1. Why would anyone create a piece of music that lasts not one, or two, or three, or four, or five, but six hours?
2. Why don’t more more people?
Morton Feldman, String Quartet No. 2 (1983), excerpts, Flux Quartet
On June 12th the Flux Quartet performed this piece in Philadelphia, the finale of American Sublime, a festival devoted to Feldman’s late music. The concert, which took place in the sanctuary of Philadelphia Cathedral, began at 2 p.m.; it ended around 8 p.m. The program notes said: “Audience may come and go as they please.”
this & that
I don’t win stuff. I don’t even enter things—contests, sweepstakes, lotteries—that would give me a shot at winning stuff. Until yesterday, that is.
Yesterday morning, driving home after dropping my son Luke off at work (7 a.m. can be a pretty brutal starting time for a 20-year-old), I was listening, as I often do while driving, to our local public radio station (WBEZ-FM), which, I learned, was in the midst of a fundraising drive. “Pledge,” they said, and “you’ll be entered in drawings for an iPad 2,” which were going to be made throughout the day. The earlier you pledge, they said, with what seemed unassailable logic, the better your chances of winning. I hadn’t sent them any money in a while so, when I got home, I went on-line and pledged. A couple hours later, a friend sent me an email: “Congratulations on your iPad.”
When bad stuff happens, particularly bad stuff that’s unexpected and outside my control (as often seems to be the case), my tendency is to try to let it go. Why invest bad experiences with ill-fitting, after-the-fact meanings? This is different. This experience I’d like to invest with all kinds of after-the-fact-meanings, ill-fitting or not. I’d like to see this as a favorable omen, one that portends all sorts of wonderful stuff—things that, at the moment, I can’t even begin to imagine. Goofy? Yeah, I suppose. But is it any nuttier than any number of other stories we tell ourselves to get us through the day?