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The Music Room => Composer Discussion => Topic started by: bwv 1080 on April 07, 2007, 08:08:12 AM

Title: The Carter Corner
Post by: bwv 1080 on April 07, 2007, 08:08:12 AM
A continuation of the classic carter conversation center carried over to the current circumstances
Title: Re: Conclave of the Cantankerous Carter Clan
Post by: Harry on April 07, 2007, 08:10:48 AM
In Europe he is not, at least not with me.
Title: Re: Conclave of the Cantankerous Carter Clan
Post by: Brewski on April 07, 2007, 08:21:14 AM
Certainly the coolest 98-year-old I can think of.  Every time a piece of his is performed in New York, he shows up in the audience, and after coming onstage receives a cheering standing ovation.  He looks remarkably good, too.  We should all be so vital at that age.

Yesterday listened to his Symphony No. 1 (1942) with Paul Dunkel and the American Composers Orchestra (on CRI).  I don't recall hearing this, and it's well worth getting to know. 

--Bruce
Title: Re: Conclave of the Cantankerous Carter Clan
Post by: johnQpublic on April 07, 2007, 11:13:43 AM
Oh please Blip, don't start a parallel thread.

By creating a new forum, we all get a fresh start to getting "it" right.  :P
Title: Re: Conclave of the Cantankerous Carter Clan
Post by: bwv 1080 on April 07, 2007, 11:32:18 AM
Hey, I said the clan was cantankerous  ;D
Title: Re: Conclave of the Cantankerous Carter Clan
Post by: johnQpublic on April 07, 2007, 11:54:25 AM
Since I'm cantankerous, I refuse to define "IT".  :D
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: not edward on April 07, 2007, 02:06:26 PM
We could be Carter-rancorous instead. ;)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: bwv 1080 on April 07, 2007, 03:15:08 PM
Or Cartermudgeons
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Catison on April 08, 2007, 12:24:07 PM
THWI, call it want you want. I'm outta here.
???
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on April 09, 2007, 07:24:16 AM
Cartermeudgeons — yeesh! ::)

As I said, I would have prefered to open my own thread when the time was right, but apparently I missed my chance. The advantages of opening a thread myself is that giv it the name I choose (the alliteration does get rather thick), and I can lock it down when anyone gets carried away, as they did on the old board.

:'( I miss the old board. Back there I had authority. I was somebody. Hell, I was a hero.  :'(

In any event, miffed as I still am (and getting over a persistent cold), there are a few events on the Carter horizon that bear mentioning.

The premiere of the Horn Concerto in Boston this year has already been announced.

In addition, Aimard will play Catenaires in Philadelphia March 18, 2008, and the Two Diversions later in the year---November, I believe, just month before the old man's 100th birthday. Both performances courtesy of the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society.

I've also been told Vol. 8 of the Bridge label's Carter series is in the works. It's hush-hush at the moment, since it will contain some classic live performances, and negotiations for the rights are in the sensitive stages.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on April 09, 2007, 07:45:46 AM
For the sake of completeness, here are the read-only archives for the old Carter Corner (http://www.good-music-guide.com/forum/index.php/topic,2298.0.html) and Carter Corner II. (http://www.good-music-guide.com/forum/index.php/topic,12677.0.html)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on April 09, 2007, 07:47:26 AM
Wow, a thread which ends with "No, and no, of course."

 8)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on April 09, 2007, 07:48:46 AM
And, Joe, if you really shake the dust of this thread off your mousepad, don't expect me to come to the Carter premiere at Symphony!  8)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Catison on April 09, 2007, 08:40:27 AM
I think what I will do, though, now that it's possible, is remove my old posts after a day or two, keep my total number under ten, and perpetuate my newbie status well into the future.

Carter-mudgeons ... yeesh!  ::)

And make it really hard to keep up with your threads in the future?  Good idea....
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Catison on April 09, 2007, 08:49:43 AM
Well, if you'll notice, I haven't started ay threads yet ...  ;)

Well, I meant, threads in which you participate.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on April 22, 2007, 07:14:26 AM
  My God, what have I done?

That innocent little April Fool's joke has ended up posted at Google. (http://groups.google.com/group/rec.music.classical/browse_thread/thread/60bad0bbf12132b5/2553a97c6967c17d?hl=en#2553a97c6967c17d) Have I opened a Pandora's Box? And who is this Lora Creighton?

I fear a Seinfeld moment coming on. Mr. Carter sees this. The worst happens, and I'm stuck explaining to everyone for the rest of my life, "For heaven's sake, it was a joke."
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on April 22, 2007, 11:24:34 AM
Apparently, William Bolcolm also got a hold of it and forwarded it to all his friends.

How was I supposed to know she had a pony? Who leaves a country where there are ponies to come to a non-pony country?
Title: Re: Conclave of the Cantankerous Carter Clan
Post by: greg on April 22, 2007, 11:35:27 AM
Certainly the coolest 98-year-old I can think of.  Every time a piece of his is performed in New York, he shows up in the audience, and after coming onstage receives a cheering standing ovation.  He looks remarkably good, too.  We should all be so vital at that age.

oh yeah, definetely.... at least he's not in a nursing home
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Maciek on April 22, 2007, 01:22:14 PM
  My God, what have I done?

You should be happy - it just shows how well crafted the joke was (and at least for some of us - it was quite hilarious). It'll die off sooner or later anyway. Let's hope. ;)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on April 23, 2007, 08:30:44 AM
You should be happy - it just shows how well crafted the joke was (and at least for some of us - it was quite hilarious). It'll die off sooner or later anyway. Let's hope. ;)


Thank you for the compliment. I have to say that when I recieved the email telling me the fake news story had been posted at google, I laughed out loud.

