Morton Feldman

Piano and String Quartet [HatArt]

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Though "Piano and String Quartet" is one of the more accessible works of Morton Feldman's late period, especially its curiously moving closing section, a patient investigation of arpeggiated permutations of the piece's basic harmonic material, it's by no means devoid of formal intricacy (an excellent analytical essay of the composition by Frank Sani is available online). This reading of the 1985 masterpiece by the members of the Ives Ensemble makes for an interesting comparison with the more overtly emotional version recorded for Nonesuch by Aki Takahashi and the Kronos Quartet. Opting for a slightly faster tempo and a somewhat drier recording, made by Michael Peschko at Hessischer Rundfunk in Germany, the Ives Ensemble version comes across as more abstract and angular. The playing throughout is precise and especially sensitive to the dynamics as notated, giving this version a more "classical" feel than the Kronos' equally excellent but more "impressionistic" reading.