Morton Feldman - Clarinet and String Quartet - CD
Saltern returns with a gorgeous new recording of Morton Feldman's Clarinet and String Quartet (1983) performed by Anthony Burr (clarinet), Graeme Jennings (violin), Gascia Ouzounian (violin), Che-Yen Chen (viola) and Charles Curtis (cello). This performance highlights Feldman's interest in notation by treating the slight differences in intonation and rhythm literally and specifically.
Recorded by Tom Erbe in the living room of a friend of the musicians. Edition of 400. Housed in jackets printed at Stoughton and featuring a cover image by artist Raha Raissnia.
From Anthony Burr and Charles Curtis' liner notes: "Near the end of the final Contrapunctus in The Art of Fugue, Bach introduces a new four-note countersubject which, in the German note names, spells B, A, C, H (in our note names, B-flat, A, C, B-natural). To those within Bach's circle, and probably to any attentive musician of his day, the notes thus sounded would have unmistakably articulated Bach's name -- an embedded signature, not just a melodic motif but a salutation in musical code. Morton Feldman begins Clarinet and String Quartet with the same four notes in reverse order -- H, C, A, B, if you will. These four notes are repeated over and over by the clarinet and the cello simultaneously, the two instruments in minutely different rhythms and phrasings. These notes, however, are given anomalous names: in the cello, B, D-double flat, G-double sharp, A-sharp; and in the clarinet, C-flat, C, A, B-flat. Whether or not Feldman placed the retrograde B, A, C, H motif intentionally, it fits seamlessly into the pitch world of his late music, in which chromatic clusters (often four notes) are obsessively restated in different permutations, like anagrams."
1. Clarinet and String Quartet
"This stunning new version of Morton Feldman's Clarinet and String Quartet was recorded in a living room, a particularly appropriate setting for the composer's intimate compositions. Originator of a highly unique, awe-inspiring musical vernacular, Feldman stretched tones and music in time to produce long yet elegant experiences of minuscule differences. Clarinet and String Quartet"clocks in at 48 minutes, and is one of the late composer's briefer compositions. There's a brilliantly odd, scuttling quality to this 1983 piece, which is tightly metered while nevertheless remaining fluid throughout. Opening with four notes that are repeated over and over on both clarinet and strings, the instruments eventually start diverging in microscopically different rhythms and phrases. The effects are powerful and open up a world of precise yet liquid tone clusters." ~ Other Music