Everyone, both pro and anti-Carter people, seemed to like it— the anti-Cartites because it seemed to confirm what they've been saying all along, and the pro-Cartites because it exposed the silliness of some of the anti-Carterites' arguments.   
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on April 23, 2007, 11:26:28 AM
Great. It's also been posted at The Boston Freaking Globe. (http://www.boston.com/ae/theater_arts/exhibitionist/2007/04/elliott_carter.html)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Guido on April 23, 2007, 05:13:10 PM
Great joke!

I'm glad that you have been remembering Mr. Ives for as long as you have been! I love his works more with each passing day! Also Carter's cello works get better the more one listens to them, and they were pretty damned good to start off with. I'm currently trying to tackle the string quartets (I have the first and fourth), but am finding them pretty tough going.

What are your thoughts on the piano concerto or double concerto? I like both of these works very much, but are they really fathomable? - it seems that no matter how many times I listen they don't seem to become any more familiar - perhaps they are forever distant, and that is a feature of them?
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on April 24, 2007, 03:44:11 AM
Joe, you're a celebrity, dude!
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on April 24, 2007, 05:47:06 AM
Joe, you're a celebrity, dude!

I never dreamed I'd be the author of a genuine hoax, if you'll forgive the oxymoron. As long as the piece makes the rounds anonymously, though, I don't mind being famous.

Guido, thanks for your thoughts. I have to say it took me a long, long time to really get into the Piano Concerto, but contrary to your impression, I did not find it  "forever distant." Today I can follow it note for note, and for me, it is one of Carter.s most compelling works. Listen especially for the violin and wind solos (flute, English horn, bass clarinet) in the second movement. They go by quickly, but they provide  signposts to the action. There is also, near the end, the repeated "F" from the piano as the strings build up into a dense tone cluster.  As I have said in an online review, this is a brutal, tragic, heartbreaking work, but it's unlike anything anyone else has ever written, which means it takes some getting used to.  I'd recommend, too, that you invest in the New World disk with Oppens and Gielen conducting the Cincinnati Symphony, if you have not already. It's the most gripping performance available.

The Double Concerto is quieter, more lyrical, and --- dare I say it? --- prettier than the Piano Concerto. It seems less coherent, less forward-directed, but it has many lovely moments. I am particularly fond of the harpsichord cadenza near the beginning, and the adagio. There's a beautiful moment when the lower woodwinds seem to open up like a stop-action film of a blooming flower.

I'm sorry if I can't give you a key that will automatically unlock the treasures in these works. All I can say is, keep listening. They do become apparent eventually. 
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on April 24, 2007, 06:14:01 AM
The Double Concerto is quieter, more lyrical, and --- dare I say it? --- prettier than the Piano Concerto. It seems less coherent, or less directed, but it has many lovely moments.

By all means, dare to say it!
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: greg on April 24, 2007, 10:05:55 AM
  My God, what have I done?

That innocent little April Fool's joke has ended up posted at Google. (http://groups.google.com/group/rec.music.classical/browse_thread/thread/60bad0bbf12132b5/2553a97c6967c17d?hl=en#2553a97c6967c17d) Have I opened a Pandora's Box? And who is this Lora Creighton?

I fear a Seinfeld moment coming on. Mr. Carter sees this. The worst happens, and I'm stuck explaining to everyone for the rest of my life, "For heaven's sake, it was a joke."
;D
that's some really funny stuff

maybe God is just keeping Elliott Carter alive so long to make up for his unforgivable atonal sins  :o
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on April 24, 2007, 10:23:41 AM
;D
that's some really funny stuff

maybe God is just keeping Elliott Carter alive so long to make up for his unforgivable atonal sins  :o

No, He is keeping him alive so that he (Mr.Carter) may continue to enrich our lives with his great, lovely, late-period work. It sort of makes up for all the random suffering He (God) dishes out on a regular basis.

As I've said before, the piece was meant to twit anti-Carterites by putting some of their sillier statements into the composer's mouth — such as the belief that nobody likes the music, and that people who say they do are just being pretentious. But anti-Carterites seem to like it, too, since they think it confirms their opinions.

I am now letting my child go into the wide world to fend for itself. I shall say no more about it.  Fly, my pretty! ;D
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on April 24, 2007, 11:10:53 AM
I am now letting my child go into the wide world to fend for itself. I shall say no more about it.  Fly, my pretty! ;D

I think the whole thing is hilarious, and I wish your child a long and happy life.  Hey, I'm not surprised that something as well-written and funny as that piece is being circulated.  Kudos!

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on May 11, 2007, 09:19:06 AM
Exciting item from an online article about the choreographer Peter Quanz:

The new year (2008) will include his staging of Kaleidoscope for Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal.  That will be followed by Peter creating a new work for the Pennsylvania Ballet to a score by Elliott Carter, Symphony No. 1.  This will be the first time this score of the 98 year old Mr. Carter has been set for a ballet. 

And right here in Philadelphia, too, in time for Mr. Carer's centenntial. Of course, it's an early piece, but any Carter is better than no Carter. My only hope is they use live music and not a recording.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on May 14, 2007, 04:43:35 AM
Two outstanding Carter performances yesterday, with James Levine and the MET Orchestra concert at Carnegie Hall.  First, his Three Illusions (2002, 2004), which I heard Levine premiere with the BSO awhile back.  What a marvelous nine minutes or so!  Very transparent, light scoring, with lots of orchestral color. 

And ditto Dialogues for Piano and Chamber Orchestra (2003), that followed, with pianist Nicolas Hodges.  Another masterly score, one that I'd like to get to know better.  The exchanges between the piano and the orchestra reach a climax near the end (as I heard it) with each in dramatic chords, alternating back and forth.  Hodges was electrifying in the solo part, and the orchestra was its usual brilliant self in both pieces. 

