Apartment House once more, here with their exceptional interpretation of Morton Feldman’s celebrated late work. 80 minutes of extraordinary beauty. Piano and String Quartet, one of Feldman’s final works, is a seemingly simple work and yet it isn’t. As Philip Guston, a great friend of Feldman, wrote ‘Frustration is one of the great things in art; satisfaction is nothing.’ The length of the work (nearly 80 minutes) and the erasure of musical memory (What did we just hear?) is in fact its identity.
Feldman makes simple statements, a piano arpeggio or a sustained string chord, holds these things and examines them over time. Gradually, as the sun’s light moves across a still life through the day, like a drawn out Morandi painting, the work evolves and indeed dissolves in some sense. Using different transformative processes, Feldman illuminates his basic material and achieves the miraculous, an extended work of great beauty and enigmatic wonder.
There are ghosts there, tinctures of late Schubert, Brahms and even Janaček, where beauty is a signature of passing time and an ephemeral focus on hearing and disappearing.