Author Topic: The Carter Corner  (Read 193776 times)

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Offline Archaic Torso of Apollo

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Re: The Carter Corner
« Reply #1500 on: March 01, 2018, 12:50:44 PM »
I agree with you. An aspect that also contributes to what I perceive to be a lack of integration between voice and other instruments in some of Carter's vocal works is that the words are so easily discernible, whereas the instruments are experienced with more focus on their sound, rather than the semantic meaning they could refer to.

Nicely put, especially the bit about semantics. For me this seems to be a "Carter problem" specifically - I have no trouble enjoying vocal modernism as embodied in works like Pierrot Lunaire or Wozzeck.

That said, listening to the works did plant the seed of intrigue in my mind, and I'll probably go back and try to figure out what makes them tick.
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Offline greg

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Re: The Carter Corner
« Reply #1501 on: March 21, 2019, 07:03:15 PM »
So, uh...

I was dreaming, but on the verge of waking up this morning. And I asked myself the question, "Is Elliott Carter still alive?" I had completely forgotten whether he was or not, since it had been many years since I even gave his music a thought.

So my mind guessed, "He died in 2012." After waking up, I go on my phone and look up when he died. 2012.

Pretty sure I never explicitly memorized the fact, but heard the news at the time when it happened. So sounds like a hidden fact stored away that somehow popped up, but also my intuition weirds me out sometimes at its accuracy.

Anyways, not really anything about his music, just wanted to share.  :P
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Offline Archaic Torso of Apollo

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Re: The Carter Corner
« Reply #1502 on: March 23, 2019, 08:17:04 AM »
So, uh...

I was dreaming, but on the verge of waking up this morning. And I asked myself the question, "Is Elliott Carter still alive?" I had completely forgotten whether he was or not, since it had been many years since I even gave his music a thought.

So my mind guessed, "He died in 2012." After waking up, I go on my phone and look up when he died. 2012.

Pretty sure I never explicitly memorized the fact, but heard the news at the time when it happened. So sounds like a hidden fact stored away that somehow popped up, but also my intuition weirds me out sometimes at its accuracy.

Anyways, not really anything about his music, just wanted to share.  :P

I appreciate this post. My memory does that to me, too.
formerly VELIMIR (before that, Spitvalve)

"Who knows not strict counterpoint, lives and dies an ignoramus" - CPE Bach

Offline Ainsi la nuit

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Re: The Carter Corner
« Reply #1503 on: March 24, 2019, 03:10:30 PM »
I feel such a powerful connection to Carter's music at the moment. I've gone through most of his works now - not everything is accessible via Spotify, but definitely most of it - and there's just so much to discover in his complete output. The chamber works are intense, witty and acerbic in their expression. I'm currently listening to the Pacifica Quartet's recording of the 1st string quartet and it's just out of this world good! Their recordings might just become my new favourites...

I tend to prefer the later works (an impossibly much-meaning word with this composer...) but I certainly have a soft spot for the "hard core" early Carter as well - and also for the quasi-populist works of his even earlier days. It's just all so well-crafted.

It's sometimes a little hard to articulate what exactly is it about Carter's music that I love so much. But some time ago, as I was listening to the Oboe Concerto, I just had a sudden thought: it tickles my brain in a way that I need and which no other music is able to do. And that's how all music I love works, when I really think about it! When a composer gives me something that I need but can't get elsewhere, they become essential figures in my life. That's certainly happened to Carter - among many, many others of course.

Offline vers la flamme

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Re: The Carter Corner
« Reply #1504 on: August 11, 2019, 09:46:37 AM »
Elliott Carter's music is just beginning to click for me these days. I've been listening to a disc of Oliver Knussen conducting the London Sinfonietta in three major orchestral works: the Violin Concerto, the Concerto for Orchestra, and the Three Occasions for orchestra. I don't know much about Carter's extensive body of works, but from what I gather, these are from an early-mid period in his career...?

I feel like he is an exquisite craftsman and that his music is characterized by a kind of symmetry and balance that is somewhat rare in the post-war avant-garde. Yet still much of his music is extremely dense to me and I feel like I'm just barely beginning to crack the surface.

Being as clueless as I am about mid-to-late 20th century music (I'm a new convert), can anyone explain to me what makes Carter's harmonic language sound the way it does? Does he compose in a freely atonal language? Does he use 12-tone serialism? Polytonality? Micro-tonality? Is it safe to just call it atonal and be done with it?

Anyway, there is plenty of rich color and texture in his music. Really beginning to appreciate it all.

