With this world-premiere recording of this two-hour piece dating from 1985, all of Morton Feldman's post-1981 works are now available on disc for those with the time -- and budget -- available to appreciate them. To adopt an analogy from the world of painting the composer loved so much, each of these monumental works has its own particular color deriving from a kernel of harmonic material; in Violin and String Quartet this is the whole tone and its inversion, the minor seventh (particularly using pitches A and G). As a result, the harmonic language is accordingly less chromatic here than in other late Feldman works (though words such as "diatonic" and "chromatic" are not sufficiently precise as adjectives to describe harmonic procedures that are effectively both). Compared to the beautiful but somewhat frosty readings of Feldman's string pieces by the Ives Ensemble on hat[now]ART, violinist Christina Fong's discreet but wistful vibrato and occasional use of portamento imbue the music with a twinge of Romanticism that might not appeal to some purists, but serve both to differentiate her playing from the other two violinists in the Rangzen Quartet and to underline the all too often overlooked warmth and humanity of Feldman's work. The rich soundscapes of Violin and String Quartet are welcome proof that truly first-class readings of American experimental music need not be dry and ascetic to succeed magnificently.
AllMusic Review by Dan Warburton
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2