I almost never get to concerts. Certainly not in Philadelphia. It’s rare that any new music gets performed here. So it was a great surprise to me a few weeks ago when I happened to see, on the Web, a mention of a week-long festival of late Feldman here in Philly. The final concert is of his String Quartet #2 (or FSQ2, in Feldmanite parlance) and I’m here now into hour #2 of this great work performed by the FLUX Quartet.
People are streaming in and out, some are lying or sitting on the floor, others sitting in chairs, some pacing. But everyone is very silent, which is good, a the piece is generally extremely quiet.
I’ve known the work in both the FLUX and Ives Ensemble recordings for many years now. Both are amazing. But the FLUX Quartet recording clocks in a bit over six hours, while the Ives recording is just under five. Both are authoritative and excellent performances. But my preference remains the FLUX Quartet recording. And their live performance is incredible. Now, if only parking here didn’t require one to leave and add money every three hours. Guess they’re not used to six-hour concerts here.
The score is handwritten and has a grid-like quality to it, with equal numbers of measure on each page. The performers are playing from the full score, and sometimes one player has to turn a page for his colleague.
The acoustics here at the Philadelphia Cathedral in University City are great, and I really do hope for more concerts like this in venues like this.
The audience is mostly young, which is encouraging.
I give the FLUX Quartet a lot of credit for continuing to perform FSQ2, and playing it so well.
In contrast, my 2-hour string quartet for philip glass seems so short.
Nice to bump into Marvin Rosen of WPRB-FM here as well