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: not edward on May 14, 2007, 04:57:39 AM
And ditto Dialogues for Piano and Chamber Orchestra (2003), that followed, with pianist Nicolas Hodges.  Another masterly score, one that I'd like to get to know better.
(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/61CT4BRQ71L._SS500_.jpg)

Problem solved (and one of the best Carter discs out there).
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on May 14, 2007, 05:01:32 AM
(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/61CT4BRQ71L._SS500_.jpg)

Problem solved (and one of the best Carter discs out there).

Heh-heh...thanks for the reminder!  That's the one that Joe has been "pestering" me to buy!  (Not that it would be a trial, of course!  ;D)   I didn't realize that Hodges is on the recording...he seems to know the piece incredibly well.

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on May 14, 2007, 07:06:55 AM
You don' t have that recording yet!? What in heaven's name are you waiting for?!?!?!?!?!!?

Now that's out of my system. I'm sorry I wasn't able to get to NYC for the concert, Bruce. I can listen to Dialogues any time, of course (some of us have the %#&$@! recording, after all ), but I would like to get to know he Illusions better. I've heard it once, and I remember the music was very atractive, but that's about all at this point. We're due for a recording. But then, we're due for a lot of things.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on May 14, 2007, 07:32:58 AM
You don' t have that recording yet!? What in heaven's name are you waiting for?!?!?!?!?!!?

Now that's out of my system. I'm sorry I wasn't able to get to NYC for the concert, Bruce. I can listen to Dialogues any time, of course (some of us have the %#&$@! recording, after all ), but I would like to get to know he Illusions better. I've heard it once, and I remember the music was very atractive, but that's about all at this point. We're due for a recording. But then, we're due for a lot of things.

 ;D

I suspect you would have loved the concert yesterday, and yes, lets hope Illusions gets recorded soon, maybe even with the Met Orchestra?  That's probably too much to hope for. 

PS, Carter was there of course, came up onstage (with some help from Nic Hodges) and got his "usual" standing ovation from the crowd.  He, Levine and Hodges were up there for a good minute or two, smiling and nodding as the bravos continued. 

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on May 27, 2007, 06:28:01 AM
From today's Times, an article on James Levine:

Mr. Levine offered a persuasive argument for challenging contemporary fare. That a composer of Mr. Carter’s stature is still producing ingenious works in his late 90s is a “unique situation in music history,” Mr. Levine said, and he intends to take advantage of it. Holding up a score Mr. Carter had just sent him — “Interventions,” a new work for piano and orchestra —Mr. Levine described himself as “like a kid in a candy store.” The plan is to perform the piece at Carnegie Hall on Dec. 11, 2008, Mr. Carter’s 100th birthday, with Mr. Levine conducting the Boston Symphony and Daniel Barenboim as soloist.

Yet another premiere (and a third piano concerto!). I guess this is the piece based on the Irish folk tune ;)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: not edward on May 27, 2007, 06:32:36 AM
From today's Times, an article on James Levine:

Mr. Levine offered a persuasive argument for challenging contemporary fare. That a composer of Mr. Carter’s stature is still producing ingenious works in his late 90s is a “unique situation in music history,” Mr. Levine said, and he intends to take advantage of it. Holding up a score Mr. Carter had just sent him — “Interventions,” a new work for piano and orchestra —Mr. Levine described himself as “like a kid in a candy store.” The plan is to perform the piece at Carnegie Hall on Dec. 11, 2008, Mr. Carter’s 100th birthday, with Mr. Levine conducting the Boston Symphony and Daniel Barenboim as soloist.

Yet another premiere (and a third piano concerto!). I guess this is the piece based on the Irish folk tune ;)

I saw that too, and when I saw you posting in this thread I made a mental bet you'd been reading the Times today. ;)

I hope it's a more substantial work than Soundings: Carter writes so well for piano and orchestra that a medium-to-large-scale piano and orchestra work would be a real treat.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on May 27, 2007, 07:33:34 AM
The article also said Levine and the MTt's performances of Dialogues and Three Illusions were "remarkable."

Edward, I think Mr. Carter may be past writing large-scale, substantial, longish works. I recall that Levine was trying to get another Symphonia out of him when he wrote Three Illusions --- a total of nine minutes. He told Levine he didn't think he had another big piece in him, I believe. I doubt Interventions will give you what you're looking for, unless it's got more than one movement.

According to the Boosey Web site, the new Horn Concerto clocks in at 15 minutes, which is as long as A Symphony of Three Orchestras. I'm looking forward to that.

I'm still waiting for that Sixth Quartet, and I'm waiting for someone to plan an all-Carter centennial orchestral concert.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: not edward on May 27, 2007, 08:13:26 AM
I was kind of assuming we won't see anything much over 20 minutes, but obviously Carter's written plenty weighty pieces under that length: A Symphony of Three Orchestras, Dialogues the Boston Concerto and so on. Given his age, anything of that sort of weight would be wonderful.

I'm still looking into finding a reason to be in Boston in mid-November, though. ;)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on May 27, 2007, 09:05:08 AM

I'm still looking into finding a reason to be in Boston in mid-November, though.

I would think the Horn Concerto and the opportunity to meet Philadelphia's leading expert on Carter would be reason enough ...  ;)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on June 06, 2007, 09:00:09 AM
Here's my review (http://www.musicweb-international.com/SandH/2007/Jan-Jun07/met1305.htm) of the Carter works (Three Illusions and Dialogues) on that program by Levine and the Met Orchestra.

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on June 06, 2007, 12:27:12 PM
Thanks, Bruce. Nicely done. I really have a hankering to hear the Illusions again. I hope someone, somewhere manages to record it.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on June 06, 2007, 12:31:13 PM
Thanks, Bruce. Nicely done. I really have a hankering to hear the Illusions again. I hope someone, somewhere manages to record it.

Thank you, Joe!  And I agree.  Surely at only nine minutes it will find its way onto a recording...