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Re: The Carter Corner
« Reply #1505 on: August 11, 2019, 01:33:51 PM »
The only work that I can say "I like/enjoy" of this composer is the SQ 1. His symphonies are not my cup of tea. I should try further works by this composer. There could be more surprises than expected.

Offline vers la flamme

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Re: The Carter Corner
« Reply #1506 on: August 11, 2019, 01:41:37 PM »
^Have you perhaps heard the Pacifica Quartet recording of his 1st quartet, or maybe the Juilliard? Both are items that I'm looking at.





The Juilliard Quartet recordings of Anton Webern's string quartet works are so fantastic that I think they'd excel with Carter's quartets too, but I have yet to listen to much of it yet. The Pacifica Quartet I've listened to bits and pieces of and really enjoyed, plus I love their Shostakovich cycle. Apparently, they knew the composer too, well enough to take a picture with him, anyway.

SymphonicAddict

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Re: The Carter Corner
« Reply #1507 on: August 11, 2019, 01:59:20 PM »
^Have you perhaps heard the Pacifica Quartet recording of his 1st quartet, or maybe the Juilliard? Both are items that I'm looking at.





The Juilliard Quartet recordings of Anton Webern's string quartet works are so fantastic that I think they'd excel with Carter's quartets too, but I have yet to listen to much of it yet. The Pacifica Quartet I've listened to bits and pieces of and really enjoyed, plus I love their Shostakovich cycle. Apparently, they knew the composer too, well enough to take a picture with him, anyway.

I have the quartets on Sony, not the Pacifica one. I haven't explored the other quartets yet, but I do intend to do it so in the near future.

Offline North Star

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Re: The Carter Corner
« Reply #1508 on: August 11, 2019, 02:31:41 PM »
The Pacifica recordings are amazing, the Juilliards give me an impression that they struggle more with the music, in a way that doesn't appeal to me.
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Offline vers la flamme

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Re: The Carter Corner
« Reply #1509 on: August 11, 2019, 02:39:10 PM »
The Pacifica recordings are amazing, the Juilliards give me an impression that they struggle more with the music, in a way that doesn't appeal to me.

Noted. I'll keep your thoughts in mind when listening, see if I can hear what you mean. I'm not very familiar with the music and might not pick up on something like that.

Offline Leo K.

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Re: The Carter Corner
« Reply #1510 on: August 12, 2019, 09:55:48 AM »
Can anyone explain to me what makes Carter's harmonic language sound the way it does? Does he compose in a freely atonal language? Does he use 12-tone serialism? Polytonality? Micro-tonality? Is it safe to just call it atonal and be done with it?

Perhaps one way to put Carter's technique regarding harmony is as follows:

"Carter uses harmony as structure rather than as function: as a way to separate the instruments by giving them different intervals, using a single chord to generate the intervals, and/or by using chords as markers during the piece.  He was never a twelve-tone composer (in the way another great modernist, Anton Webern, was) but a post-harmonic composer, one who avoided the entire convention of harmonic preparation and resolution."

from
https://www.the-solute.com/elliott-carter-the-last-modernist/

For example, in his Triple Duo (1982) "each duo is characterized by its own repertory of intervals: minor and major thirds, tritone, and major seventh for the winds; minor second, perfect fourth, minor sixth, and minor seventh for the strings." - David Schiff

Obviously it's pretty complicated!

Offline vers la flamme

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Re: The Carter Corner
« Reply #1511 on: April 14, 2020, 02:17:25 PM »
Perhaps one way to put Carter's technique regarding harmony is as follows:

"Carter uses harmony as structure rather than as function: as a way to separate the instruments by giving them different intervals, using a single chord to generate the intervals, and/or by using chords as markers during the piece.  He was never a twelve-tone composer (in the way another great modernist, Anton Webern, was) but a post-harmonic composer, one who avoided the entire convention of harmonic preparation and resolution."

from
https://www.the-solute.com/elliott-carter-the-last-modernist/

For example, in his Triple Duo (1982) "each duo is characterized by its own repertory of intervals: minor and major thirds, tritone, and major seventh for the winds; minor second, perfect fourth, minor sixth, and minor seventh for the strings." - David Schiff

Obviously it's pretty complicated!

