Morton Feldman: String Quartet No. 1 (1979)
Before the concert, at 10:30, the Reinhard Schulz-Preis für zeitgenössische Musikpublizistik will be awarded.
"You have no idea of all the work that’s gone in before you even write. That’s part of our assemblage in Western civilization. Things are handed to us on a silver platter. We don’t even know it. We think it’s raw materials." Morton Feldman in Darmstadt 1984
When the Arditti Quartet made its first guest appearance at the Darmstadt Summer Course – and immediately gave the opening concert – no one could have predicted the long-standing partnership with the Course or the ensemble’s lasting international success. The first Arditti program in Darmstadt packed quite a punch: Nono’s Fragmente – Stille, An Diotima stood alongside works by Peter Michael Braun, Vic Holland and Sylvano Bussotti, as well as Brian Ferneyhough’s String Quartet No. 2. Incidentally, 1982 also marked Ferneyhough’s first invitation to Darmstadt; he too has remained a central figure at the course as a tutor to this day. Morton Feldman came to Darmstadt in 1984 and 1986, and his important influence on the history of the Summer Course has by no means yet been documented exhaustively. His First String Quartet (1979) is the earliest of his famous extended-duration pieces: here he presents a fascinating 100-minute sound band pervaded by subtle changes, in which harmonic centers and dynamic outbursts take on the character of events. “One could say that the listener follows each of Feldman’s compositional decisions step by step. They are incorporated into the process of sound patterns unfolding, patterns that constantly reveal themselves as unassimilable,” writes the musicologist Marion Saxer. Feldman’s long pieces in particular have, in recent years, been interpreted time and again as early signals of an altered listening stance, and also with reference to the contemporary tendency towards installative musical forms.