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on June 06, 2007, 01:42:31 PM
Oh, heck; two of the pieces I'm working on now are longer  ;)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on June 06, 2007, 02:06:57 PM
Oh, heck; two of the pieces I'm working on now are longer  ;)

Well, aren't you just the cat's pajamas ...  ;)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on June 06, 2007, 02:08:09 PM
I will thank you, Sir, not to refer to me as feline sleepwear!  ;)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on June 06, 2007, 02:08:50 PM
Surely at only nine minutes it will find its way onto a recording...

Question is, which orchestra? Levine has now conducted it with both the BSO and the MET, which means it will probably be recorded with the London Sinfonietta.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on June 06, 2007, 02:10:10 PM
There must be an archival tape of the BSO.  I'm not sure what further discussions need to take place to set future BSO recordings a-rolling in the pipeline.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on June 25, 2007, 07:37:19 AM
This just in from the EC e-mail network:

Call for papers

Tribute to Elliott Carter

An International Conference


Organized by the C.R.A.L
 (Center for Research in Arts and Langage) EHESS/CNRS (music team), Paris

December 11-12, 2008

Paris, France


Elliott Carter, who continues to compose major works, full of admirable inventiveness, refinement and vitality, will celebrate his 100th birthday on December 11, 2008.
This conference seeks to honor this great artist whose the extraordinarily rich and prolific career invites to new studies and reflexion.

The selection committee encourages participants to explore a broad range of approaches : analytical, esthetical, historical, philosophical and even socio-political.

Possible topics (not restrictive) :

Carter’s language
Tradition and innovation
Interpreting Carter’s music
Carter and Europe
Carter and America
Influences (literature, arts, sciences, etc.)
Writings

Each paper will be limited to a 30-minute presentation with an additional 10-minute discussion follow up.

Languages of the conference : French or English

Papers will be published on the website of the CRAL.

Please send an abstract of not more than 300 words as well as a short résumé to :
Carterparis2008@aol.com or maxnoubel@aol.com

 or to the postal address :

École des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales
CRAL
Secrétariat de direction
(Colloque Elliott Carter)
105, boulevard Raspail
75 006   Paris France

Scientific director : Max Noubel, CRAL/EHESS

Deadline : December 1,  2008



So get busy, people. Paris in December, and two days of academic papers. You just know it's going to be a wild time.

For myself, I'll be spending the centenary listening to the music, rather than listening to academics talk about it. If there are no concerts in New York, I'll take the day off and lock myself in my apartment with my CDs.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on June 26, 2007, 12:28:44 PM
And another Carter event on the horizon: next year's Focus! Festival at Juilliard will be called All About Elliott, a week's worth of free concerts, presumably with a lot of his music.  The closing concert alone should be worth hearing:

Feb. 2, 2008

Juilliard Orchestra
James Levine, Conductor
Cellist TBA

Ives: Orchestral Set No. 1: Three Places in New England
Carter: Cello Concerto
Carter: Symphonia: sum fluxae pretium spei

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on June 26, 2007, 12:33:33 PM
Feb. 2, 2008

Juilliard Orchestra
James Levine, Conductor
Cellist TBA

Well, they had better A that cellist ASAP, Bruce  8)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on June 26, 2007, 12:42:25 PM
Well, they had better A that cellist ASAP, Bruce  8)

The soloists are usually Juilliard students as well, so perhaps they are waiting until fall begins to select someone studying then.  Could be quite an evening! 

PS, silly me, I forgot to mention the opening concert:

January 25, 2008

Musicians from the New Juilliard Ensemble
and the Lucerne Festival Academy
Pierre Boulez, Conductor  :D

Varèse: Intégrales
Carter: Triple Duo
Stravinsky: Concertino (for twelve instruments)
Carter: Penthode
Boulez: Derive I
Carter: Clarinet Concerto

The combined ensemble will revive this program at the Lucerne Festival in summer 2008.

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Mark G. Simon on June 26, 2007, 02:54:16 PM
Juilliard Orchestra
James Levine, Conductor
Cellist TBA


Carter Brey, maybe?

(Carter plays Carter)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on June 26, 2007, 05:30:16 PM

Ives: Orchestral Set No. 1
Ives: Three Places in New England

This confuses me. The Orchestral Set No. 1 and Three Places in New England are the same piece.

Bruce, what are some of the other concerts? Will they be doing the Double Concerto?
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on June 27, 2007, 03:15:41 AM
This confuses me. The Orchestral Set No. 1 and Three Places in New England are the same piece.

Maybe it's the Set No. 1 for Theater Orchestra?
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on June 27, 2007, 05:26:08 AM
This confuses me. The Orchestral Set No. 1 and Three Places in New England are the same piece.

Bruce, what are some of the other concerts? Will they be doing the Double Concerto?


Sorry, my mistake (now corrected). 

The other concerts during the week haven't been listed yet.  Usually they are smaller works (i.e., chamber music) with the big pieces as "bookends" for the festival. 

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on June 28, 2007, 12:15:51 PM
Slow day at work, and I have just wasted an hour putting together a numbered, chronological list of Mr. Carter's works. There are 116 pieces (if I missed any, let me know), including a couple of very new pieces, HBHH for solo oboe and Matribute, for piano. The median line falls between 58 and 59, so that the midpoint of Mr. Carter's output lies somewhere in 1990, when he was 81 (for most of the year). In other words, he's written as many works in the past 17 years as he wrote in the previous 54. Now, some of the later works are counted twice — the three movements of the Symphonia, or each of the Three Illusions for example. I think this is legitimate, since they can be played separately or together. It doesn't change the count much, and in any event, the early ballets are also counted twice, both as full pieces and as suites.  0:)

1. Tarantella    1936   
2. Harvest Home   1937   
3. Let's Be Gay   1937   
4. Heart Not So Heavy As Mine   1938   
5. Tell Me Where is Fancy Bred   1938
6. Pocahontas    1939
7. Pocahontas, Suite from the Ballet   1939   
8. Canonic Suite (alto saxophones)   1939   
9. Canonic Suite (clarinets)   1939   

