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Morton Feldman: Piano and String Quartet ()

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Morton Feldman's Piano and String Quartet (1985) was one of his final compositions, conceived on a vast time scale like his other late works and structured around the smallest changes of pitch groups, timbres, and gestures as a gradual evolution of simple ideas. This performance by pianist Vicki Ray and the Eclipse Quartet is timed at just over 79 minutes and is controlled and meticulous, so every pitch is heard clearly and in the same narrow, quiet dynamic range throughout without much variance. The point of the music is to concentrate the listener's mind in the moment, so the piano's widely spaced arpeggios and the string quartet's sustained tones eventually make one forget what came before and effectively deny anticipation of what is coming, producing an effect of stasis. The piano is a little louder than the strings, and their flat, vibrato-less tones usually follow the piano almost as an echo or extension of the pitches, though they also have their turn at playing slowly broken chords. The... Hide synopsis

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