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Feldman Edition Volume 12 - String Quartet No. 1
The FLUX Quartet follow their acclaimed, best-selling recording of Feldman’s monumental 6-hour String Quartet No. 2 with this release, thus completing their cycle of Feldman’s string quartets, the first ensemble to do so.
String Quartet No. 1 is one of Feldman’s earliest long-scale pieces. Unlike other recordings FLUX respects Feldman’s tempo and all of the repeats, making it the longest recording of the piece.
Each of these string quartets inhabits a distinctive world, attuned to the incredible detail of tiny complexities of sound. Feldman gives attention to things one might otherwise overlook: no sound is too ordinary, too small, or too plain – in fact the small, ordinary, plain sounds are given a certain radiance, a renewed and rich inner life. 'Structure's (1951) presents us with a fragile and extremely delicate texture, almost transparent at times, like a finely woven gauze, with slightly varied repetitions, like undulations, like breathing.
'The Three Pieces' (1954-1956) form a triptych of sound worlds that have a similarity of tone, colour and density.. 'String Quartet' (1979) is a work of far-reaching scope, even grandeur. It is long enough to get lost in, and yet it has many recurrences or near-recurrences that offer moments of familiarity within this strange and beautiful music.
2-CDs + bonus DVD packaged in deluxe slipcase. The DVD presents the music in 24-bit stereo and surround-sound options. The FLUX Quartet’s performance of String Quartet No.1 is almost 90 minutes long. While it must be split over two CDs, the DVD presents the performance uninterrupted (note: no video content).
“The FLUX Quartet's approach puts Feldman in the wider American tradition of open-ended form, pieces that travel with their material rather than resolve anything...[they] chisel and shape this compositional object into being in front of our ears.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2014
“These bizarre experiments in continuity and timbre, in dislocation and large-scale architecture, in insistently interrupted repetition, seem to prove themselves as they go along, passing beyond experimentation into sinewy argument. Yet one can’t help feeling the hypnotic, if alertifying, process is like good Buddhism.” Sunday Times, 14th September 2014
“The chamber works that Morton Feldman wrote in the last decade of his life are among the most beautiful and extraordinary composed in the second half of the 20th century...what is characteristic is the way that he creates a compelling musical world out of a frugal collection of elements...The Flux Quartet sustain this fragile web with tender care.” The Guardian, 3rd July 2014 ****
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Feldman Edition Volume 11 - Orchestra
Martha Cluver (soprano)
DSO Berlin, Brad Lubman
Despite the explosion of Feldman’s popularity and recordings of his works in recent years, his orchestral music has not received the attention it deserves. This new CD presents four first recordings plus the first recording of Intersection I with full orchestra — all performed in the studio, a coproduction between Deutschlandradio and Mode. A disc of amazing discoveries!
Intersection I is a pivotal early graphic score, presented here in a realisation by Samuel Clay Birmaher. Muscular and dynamic, it sounds like nothing else in Feldman’s oeuvre — the raw sound of an orchestra untamed.
Structures and On Time and the Instrumental Factor (1969) are sister works from a transitional period in Feldman’s music. Both pieces explore an atmosphere of suspended time, with the instruments acting like an orchestra of tolling bells.
Voice and Instruments puts the sibylline voice in a wordless dialogue with the orchestra. Emphasis here is on the beauty of a single sound, with each moment connected to the next by a spider’s thread.
Orchestra is a walk through the orchestral landscape. Patterns come and go of their own accord as the music moves into unexplored territories. An important bridge between Feldman's middle and late works.
The American conductor Brad Lubman was Assistant Conductor to Oliver Knussen at the Tanglewood Music Center from 1989-94, and has since emerged as an unusually versatile conductor of orchestras and ensembles all over the world. He has worked with a great variety of illustrious musical figures including Pierre Boulez, Luciano Berio, Steve Reich, Philip Glass, Michael Tilson Thomas, and John Zorn.
The Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin was founded in 1946 in the American sector of Berlin as the RIAS-Symphonie-Orchester. As its first principal conductor, from 1948, Ferenc Fricsay established the orchestra’s future course: commitment to contemporary and stylish interpretation of the traditional repertoire. Their expertise with contemporary music is evident in this committed and warm recording.
“This collection closes one of the few significant gaps remaining in Morton Feldman's discography. Though most of his output, especially the serenely expansive late chamber scores, is well represented on disc, his relatively few pieces for orchestra have been largely ignored up to now...in both Voice and Instruments and Orchestra, from 1972 and 1979 respectively, the musical ideas are presented as images in a delicate, fastidiously coloured frieze” The Guardian, 1st December 2011 ****
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John Cage & Morton Feldman
Cage works: Jeanne Kirstein (prepared piano, piano, and toy piano); Feldman works: David Tudor, Morton Feldman, Edwin Hymovitz, Russell Sherman (pianos), Matthew Raimondi & Joseph Rabushka (violins), Walter Trampler (viola) & Seymour Barab (cello)
This double-CD set combines two of the key titles of Columbia Records’s legendary “Music of Our Time” series curated by David Behrman. Jeanne Kirstein’s recording of Cage’s early keyboard works remains a touchstone of Cagean interpretation notwithstanding the passage of time.
Christian Wolff recalls, "I remember Cage saying that Jeanne Kirstein’s playing caught the spirit in which the pieces were written at the time he wrote them—a kind of simple excitement and enthusiasm (also, surely, out of the discovery of the preparing of the piano and the great new sounds)."
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