ending up seeing that performance I mentioned above. Like many Feldman pieces, it was really something else. More than the piece lengths, I think, it's the ever - and almost imperceptibly - shifting repetition that makes time bend. Always great to catch live.

mr.raffles, Sunday, 5 February 2023 04:20 (one month ago) link

one month passes...

I listened to the first hour or so of this (Flux Quartet) a few years ago. I found it really enchanting and resolved to come back to it when I had the time and inclination to get through the whole thing in one sitting. Seeing that video posted spurred me to finally do it over the weekend.

Totally mind-altering, exhausting experience, and certain passages are among the most beautiful music I've ever heard (especially the long series of chords on Pages 89-93). I won't be doing the whole thing again anytime soon, but I'll be revisiting those most compelling parts a whole lot.

This analysis from the University of Copenhagen is really helpful for wrapping one's head around the structure of the quartet:

J. Sam, Monday, 13 March 2023 19:08 (two weeks ago) link

I was in school with Flux's violist. He is and was such an amazing player.

I have the score for this quartet. An aspect of it that fascinates/infuriates me is that Morton, without fail, notated it using the most frustrating enharmonic choices. Every G-natural is notated as an F-doublesharp. Every C-natural is notated as a B-sharp. I puzzled over this decision for some time. Because it's for strings, are the players meant to tune these pitches differently, according to how the note is spelled? (My ultimate conclusion was a combination of a. the confusing spelling was an attempt to keep the players on their toes, like visual caffeine pills for the long drive; and b. Morton Feldman was kind of an asshole.)

lurching toward (flamboyant goon tie included), Monday, 13 March 2023 20:54 (two weeks ago) link

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