Morton Feldman Quartet No. 2 (Chicago premiere)

  • Museum of Contemporary Art 220 East Chicago Avenue Chicago, IL, 60611 United States

Welcome to our marquee event of the 2016/17 season this March: the Chicago premiere of Morton Feldman’s iconic Quartet No. 2.

At between 5-6 hours of uninterrupted playing, the Quartet No. 2 (1983) is primarily a work intended to dislodge the listener’s concept of time–but it is also a significant feat of both mental and physical stamina on the part of the performers. Attendees are encouraged to stay for much or all of the concert, to fully experience Feldman’s beautifully disorienting score, and the 4th floor galleries of the MCA will remain open for quiet perusal. We in Spektral Quartet are not aware of any quartet in the repertoire longer in duration, and the journey across such an expanse of time promises to be as transformative for us as it is for concertgoers.

Feldman’s epic scope creates a musical wormhole: even the most attentive listener or avid Feldman fan will find their attention wandering at some point in the span of six hours, an occurrence that is encouraged by the music and the composer. On one hand, the Second Quartet is through-composed, precisely notated in nature: a formidable and detailed blueprint that begets a sense of motion and activity. On the other hand, each listener’s journey through its carefully constructed pathways will be different. Akin to admiring the irregular symmetry of the Afghan carpets that Feldman so loved, a listener can become lost in fascination, attempting to follow a line or pattern to its end.

We will offer open rehearsals at the museum on Feb 28, Mar 4, and Mar 7 from 1-4pm as opportunities for the curious to become acquainted with the piece as well as to explore Feldman’s collaborations with choreographer Merce Cunningham in the Museum of Contemporary Art’s Merce Cunningham: Common Time exhibit.

"I am not a clockmaker. I am interested in getting to time in its unstructured existence. That is, I am interested in how this wild beast lives in the jungle - not in the zoo."
–Morton Feldman