Saturday, February 27, 2010

Morton Feldman - Music for Piano and Strings (Matchless)

Yet another brief note:

I can't possibly do this release justice simply because, as a Region 0 DVD, I can only play it through my PC speakers which, while ok enough, only give me a decent taste of the music. Two works: For John Cage (1982) with Darragh Morgan on violin and John Tilbury on piano, and "Piano and String Quartet" (1985) with Tilbury and the Smith Quartet, recorded live in 2006. Each piece is an hour and a half long. Each is stunningly beautful--that much I can discern. I can pick up the vaguest glimmers of the overtones I know are there. Tilbury appears to be in (typically) excellent form, weaving wondrously through the strings on the second piece--you get a strong physical sense of that, of the strings as a kind of flexing matrix, the piano wending its way through, the lines like bright threads.

One of these days, I have to invest in a multi-region player and hook the whole up to my speakers...there are two more Feldman DVDs planned by Matchless. The first will include "Patterns in a Chromatic Field", "Cello and Piano" and "Piano, Violin, Viola, Cello". The next several works for piano and strings from 1950-1980, including "The Viola in My Life".

Well worth hearing even if only in less than optimal conditions.


1 comment:

robert said...

It's not the region locking that's giving you trouble, region 0 means it can be played in any region. The issue is that its a PAL dvd. So if you do get a new player make sure its can do PAL.

Personally I couldn't imagine buying a new dvd player at this juncture considering that there is a higher def format out there. But maybe they are cheap enough that it doesn't matter. I'm glad I bought my region free PAL capable player years ago (not to mention all the great import dvds I've gotten over the years). Its getting a bit flakey but I'm using my Blu-Ray player now for everything but PAL discs to try to keep it going.

The best solution might be to work out a way to connect your PC to your stereo. If the straight line out is too low quality you can pretty cheaply buy better audio outs. The dvd player part is really no different from your PC or in a standalone unit.

Anyway this is an amazing set, the best versions I've heard of these two pieces, which are among my favorites. Worth getting setup to be able to play these, not to mention the forthcoming releases!