This recording of Feldman's First (numbered) String Quartet came out initially in 1994 on the Koch label. This was out of print for quite a few years until Naxos picked it up and rereleased it in late 2005. This is quite different to the Second String Quartet (although if you insert this inbetween discs of either recording of SQII, it would fall into place quite well). Whereas SQII is a series of many pages of shuffled and rearranged recurring ideas that are strung together, SQI is a long stream of consciousness, a slowly evolving landscape. There are some later pages though in SQI that certainly foreshadow many types of elements in SQII (the repeated motives at the 70' mark to the end come to mind). I have always been used to Feldman's music, to a point that the late long works, such as "For Philip Guston," started to grow wonderfully on me and seem endlessly brief. As with just about everything in Feldman's oeuvre, you don't simply listen to it to be entertained and satisfied; you commit to it, you live it, like being with a very good friend or watching a baseball game, where time is not of the greatest importance (it's too bad that Feldman never saw "Seinfeld," that show about nothing, and yet about everything). There is ebb, flow. There are surprises, some startling (take, for example, the first instance of a very loud eight note cluster twenty minutes in, which will occur three more times in the next fifteen minutes in different lengths, then disappear, never to be heard again after that), some reminiscent (like the fast pizzicato figures about 55' in, which reminds this writer of the first of Webern's Op.5 Five Movements for String Quartet), some items that come around at periodic intervals, other items come but once, never again to be encountered. And yet for all its length, I have listened to it many, many times in the last five years that it now seems to whiz past me like a Webern Bagatelle, that's how much I have become used to it. To listen to this piece is simply a matter of letting go (could there be something Zen in there?), letting things just happen, accepting, absorbing, breathing. In a way, simply be.