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For Feldman - Kotlowy, Prokop, Beardsley, Etc / Fong, Et Al


Release Date: 08/08/2006 
Label:  Ogreogress   Catalog #: 5637300495   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  David ToubMorton FeldmanDavid KotlowyJohn Gregory Prokop,   ... 
Performer:  Heather StorengChristopher MartinSieu Mahn PhongKaren Krummel,   ... 
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rangzen Quartet
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 35 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



FOR FELDMAN Rangzen Str Qrt; Christina Fong (vn) 1 OGREOGRESS 2792 (Audio DVD: 93:02)


TOUB Brass Piece for Arielle Victoria: mf. FELDMAN Pieces for String Quartet: 1956; 1954. For String Quartet. KOTLOWY _of Shade to Light. Read more class="COMPOSER12">PROKOP New England, Late Summer. BEARDSLEY (arr. Fong) _as beautiful as a crescent of a new moon on a cloudless spring evening 1


This is an amazing product. The use of the Audio DVD medium means that the approximately 80-minute ceiling for CD is binned and the intrepid label OgreOgress can afford to experiment even further. And experiment they do.


First, we hear Toub’s “ mf ” (is this mezzo-forte or M orton F eldman? The composer even suggests a third possibility, but if it is what I think it is it is certainly not for the eyes and ears of Fanfare readers). This is an arrangement for string quartet of the third movement of Taub’s Brass Piece for Arielle Victori . It is all too minimalist for me, I am afraid, its motor rhythms chugging along a hundred or so times too many (the piece lasts 13:30).


What a difference when we enter, next, the fragmentary, rarefied world of Feldman himself for the first of the two Pieces for String Quartet (1954). Interesting that Toub wrote the booklet note on the present release for the Feldman. Nevertheless, this is a different ball game. The Rangzen Quartet (Sieu Mahn Fong and Christopher Martin, violins; Heather Storeng, viola; Karen Krummel, cello) plays with the utmost concentration, a concentration aided and abetted by a recording that is just close enough to draw one in, but not so close as to be claustrophobic. The players are amazing in matters of bow control and an almost telepathic response to one another. For String Quartet (which comes after the Kotlowy in the playing order) is, if anything, even more sparse. The players seem to intend to make the listener strain forward to hear what is (or isn’t) going on.


David Kotlowy (born 1959) offers a dual homage in of Shade to Light : to Feldman, certainly, but also to Arnold Schoenberg (Kotlowy makes use of the series from Schoenberg’s Klavierstück, op. 33b). The composer writes of his piece that, “It is cast into semi-static cells that emphasize a range of sonorities and tonalities inherent within it.” I am not sure where the “semi” bit came in as much of this is static—but that is not necessarily a criticism, especially given the work’s present bedfellows.


The story behind Prokop’s New England, Late Summer is arguably more interesting than the piece itself. New England shared musical space with Bach and The Beatles at the composer’s own wedding (the actual positioning of this particular piece under discussion was at the exchanging of vows). Shorn of ceremony, the work shifts around in its own harmless way without making any great shakes, the individual parts seemingly striving to find direction like so many slowly-moving tentacles.


The music of David Beardsley (born 1960) closes the disc in the form of the half-hour as beautiful as a crescent of a new moon on a cloudless spring evening . Christina Fong joins the Rangzen Quartet. There is much close miking here, more so than elsewhere, so that after a while the drone tends to become intimidating. It is almost bagpipe-like, I thought initially, but then my thoughts turned, with more accuracy it seems to me, to the didgeridoo. The title comes from an observation of Feldman concerning sunlight falling through a glass.


On one level, this disc is stimulating as it reminds us of one direction music went in (Feldman) and shows us how various composers chose to pretty much keep it there, adding their own spin on things. On another level, of course, the disc is deeply relaxing, if not mesmerizing. Whatever it is, it is certainly fascinating.


FANFARE: Colin Clarke
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Works on This Recording

1.
Brass Piece for Arielle Victoria: 3rd movement "mf" by David Toub
Performer:  Heather Storeng (Viola), Christopher Martin (Violin), Sieu Mahn Phong (Violin),
Karen Krummel (Cello)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rangzen Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
Length: 13 Minutes 30 Secs. 
Notes: Version: 2004
Composition written: USA (1996 - 1997).
Composition revised: USA (2004). 
2.
Pieces (2) for String Quartet by Morton Feldman
Performer:  Heather Storeng (Viola), Karen Krummel (Cello), Christopher Martin (Violin),
Sieu Mahn Phong (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rangzen Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1954; USA 
Length: 7 Minutes 55 Secs. 
3.
of Shade to Light by David Kotlowy
Performer:  Christopher Martin (Violin), Heather Storeng (Viola), Sieu Mahn Phong (Violin),
Karen Krummel (Cello)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rangzen Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 2001 
Length: 14 Minutes 20 Secs. 
4.
For String Quartet by Morton Feldman
Performer:  Heather Storeng (Viola), Karen Krummel (Cello), Christopher Martin (Violin),
Sieu Mahn Phong (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rangzen Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1956; USA 
Length: 3 Minutes 7 Secs. 
5.
New England, Late Summer by John Gregory Prokop
Performer:  Karen Krummel (Cello), Heather Storeng (Viola), Christopher Martin (Violin),
Sieu Mahn Phong (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rangzen Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 2003 
Length: 15 Minutes 45 Secs. 
6.
Pieces (3) for String Quartet by Morton Feldman
Performer:  Heather Storeng (Viola), Christopher Martin (Violin), Karen Krummel (Cello),
Sieu Mahn Phong (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rangzen Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1956; USA 
Length: 11 Minutes 2 Secs. 
7.
as beautiful as a crescent of a new moon on a cloudless sping evening by David Beardsley
Performer:  Christina Fong (Viola), Christina Fong (Violin), Christina Fong (Cello)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 2004 
Length: 30 Minutes 0 Secs. 
Notes: Arranger: Christina Fong. 

Sound Samples

mf
2 Pieces for String Quartet: I. -
2 Pieces for String Quartet: II. -
of Shade to Light
For String Quartet
New England, Late Summer
3 Pieces for String Quartet: I. -
3 Pieces for String Quartet: II. -
3 Pieces for String Quartet: III. -
As Beautiful as a Crescent of a New Moon on a Cloudless Spring Evening

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