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Violin & String Quartet/Christina Fong Rangzen Qua Import

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (Nov. 30 2005)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Import
  • Label: CD Baby
  • ASIN: B00005UV4G
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
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Disc: 1
1. Violin and String Quartet (part 1) [58:56]
Disc: 2
1. Violin and String Quartet (part 2) [58:32]

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0xa40c9168) out of 5 stars 11 reviews
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa38ac228) out of 5 stars A Watercolor of a Piece Jan. 10 2003
By Christopher Forbes - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Visual images sring into the mind readily when listening to the music of Morton Feldman, more so than many other contermporary composers. Each work seems related to it's own artistic medium. This work, which would seem on the face of it to share some of the sound world of Feldman's String Quartets, is in reality a much different piece of work, and a transcendently lovely one at that.
While many of Feldman's late works have an mobile like quality, or a crystalline presence, this work is more of a watercolor. The means of the work are quite simple - like Piano and String Quartet, the quartet plays shimmering clusters of tone, which almost imperceptably shift shape as you listen, while the solo violin plays contrasting material made up of mostly small note cells, some only two or three notes long, some just a sustained harmonic. The result is transparent, akin to the black and white paint and drip images of Robert Motherwell or the calligraphic simplicity of Zen ink painting. It can be a difficult world to enter for the uninitiated. Very little seems to happen in this piece, and it lasts for almost two hours, (rather short actually in the time scale of Feldman's late work). But underneath the surface symmetry is a host of subtle details that make for mesmerizing listening for those who can submerge themselves in Feldman's unique environment.
Christina Fong and the Rangzen Quartet play this music beautifully, up there with the Kronos, Ives and Flux Quartets. Late Feldman is notoriously difficult, even though the sound is pristine and serene. Feldman writes in all of the variations in rhythmic detail directly into the piece. This, plus the inordinate legnth makes any late Feldman piece an edurance test for the performer. And yet, on this disc, you are only aware of the calmness of the surface. This is quite an achievement in concert, and really amazing in the sterile environment of a modern recording studio. Kudos to all involved.
Perhaps my only complaint is the CD packaging. OrgreOgress is an important indepedent label, but as an independent it is working on a shoestring. I understand that. But the flimsey packaging leaves alot to be desired. Rather than using a jewel box or even a paper cover with a plastic insert, this CD comes with a paper cover and two CDs inside secured by only two attachments which are glued to the paper cover. I am quite afraid that either the CDs will suffer damage, or that I will loose one or both, since they don't seem really well secured. This is a fairly trivial point, and if you choose not to get this disc merely on the lack of profesional packaging, well then, you probably shouldn't be listening to Feldman at all. Stick to Britanny Spears! But it's worth mentioning anyway as a warning and perhaps a gentle hint to the OgreOgress people. Love your product, might love it better with a little better packaging.
That being said, I'll spring for jewel boxed to save these discs from harm. The music is so lovely, it's the least I can do. This is an important release from a company that is at the forfront of charting the music of the New York School. Thanks for this.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa38ac27c) out of 5 stars Morton Feldman Violin and String Quartet Feb. 21 2012
By Jeff Redmond - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Among the more than two dozen CD and Audio DVD achievements of OgreOgress, there have been the first recordings of music by Alan Hovaness, Arnold Schonberg, John Cage, and Robert Shechtman. There are also some truly mystical Tibetan Tantric chants and other such unique presentations.

The Morton Feldman 2001 first release of his Violin and String Quartet masterpiece is one of these. For those who enjoy specializing in the different and avant garde, the music for meditation genres, and the fantastic "weirdness" of eclecticism, this two CD work is definitely a must buy.

Feldman (1926 - 1987) was born in Brooklyn, and became a leader of so-called "indeterminate music" with the New York School of composers. His parents were Jewish immigrants from Kiev in the Ukraine, escaping the pogroms of Czarist Russia before the First World War.