10. Pastorale 1941   
11. Symphony No. 1   1942
12. The Rose Family   1943
13. Dust of Snow   1943
14. Voyage   1943   
15. Elegy 1943
16. The Harmony of Morning   1944   
17. Holiday Overture   1944
18. Musicians Wrestle Everywhere 1945
19. Piano Sonata, 1945-46
20. The Minotaur   1947   
21. The Minotaur, Suite from the Ballet   1947
22. Sonata for Cello and Piano   1948   
23. Woodwind Quintet   1948   
24. Eight Etudes and a Fantasy   1949   


25. Eight Pieces for Four Timpani   1950   
26. String Quartet No. 1   1950   
27. Sonata for Flute, Oboe, Cello and Harpsichord   1952
28. Variations for Orchestra   1955
29. String Quartet No. 2   1959


30. Double Concerto   1961
31. Concerto for Piano   1964   
32. Concerto for Orchestra   1969


33. Canon for Three Equal Instruments “In Memoriam Igor Stravinsky”   1971   
34. String Quartet No. 3   1971   
35. Duo   1973   
36. Brass Quintet   1974
37. A Fantasy about Purcell’s “Fantasia upon One Note”   1974   
38. A Mirror on Which to Dwell   1975   
39. Three Poems of Robert Frost   1975   
40. A Symphony of Three Orchestras   1976   
41. Syringa   1978   


42. Night Fantasies   1980   
43. In Sleep, in Thunder   1981   
44. Triple Duo    1983   
45. Changes   1983   
46. Riconoscenza   1984   
47. Canon for 4 - Homage to William 1984
48. Penthode   1985   
49. Esprit Rude/Esprit Doux   1985   
50. String Quartet No. 4   1986   
51. A Celebration of Some 100 x 150 notes (1986)
52. Oboe Concerto   1986-1987   
53. Birthday Flourish   1988
54. Enchanted Preludes   1988   
55. Remembrance (1988)
56. Anniversary   1989
57. Three Occasions for Orchestra   1986-1989   


58. Con Leggerezza Pensosa - Omaggio a Italo Calvino   1990   
59. Violin Concerto   1990   
60. Quintet for piano and winds   1991
61. Scrivo in Vento   1991   
62. Bariolage   1992   
63. Inner Song   1992
64. Immer Neu   1992   
65. Trilogy   1992   
66. Gra   1993
67. Partita   1993   
68. Esprit Rude/Esprit Doux II   1994   
69. Fragment No. 1   1994   
70. Adagio Tenebroso   1994   
71. 90+   1994   
72. Figment   1994   
73. Of Challenge and of Love   1994
74. String Quartet No. 5   1995
75. Allegro Scorrevole   1996   
76. Clarinet Concerto   1996   
77. A 6 Letter Letter   1996
78. Symphonia: sum fluxae pretium spei   1993-1996
79. Quintet for piano and string quartet   1997
80. Shard   1997   
81. Luimen   1997   
82. What Next?   1997-1998   
83. Fragment No. 2   1999   
84. Fantasy   1999   
85. Statement   1999   
86. Two Diversions   1999   
87. Tempo e Tempi   1989-1999   

88. ASKO Concerto   1999-2000   
89. Cello Concerto   2000   
90. Retrouvailles   2000   
91. Hiyoku   2001   
92. Figment No. 2   2001
93. Steep Steps   2001   
94. Rhapsodic Musings   2001   
95. Oboe Quartet   2001   
96. 4 Lauds   1984-2001   
97. Micomicón (2002)
98. Retracing   2002
99. Boston Concerto   2002   
100. Of Rewaking   2002   
101. Au Quai   2002   
102. Dialogues   2003   
103. Call 2003
104. More's Utopia (2004)
105. Fons Juventatis (2004)
106. Three Illusions for Orchestra   2004   
107. Mosaic   2004   
108. Réflexions   2004
109. Soundings   2005   
110. Intermittences   2005   
111. Catenaires 2005
112. Horn Concerto (2006)
113. In the Distances of Sleep (2006)
114. HBHH (2007)
115. Matribute (2007)
116. Interventions, for piano and orcestra (2007)
117. Three Mad-rigales for six solo voices (2007)
118. Sound Fields for strings (2007)

Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on June 28, 2007, 12:24:02 PM
The median line falls between 58 and 59, so that the midpoint of Mr. Carter's output lies somewhere in 1990, when he was 82. In other words, he's written as many works in the past 17 years as he wrote in the previous 54.

This is, to me, the most fascinating part of your interesting project.  Just seeing the works divided by decades is useful; I had no idea he had written so little during the 1960s. 

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: bwv 1080 on June 28, 2007, 12:24:44 PM
So Joe are all of them available on a recording (except for a few of the newer pieces)?
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: bwv 1080 on June 28, 2007, 12:29:18 PM
So here is my listening list (pieces I do not know)

