In the 1970s Morton Feldman took up the study and collecting of antique Turkish rugs, a highly evolved and exquisite folk art. The rugs are intricately patterned, symmetrical in basic design but with constant variation and displacement in the detailed execution of that design; strikingly and subtly colored, including fine variegations of principal colors resulting from the dyeing process. Analogies are clear to Feldman's music as it takes up large-scale patterning, partly working with his familiar subtle gradations of rhythm and instrumental color and ostinati, loops or extended repetitions of a sounds, partly - and especially in this second string quartet - continually finding new and surprising qualities of color. There are a number of sounds in this piece unlike anything one has heard from a string quartet.
Lasting more than six continuous hours, it is "a disorienting, transfixing experience that repeatedly approached and touched the sublime." - Alex Ross, in his review of the FLUX Quartet's New York City performance in The New Yorker.
String Quartet 2's score is 124 pages, at one tempo marking of 63-66 beats per minute - as such, a slow tempo. Feldman idiosyncratically sets the bars, so one page may last as little as about half a minute or as much as nearly seven minutes.
"A very exciting quartet composed of four young men...who have lots of ideas and clearly enjoy making music together," - Anthony Tommasini, NY Times, the FLUX Quartet has performed to rave reviews at many music centers around the world. FLUX have performed Quartet 2 in concert numerous times and know the score intimately. The FLUX Quartet's repertoire consists of notable pioneers as well as visionaries of tomorrow - from "classics" by Nancarrow, Ligeti, and Cage, to works by John Zorn, Ornette Coleman, Oliver Lake, and tenor balloonist Judy Dunaway.
This deluxe set features liner notes by Feldman's colleague Christian Wolff, mixing personal experiences and recollections with analysis; and by FLUX founder Tom Chiu who writes of the "experience" of performing such a large-scale work.