Now that I am getting to know the String Quartet No.3 (I'm just finally purchasing the Carter quartets some 8 months after writing in this thread that I would!) I think I understand this better. It seems to use a similar system of harmonic organization. There are two duos which each play from a selection of "characters", four for duo 1, six for duo 2. Each so-called character has each a characteristic interval and a tempo/articulation marking, eg. Andante espressivo w/ minor 6th; Maestoso w/ perfect 5th. The duos never play in sync with each other per se, but play different pairings of the possible characters. So the harmonic language is all mostly incidental, and the focus is more on relationships between intervals than on chords or any kind of "real" vertical harmony. Quite fascinating, I think!

Anyway, this is a mid-period work and I'm really curious to hear some of the later works. I listened to the Clarinet Quintet the other day, and I'm listening to the Cello Concerto now. Both are great, and not too challenging at all. Much simpler than the quartet I described. But still wonderfully colorful and angular.

Carter is an exciting composer. As user Ainsi la nuit said above, "it tickles my brain in a way that I need and which no other music is able to do." Very true! It's oddly satisfying music.

Offline edward

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Re: The Carter Corner
« Reply #1512 on: April 14, 2020, 03:14:24 PM »
Anyway, this is a mid-period work and I'm really curious to hear some of the later works. I listened to the Clarinet Quintet the other day, and I'm listening to the Cello Concerto now. Both are great, and not too challenging at all. Much simpler than the quartet I described. But still wonderfully colorful and angular.
Anything from about 1990 and on is "late Carter", so there's a lot to try. There's something very Haydnesque to the way it manages to be playful without compromising its seriousness. To my mind particular standouts from that period are Symphonia, Boston Concerto, the piano concerto Interventions, the Clarinet Quintet and some of the late song cycles, but there's very few weak links there.

John Taverner once made a rather perceptive remark about late Carter: that he ridded modernism of its angst.
"I don't at all mind actively disliking a piece of contemporary music, but in order to feel happy about it I must consciously understand why I dislike it. Otherwise it remains in my mind as unfinished business."
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Offline vers la flamme

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Re: The Carter Corner
« Reply #1513 on: April 14, 2020, 06:21:07 PM »
Anything from about 1990 and on is "late Carter", so there's a lot to try. There's something very Haydnesque to the way it manages to be playful without compromising its seriousness. To my mind particular standouts from that period are Symphonia, Boston Concerto, the piano concerto Interventions, the Clarinet Quintet and some of the late song cycles, but there's very few weak links there.

John Taverner once made a rather perceptive remark about late Carter: that he ridded modernism of its angst.

I'm assuming you mean Tavener rather than Taverner, I'm sure Carter's music would have been plenty angsty for the latter ;D But I might be able to see what he means by that. There is something cool and calculated about Carter's music, sans Boulezian ultraviolence. I had thought of Haydn earlier listening to the 3rd string quartet, thinking about his exquisite craftsmanship in the genre.

Thanks for the recs! I actually have Symphonia coming to me in the mail now, the DG recording, I found a good deal on it. And I'm thinking of getting a 2CD on Bridge with a smattering of his late music.

Online JBS

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Re: The Carter Corner
« Reply #1514 on: April 14, 2020, 06:30:42 PM »
Bumping this post up because the CD is very worth noticing..

To be released on Aug. 11:



1 Interventions (2007) for piano and orchestra*†
2 Dialogues (2003) for piano and chamber orchestra*‡
3 Dialogues II (2010) for piano and chamber orchestra*‡
4 Soundings (2005) for orchestra*†
5–7 Two Controversies and a Conversation (2011) for piano, percussion and chamber orchestra*-‡
8 Instances (2012) for chamber orchestra†
9–20 Epigrams (2012) for piano trio* **

Pierre-Laurent Aimard, piano*
Isabelle Faust, violin **
Jean-Guihen Queyras, cello **
Colin Currie, percussion -

Birmingham Contemporary Music Group ‡
BBC Symphony Orchestra †
Oliver Knussen, conductor

Hollywood Beach Broadwalk

Offline vers la flamme

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Re: The Carter Corner
« Reply #1515 on: April 14, 2020, 06:33:06 PM »
Bumping this post up because the CD is very worth noticing..

I've been strongly considering this one, too. I like what I've heard, sounds quite accessible to me.

Online Mandryka

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Re: The Carter Corner
« Reply #1516 on: April 14, 2020, 10:35:01 PM »
I've been strongly considering this one, too. I like what I've heard, sounds quite accessible to me.

It’s worth hearing, some music not available elsewhere - like the 12 epigrams for violin and piano, succinct like Webern.
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Online Mandryka

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Re: The Carter Corner
« Reply #1517 on: April 14, 2020, 10:58:51 PM »
What do the Carterians think of the 5th quartet?
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