1. Tarantella    1936   
2. Harvest Home   1937   
3. Let's Be Gay   1937   
4. Heart Not So Heavy As Mine   1938   
5. Tell Me Where is Fancy Bred   1938
6. Pocahontas    1939
7. Pocahontas, Suite from the Ballet   1939   
8. Canonic Suite (alto saxophones)   1939   
9. Canonic Suite (clarinets)   1939   
10. Pastorale 1941   
11. Symphony No. 1   1942
12. The Rose Family   1943
13. Dust of Snow   1943
14. Voyage   1943   
16. The Harmony of Morning   1944   
17. Holiday Overture   1944
18. Musicians Wrestle Everywhere 1945
20. The Minotaur   1947   
21. The Minotaur, Suite from the Ballet   1947
27. Sonata for Flute, Oboe, Cello and Harpsichord   1952
28. Variations for Orchestra   1955
30. Double Concerto   1961
33. Canon for Three Equal Instruments “In Memoriam Igor Stravinsky”   1971   
36. Brass Quintet   1974
37. A Fantasy about Purcell’s “Fantasia upon One Note”   1974      
39. Three Poems of Robert Frost   1975      
44. Triple Duo    1983   
47. Canon for 4 - Homage to William 1984
53. Birthday Flourish   1988
62. Bariolage   1992   
63. Inner Song   1992
64. Immer Neu   1992   
65. Trilogy   1992   
68. Esprit Rude/Esprit Doux II   1994   
73. Of Challenge and of Love   1994
77. A 6 Letter Letter   1996
81. Luimen   1997   
82. What Next?   1997-1998   
84. Fantasy   1999   
85. Statement   1999   
91. Hiyoku   2001   
93. Steep Steps   2001   
94. Rhapsodic Musings   2001   
95. Oboe Quartet   2001   
96. 4 Lauds   1984-2001   
97. Micomicón (2002)
98. Retracing   2002
100. Micomicón   2002   
101. Of Rewaking   2002   
102. Au Quai   2002   
104. Call 2003
105. More's Utopia (2004)
106. Fons Juventatis (2004)
107. Three Illusions for Orchestra   2004   
108. Mosaic   2004   
109. Réflexions   2004
110. Soundings   2005   
111. Intermittences   2005   
112. Catenaires 2005
113. Horn Concerto (2006)
114. In the Distances of Sleep (2006)
115. HBHH (2007)
116. Matribute (2007)


Thanks for posting this, this really brings out Carter's productivity over the last 10 years or so.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on June 28, 2007, 12:35:24 PM
So Joe are all of them available on a recording (except for a few of the newer pieces)?

I believe everything from 1 through 96 has been recorded, except maybe the Birthday Flourish (BV* 53), which I have never heard. I think I have everything else. Of the newer works, only The Boston Concerto (BV 99) is available commercially. (I have a couple bootlegs of newer pieces).

* BV= Barron Verzeichnis
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on June 29, 2007, 02:38:03 AM
Thanks, Joe; very helpful!
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on June 29, 2007, 04:14:56 AM
I had no idea he had written so little during the 1960s. 
--Bruce

It makes sense, though, since that was the decade in which he perfected his hypercomplex style. He wrote more pieces than I had thought in the 40s, but it was mostly neoclassical stuff with a few experiemental pieces mixed in.  Productivity fell off during the 50s, as the new style came into being, then  picked up again in the 70s.

But I'd like to know how he spent most of his time in the 60s. It couldn't have all been composition and note-keeping.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: bwv 1080 on June 29, 2007, 05:32:14 AM

But I'd like to know how he spent most of his time in the 60s. It couldn't have all been composition and note-keeping.

dropping acid and travelling to India with the Beatles?
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on June 29, 2007, 06:29:18 AM
dropping acid and travelling to India with the Beatles?

 ;D

He's the one in the picture on the far left, between Donovan and Mia Farrow ...
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on June 29, 2007, 06:54:05 AM
Correction: I counted Micomicon twice on the list. Number comes down to 115. Changed it retroactively, rather than posting the whole thing again.  Median is still BV 58, 1990.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on June 29, 2007, 07:58:04 AM
BWV, I've whittled your list down to the major pieces I think you should seek out first: 

27. Sonata for Flute, Oboe, Cello and Harpsichord   1952
28. Variations for Orchestra   1955
30. Double Concerto   1961
36. Brass Quintet   1974
44. Triple Duo    1983   
65. Trilogy   1992   
81. Luimen   1997   
87. Tempo e Tempi   1989-1999 
82. What Next?   1997-1998   
95. Oboe Quartet   2001   
96. 4 Lauds   1984-2001   
98. Retracing   2002
101. Of Rewaking   2002   
107. Three Illusions for Orchestra   2004   
110. Soundings   2005   
114. In the Distances of Sleep (2006)

Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on June 29, 2007, 08:10:46 AM
Great advice, Joe.  That's a very well-considered survey that shows off Carter's range.

I've mentioned it before (maybe on the old board), but I love this recording of the Variations for Orchestra with Levine and Chicago.  (And OK, I confess: I love the cover.  ;D)

(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/G/01/ciu/c8/b6/d40eb2c008a07259a1989010.L.jpg)

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Mark G. Simon on June 29, 2007, 08:31:17 AM
It makes sense, though, since that was the decade in which he perfected his hypercomplex style. He wrote more pieces than I had thought in the 40s, but it was mostly neoclassical stuff with a few experiemental pieces mixed in.  Productivity fell off during the 50s, as the new style came into being, then  picked up again in the 70s.

But I'd like to know how he spent most of his time in the 60s. It couldn't have all been composition and note-keeping.

Just a guess, but:

One of the things he had to do was learn to compose in his new manner. He would have been compiling his "Harmony Book" during this period, as well as a table of rhythmic ratios which would enable him to relate any tempo to any other tempo in terms of "this in the time of that" and calculate how many beats would have to occur in two simultaneous tempos before the beats would coincide (since he likes to structure his pieces around these moments of coincidence). He had to absorb this information to the point where it came naturally and he didn't have to think about the mechanics of it too much.

