After Listening To Feldman's Second String Quartet

This is my own personal experience of listening to Morton Feldman’s Second String Quartet which clocks in around six hours.  This piece takes you places like nothing else I know of, in any medium, but perhaps Satie’s Vexations comes a little close.  This is essentially a stream of consciousness, my experience will not be the same as yours, you will not hear the same things I did, you will not get the same images I received (in some cases at least, I hope not…) and that makes it all the more exciting!  I didn’t force or fabricate any of this, I tried to remain as passive as possible, letting it wash over me.  This writing will not be worked on, developed or thought about too much, so as not to lose any freshness.  I’ve always judged a piece of music on how many of my own ideas I get or how many thoughts appear seemingly out of nowhere…

Brown wood-like cuboids zipping past in a dense globular star cluster, surrounded by a massive orange star crossed with rippling rose petals / John Williams / sirens / trumpets / nuclear strike alarm / home / vital breath / slow motion raindrops / visualisation of complex four-dimensional gravitational waves dancing around the soaring elongation of a quasar’s central energy beam / my central nervous system, spread out, laid out, reduced to fuzzy red atoms that appear to eat themselves / this piece creates an exquisite test of one’s memory, linking fragments that may be minutes or hours apart / music sounds reversed / Nosferatu / mitosis in reverse / endless questions without answers, tension without release, yet this is soothing / straight, slightly fuzzy black shadows overlapping, birthing, transforming, I can see crocodile shapes and eggs falling from them / an eye slowly closing but never fully shutting / low sounds pushing from under the skin, leaving stretched welts / a circular wheel turning but as if it was anything but a circle / emotionless sentimentality / white shadow-like striations / racing through a starfield, points of light reducing, to black, then back again, twirling through a black hole, observing the hypothetical conical structure from the outside / Penderecki / Psycho / Boötes Void / Luci from Groening’s Disenchantment / whistles, controlled wind if the weather was produced by a composer / Victorian music hall / Slow Philip Glass / plucking hairs from the head of a catatonic person in an asylum / Lovecraft rubbing his fingers together / repeated low note to high note motif, with harmonics sounds like “I’m dead” / a washing machine designed only to dirty the clothes not clean them / Irish folk music / grenades exploding in front of me but producing only minimal sounds / lonely old dying goose / Escher / accordion / timpani / EDM / absorption lines / a lighthouse out of control / wood blocks, octopus suckers on plastic / Wagner / Palestrina / Stockhausen / dissonance becomes consonance, everything becomes melody, a minor second is huge / lying naked on a huge pool of custard, wobbling but never sinking / severe angular makeup / overweight mermaid swimming down an underwater tornado made from multi-coloured iron filings / black and white plasma walls stretched and rapidly receding from a room with the quartet playing / several traditional chinese instruments / whale song / glass balloons popping, somehow like ordinary balloons / waves holding hands but not joining waters / bicycle with many wheels appearing, ala Cyriak / a waterfall of wheelchairs (seriously questioning my brain right now…) / random fragments of clean metal coming to me on a zipwire / inside a large structure of fractal tree branches, with gaps but no outside / Sondheim / close up on a mouth, the corner is melting and grimacing / small rodents playing hypersonic tag / Gypsy folk music / a Francis Bacon scream, itself screaming / wandering aimlessly but never lost / colourless rainbow being produced in the sky, like a brass rubbing / impossibly long line of houses in the distance, each with a single light on, same room in each / handcuffs coming toward me, clinking together in slow motion without sound, but you can see the sound / Svankmajer / building up of a Rothko painting, coloured water lava lamp / four people talking to each other in a large room, but separated, rotating, but still as if they were huddled together / stylophone / Holocaust pleas and cries / tunnel made of storm clouds, with lizard like creatures crawling around the top / black and white static, glitch in the Mortrix? / Ravel / beating heart of bagpipes / repeatedly putting down the same whiskey glass in the same place / radar location pulsation / punching a cloud / Japanese samurai sword slicing a knife precisely through its centre / spirits reaching from below the ground / disgustingly intense, like smelling sulphur / like the ink signs from Arrival / train tracks with no parallel lines, yet the trains don’t seem to notice or care / echo of the viola line in Rothko Chapel / Messiaen / conch shell / organic fragility / line from Antony and the Johnson’s Epilepsy is Dancing “As a soldering blue line, between my eyes” – this, but black / congregating window condensation / Beckett / glass harmonica being played like a microphone getting too close to a speaker / some fragments could be airlifted into any Disney song and nobody would know / Kurtag / ballerina music box, but as she turns, she gets twisted, chewed, gruesomely deformed / musical saw / theremin / walking over a contact mic buried in the mud / Muybridge’s horse galloping towards me / some long notes (but also a few short ones) sound like a person’s entire life condensed, with attention on their final breath, a realisation that eternity awaits / Ligeti / distant rumbling apparitions / Alpine horn / Marionettes suddenly coming to life then randomly stopping / getting a chinese burn from someone you lust after / flipping a coin that bizarrely teleports itself to different locations before falling back in your hand / a bicycle bell whilst undergoing Lorentz contraction / green and pastoral / I like pieces that do everything or nothing, this is a very rare example (for me) of a piece that does both of those at the same time! / choir (this surprised me, I actually heard singing voices) / lacklustre panpipes / Pollock / an orrery with just two planets fighting against each other / licking the bubbling meniscus of a supernatural cauldron / playing “they love me, they love me not” with the petals of a flower, but some petals burn, or disintegrate, or fight back, or bleed / low note sounds like “moo”, high note sounds like “meow” – when they overlap: “moo-ow” (!) / ice rubbing against ice / bellows opening like the exaggerated beak of a raven / dolphins at slow motion play / Mica Levi / the dissipating ethereal rings of an ink drop burrowing its way through a glass of water / my eyes turning to thousands of spider eggs / two weavers on two looms, superimposed at a ninety-degree angle (this image was particularly welcome, as you’ll appreciate if you know anything about Feldman’s interests…) / Bernstein / Laurence Crane / didgeridoo / harp / the irregular carving of an iceberg / firing single drops of grey liquid directly at each other through the LHC / Laurel and Hardy theme / Debussy / Feldman drags you into experiencing the decay of the event, sometimes more than the attack / branches rubbing along the windows of the top deck of a double decker bus / beautiful alone doesn’t quite feel right – rustic beauty feels closer.