Feldman didn't begin composing until the 1950s, but eventually found serious inspiration from the artwork of the abstract expressionists. Music combined with art became a permanent motif among these pioneers. With encouragement from John Cage and others, Feldman began to write pieces which had no relation to compositional systems of the past. These were such as the constraints of traditional harmony or the serial technique.

He experimented with non-standard systems of musical notation, often using grids in his scores. He'd specify how many notes should be played at a certain time, but not which ones. Feldman's experiments with the use of chance in his composition in turn inspired John Cage to write pieces like the Music of Changes, where the notes to be played are determined by consulting the I Ching.

In 1973, at the age of 47, Feldman became the Edgard Varèèse Professor (a title of his own devising) at the University at Buffalo. He married the Canadian composer Barbara Monk shortly before his death. He died from pancreatic cancer in 1987 at his home in Buffalo, New York, after fighting for his life for three months.

Feldman's individual talent is best explained from when he began to produce his longer works. These are often in one continuous movement, rarely shorter than half an hour in length, and even much longer. Philip Guston (1984) is around four hours and, most extreme, the String Quartet II (1983) is over six hours long without a break. Typically, these pieces maintain a very slow developmental pace (if not static), and tend to be made up of mostly very quiet sounds. Feldman himself once explained that quiet sounds had begun to be the only ones that interested him.

OgreOgress provides us with one of Feldman's choicest works with this Violin and String Quartet (1985). The hauntingly beautiful strings offer a full range of listening enjoyment. Minimalist solos, mood enhancing duets, and ultimately vibrant full quintet renditions occur from beginning to end. Both CDs are more than enough, and combined they provide a wonderful two hour total experience of mood enhancements.

Quiet meditation, background sensation, or just plain personal listening can all be found here. Slowly but surely this will take the listener on another Hearts of Space journey to inner and/or outer dimensions. The Rangzen Quartet has performed to just about the highest levels by any musical standards. This reviewer gives it all a five star rating. Order a set and enjoy the exceptional experience. You definitely won't be disappointed.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa38ac6b4) out of 5 stars One of Feldman's best July 1 2012
By Will - Published on
Format: Audio CD
One quote of Feldman's that sticks out: "Music should be listened to sitting in plush red seats." Maybe that's why when I listen to any of his late period pieces in my stereo and lay down, there's a feeling of sinking into the bed. 'Violin and String Quartet' is no different, exchanging the occasionally pointed sections of his String Quartets with beautiful undulation for the two hour duration. It pairs extraordinarily well with pillow top mattresses.

I've always found OgreOgress's sound to be warm, and this piece particularly benefits from their production in regards to the soloist Fong's part. The incessant high pitches that for me characterize and mar some of Feldman's late period pieces find their way into this score at times, but her sensitive and airy bowing softens those sections and I hear the piece in a new way. Her feel for the music is evident. The Hat Hut is the only other release of this that I own, and while I find Hat Hut's micing to be more intimate, I prefer the OgreOgress for the overall listening experience. It's as if a knowing observer opens a door for you into the music's world, but instead of opening their mouths to provide a framework, they merely look at you, inviting you to experience. The players impart the label's fervor for the music.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa38aca80) out of 5 stars A Hauntng Work June 9 2012
By Flapjack - Published on
Format: Audio CD
This is a haunting work. Like most of Feldman's late music, it seems to suspend time with is minimal tonal changes and repetition, while maintaining a dark, exotic beauty. For the new listener of Morton Feldman, I would recommend Morton Feldman: Crippled Symmetry. This would make a good second purchase for someone wanting to dive into one of his longer ambient soundscapes. It's only two hours long. And there is something in the motifs here that I find more engaging than in the more popular Piano and String Quartet.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa38acb64) out of 5 stars Wonderful recording of a beautiful work Feb. 28 2011
By chiavere - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is a great-sounding and well-performed recording of Feldman's work for "Violin and String Quartet." There is another performance of this piece available, but I prefer the one enclosed on this release, both for sound and performance. Highly recommended, and a beautiful piece -- otherworldly string timbres!