Also, he was just starting to become famous and so his time was in greater demand than he might have been accustomed to. He would have had to do a lot of negotiating with performers, publishers, etc. that he can now have others do for him now that he's a Big Name. And he probably had to baby sit with a lot of performers and teach them to count the crazy rhythms that nobody was yet comfortable playing.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: bwv 1080 on June 29, 2007, 09:23:56 AM
BWV, I've whittled your list down to the major pieces I think you should seek out first: 

27. Sonata for Flute, Oboe, Cello and Harpsichord   1952
28. Variations for Orchestra   1955
30. Double Concerto   1961
36. Brass Quintet   1974
44. Triple Duo    1983   
65. Trilogy   1992   
81. Luimen   1997   
87. Tempo e Tempi   1989-1999 
82. What Next?   1997-1998   
95. Oboe Quartet   2001   
96. 4 Lauds   1984-2001   
98. Retracing   2002
101. Of Rewaking   2002   
107. Three Illusions for Orchestra   2004   
110. Soundings   2005   
114. In the Distances of Sleep (2006)



Thanks,  I must have missed Tempo e Tempi, because I have it on the Quintets and Voices DVD.  I am assuming all the late pieces are on Bridge and I know the recordings for the 50's and 60's pieces.  Who has recorded the Brass Quintet?
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on June 29, 2007, 10:22:08 AM
James, all your suggestions are excellent, but I think BWV already knows them. I was taking my recommendations from the list of works BWV says he hasn't heard yet. As for vocal music: If you haven't heard Tempo e tempi, I'd suggest you look into it. It contains some of the most sensual (sensuous?) music Carter has written. Perhaps it took the Italian language to bring out that side of him. I was also very pleased with "In the Distances of Sleep," though that has not been recorded yet.

BWV, the Brass Quintet, one of my favorite of all Carter's works, is available on CD in a performance by the American Brass Quintet. There is also a CD called "The Wallace Collection" that includes a very luminous rendition, but I don't know if it's been discontinued. I can recommend either disk with a clear conscience.

And everybody, big news: I have just heard from an inside source that What Next? is scheduled for a full staging at the Miller Theater, NYC, in December.

Oh.
Happy.
Days.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Lethevich on June 29, 2007, 03:07:52 PM
Slow day at work, and I have just wasted an hour putting together a numbered, chronological list of Mr. Carter's works.

IMO contributions like that to his Wikipedia page (or a seperate works page) would be valuable - for a significant composer mr. Carter's Wikipedia page is a bit crummy - no recommended recordings, no photo etc. It'd be neat to get it to Good Article status...
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on June 30, 2007, 07:07:18 AM
thanks joe, ill try to check it out, another vocal work ive heard was syringa, didnt do much for me either unfortunately...but the idea of a Carter brass quintet is something id like to hear, too bad naxos doesnt have a cycle of his works going, its about time me thinks...

Oh, I love Syringa. Have ever since I first heard it live, back in December 1978. I like it in part, I think, for it's length. With just one big movement, the the music gathers a momentum and force that Carter's shorter songs don't have. And the part where the bartitone sings, "Apollo, Apollo" gives me chills.

Tempo e tempi shows another side of Carter. The songs are all very brief --- one consists of only one line --- and they depend a great deal on tone color for their effect. Beautiful stuff. I must say, though, I haven't gotten into "Of Challenge and of Love" very much.

The Bridge label is the one doing the Carter series. There are seven volumes so far.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on June 30, 2007, 07:15:28 AM
Night Fantasies is his piano masterpiece that doesnt get enough attention IMO. A stunning piece.

Agree it's stunning, though I'm not sure it doesn't get enough attention. As his most substantial solo work since the Piano Sonata, it's been picked up by a lot of pianists. I've heard it live about five or six times --- last time, with Ursula Oppens, was just this past winter, and the most exciting reading I've encountered --- and it's been recorded eight times.  Extraordinary for a postwar, atonal piece. It's got to be some kind of a record. I'd go so far as to say it's entered the repertoire.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: not edward on June 30, 2007, 07:46:45 AM
Tempo e tempi shows another side of Carter. The songs are all very brief --- one consists of only one line --- and they depend a great deal on tone color for their effect. Beautiful stuff. I must say, though, I haven't gotten into "Of Challenge and of Love" very much.
I think Tempo e tempi is probably my favourite of Carter's song cycles: it seems to me the finest distillation of his late lyrical style (though the Boston Concerto comes close).

With Of Challenge and of Love, I didn't get it in the Lucy Shelton recording on Koch, but I'm rather more partial to Tony Arnold on Bridge.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on June 30, 2007, 09:42:33 AM
thats good to hear, do you happen to know how many recordings of the work are available? i have heard aimard's recording, and i have that rosen disc, which is good...it has the piano sonata and 90+ also

Let's see, in addition to Aimard and Rosen, Night Fantisies been recorded by Aleck Karis, Stephen Drury, Ursula Oppens, Winston Choi, Florence Millet and Paul Jacobs. Of all those, I think only the Millet and Jacobs recordings are out of print. Jacobs' performance, the first, on Nonesuch, never made it onto CD. Maybe also Karis; it's been so long since I bought that disk I can't be sure. You can always do search on Amazon. You can also hear Drury's reading for free at artofthestaes.org.

As for recommendations, my favorite CD are by Oppens and Drury, with Aimard a close second. I have Choi and Millet, too, but I have not listened to them much. I'll have to go back and listen again, maybe give you a full report.  ;)

I wish Oppens would record the Noght Fantasies again, though. Judging by the live performance I heard at Curtis, she's come a long way with the piece. She was really on top of it. She made it feel like an organic whole, with each episode rising naturally out of another.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: not edward on June 30, 2007, 11:23:15 AM
There's also a Louise Bessette recording on her disc 'Quebec 5, USA 3'.

(http://www.louisebessette.com/pochettes/bessette-quebec-usa.jpg)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on June 30, 2007, 11:53:38 AM
There's also a Louise Bessette recording on her disc 'Quebec 5, USA 3'.

That makes nine. Thanks, Edward. I hadn't known.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: bwv 1080 on June 30, 2007, 01:12:11 PM


I wish Oppens would record the Noght Fantasies again, though. Judging by the live performance I heard at Curtis, she's come a long way with the piece. She was really on top of it. She made it feel like an organic whole, with each episode rising naturally out of another.


