If you survive our recital, we’ll make a donation…

If you survive our recital, we’ll make a donation…


norman lebrecht

March 09, 2017

From the Spektral Quartet:

Will you go the distance with us on Saturday night? If so, your very presence will do some good in our community.

We’re pleased to announce that our performance of (Morton) Feldman’s epic Quartet No 2 will take on a charitable dimension with a program we’re calling FELDMAN FORWARD.

Our board and key supporters have issued a challenge to our audience: for every person who stays with us for the entire six hours, they will donate at least $50 in your name to GirlForward, a Chicago-based organization creating opportunities for young women displaced by conflict and persecution.

Learn more and register your participation at:

We need your support to sustain us through this enormous piece. Thank you!


  • Max Grimm says:

    Commendable initiative but I’d rather donate $100 plus the $12 ticket price to a charity myself than sit through six hours of Feldman’s music.

    • Sam says:

      Let’s see you put your money where your mouth is. Why don’t you share a screenshot of the receipt for your donation?

    • MWnyc says:

      Well, why don’t you?

      • Max Grimm says:

        Well, one/two reason/s.
        First and foremost, there is the tremendous likelihood of my post being a hypothetical statement.
        Secondly, if you are referring to the specific charity mentioned in the thread’s intro, I am not an American and I do not reside in the United States. I therefore have a fair few charities in closer proximity and (by extent) of more immediate civic pertinency that I wish to and do support, before I put US-based and US-focused organizations on my list.

  • Pianofortissimo says:

    I would stay thera all those 6 (?) hours if they promise to give a good performance of Beethoven’s Grosse Fuge “en suite”. Can they play that ?

    • Sam says:

      Yes, they can.

      • Pianofortissimo says:

        Well, then my suggestion is that they should do it. Playing one of the most perfect, wonderful music compositions, surely the most “contemporary” work of all times, after the estimated 6 hours of “the sound of the sounds themselves” would be a fantastic, really shocking experience for the survivors (both the few in the public, and hopefully all the players), a more bombastic image of the Ressurrection than Mahler’s 2nd.

  • Dan P. says:

    The last I read about this quartet was a notice in the New York Times some years ago about, I think, the Kronos String Quartet (although I may be wrong) who were cancelling their performance of this piece due to back problems of one of the players. Does this piece have an intermission of some sort? Perhaps, they could perform a “highlights” concert?

  • John Borstlap says:

    If you play it allegrissimo, the piece takes only some 4 hours:


    The long duration is a necessary part of the composition which wants to demonstrate the extended universe of nothingness which appears when all the good things of life have been forgotten. When you have listened to the whole thing, you get into the same state, and you will forget all those things as well. It is, after Gruppen, the piece with the highest suicide rate.

    (My PA Sally went to a performance of this piece in London in the eighties and began to smoke and over-eat from that moment onwards, giving-up her career in music journalism which had just begun to take-off, and started to cultivate listening sessions of Boulez, alone and locked-up in her room, what she now regularly does in one of the cellars here on the estate. As long as I don’t know abouat it, I don’t mind.)

    • David Osborne says:

      At the end of that video there’s about 7 minutes of silence. The pictures keep scrolling on, but the sounds (mercifully) cease. Is that part of it, or just an editing fail? Feldman was quite an amusing man, I mean just look at him, but goodness the audacity of actually expecting people to sit through that… And as for pff’s suggestions of following it with the Grosse Fugue? There’s another quartet that that works pretty well at the end of, isn’t there?

  • Ravi Narasimhan says:

    Or people could donate to get them to stop playing. Like Wikipedia, “If everyone reading this gave (some amount) this fundraiser would be done”

  • Dan P. says:

    Back in the 80s, a well known composer (who shall remain nameless to avoid provoking Mr. Borstlap) told me the story of a visit from Morton Feldman back in the day. At the time, the composer’s daughter was probably about 6 or 7 and the whole family was at home. Feldman arrived for lunch and afterwards the two composers were in the study where Feldman was discussing his latest work, which was represented on graph paper a medium he was experimenting with at the time. Betty Ann (the daughter) came into the study and asked what they were doing and her father told her “Mr. Feldman is showing me his music.” She looked at the graph paper puzzled and very innocently replied, “But daddy, THAT isn’t music.”

    • Paul Davis says:

      A similar story i heard from a friend present at the premiere of Boulez 2nd sonata at La Scala: Maurizio Pollini greeted friends, colleagues and the composer in the artits room after his performance; his young son, bored with the pretentious chit chat went to the upright piano there, exclaiming: “I can play just like Daddy….” shoved his elbows and forearms on the keyboard and made similar noises to those recently heard! General Embarrassment. Emperor’s Nuke Loathes….?

      (specially to provoke/stimulate J Borstlap!)