I think her performance of 90+ on the Arditti 5th SQ disk is about the best Carter piano recorded. 
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: bwv 1080 on June 30, 2007, 04:34:03 PM
I made some changes to the Carter entry on the Wikipedia page, adding some information on Carter's musical style.  I would appreciate any feedback or edits.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: bwv 1080 on June 30, 2007, 05:09:27 PM
well it is supposed to be factual.  what it does need however is a paragraph or two on Carter's artistic goals - his concepts of musicians as dramatic actors and his relationship with 20th century american poetry
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: bwv 1080 on June 30, 2007, 06:19:25 PM
Carter's technique is fascinating and an important component of his art.   It is worth discussing. 
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Lethevich on June 30, 2007, 11:26:50 PM
I made some changes to the Carter entry on the Wikipedia page, adding some information on Carter's musical style.  I would appreciate any feedback or edits.

*cheer*

Composers are notorious for having either self-serving, poor, or non-existent websites, so Wikipedia is many peoples first port of call when investigating new names - which IMO makes it an important resource to contribute to :)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on July 01, 2007, 06:57:48 AM
Checked out the wikipedia article, and have added Interventions for piano and orchestra to the work list--0that is, my own work list on page three of this thread. We're back to 116. 

BWV, I like your attempt to "humanize" Mr. Carter's aesthetic, as it were. The point about fluidity and drama is especially important. Mr. Carter has also talked about his desire to portray a "different form of motion," in which players are not locked in step with the downbeat of every measure. He has said that such steady pulses remind him of soldiers marching or horses trotting, sounds that we in the late 20th century do not hear at all anymore. He said he wants his music to capture the sort of continuous acceleration of deceleration we feel in an automobile or an aeroplane --- his own and ironically old-fashioned sounding word.   
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: bwv 1080 on July 01, 2007, 08:05:47 AM
Checked out the wikipedia article, and have added Interventions for piano and orchestra to the work list. There are now 116 works.

BWV, I like your attempt to "humanize" Mr. Carter's aesthetic, as it were. The point about fluidity and drama are especially important. He has also talked about his desire to portray is "different form of motion," in which players are not locked in step with the downbeat of every measure. He has said that such steady pulses remind him of soldiers marching or horses trotting, sounds that we in the late 20th century do not hear at all anymore. He said he wants his music to capture the sort of continuous acceleration of deceleration we feel in an automobile or an aeroplane --- his own and ironically old-fashioned sounding word.   

I stole your words there and wrote them into the article
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on July 01, 2007, 10:10:47 AM
I stole your words there and wrote them into the article

Well, thanks!  :)

I've also added a list of recommended recordings. Only seven, but I think they represent a range of Carter's mature music. I could have listed a lot more, but I didn't want to overwhelm potential consumers. These pieces provide the best introduction, IMO.

Any better now, James?  ;)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on July 03, 2007, 02:51:30 PM
A bit of Carterian trivia: In addition to beng Independenc Day, tomorrow, July 4, 2007, is the 100th birthday of Mr. Carter's wife, who was born Helen Frost Jones. Mrs. Carter died in 2003 at age 95. Some of the couple's friends credit her with being the motive force behind her husband's career. In the early 40s, for example, she was the one who insisted he take the job teaching at St. John's College, Annapolis, to get away from New York and out from under the influence of Aaron Copland.  One friend of the family described her as "the bad cop" who kept visitors and curiosity seekers at bay so her husband could concentrate on his music.

Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on July 21, 2007, 01:49:23 PM
And everybody, big news: I have just heard from an inside source that What Next? is scheduled for a full staging at the Miller Theater, NYC, in December.

Oh.
Happy.
Days.

You are correct!  I just got Miller Theatre's schedule for next season, and What Next? will be performed four nights, Dec. 7, 8, 9 and 11, by AXIOM (a contemporary music ensemble at Juilliard), conducted by Jeffrey Milarsky and directed by Christopher Alden, with scenic design by Andrew Holland.  Sounds absolutely great.  (May have to go more than once!  :D)

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on July 21, 2007, 04:37:37 PM
You are correct!  I just got Miller Theatre's schedule for next season, and What Next? will be performed four nights, Dec. 7, 8, 9 and 11, by AXIOM (a contemporary music ensemble at Juilliard), conducted by Jeffrey Milarsky and directed by Christopher Alden, with scenic design by Andrew Holland.  Sounds absolutely great.  (May have to go more than once!  :D)

--Bruce

Let's shoot at least for the 11th, which is Mr. Carter's 99th birthday.

Scheduled performances of Carter's music are proliferating. Boosey and Hawkes' website lists 93 so far, and that's just the post 1983 stuff. Even the Delaware Symphony has scheduled to play Partita in Wilmington next year. Wilmington, for heaven's sake. Since it's only about an hour drive,I think I might go.  (Though there's always a chance they might cancel, of course.)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on July 21, 2007, 04:47:29 PM
Scheduled performances of Carter's music are proliferating. Boosey and Hawkes' website lists 93 so far, and that's just the post 1983 stuff. Even the Delaware Symphony has scheduled to play Partita in Wilmington next year. Wilmington, for heaven's sake. Since it's only about an hour drive,I think I might go.  (Though there's always a chance they might cancel, of course.)

Wow, "go Delaware!"  For an hour's drive, it would definitely be worth it.  I'd be very curious to hear how they did with it.

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on August 12, 2007, 06:43:21 AM
More exciting news:

From the Pacifica Quartet's Web site:

Carter CD Coming

The Pacifica Quartet is currently recording its signature performances of Elliott Carter's string quartets. Issued on the Naxos label, the first disc will offer Quartet No. 1 and Quartet No. 5. Check www.pacificaquartet.com for release date and availability.


Only one thing could be better: a goddam Sixth Quartet.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on August 12, 2007, 07:13:10 AM
Beauty!
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on August 12, 2007, 07:23:10 AM
Beauty!

This from a man who's never actually heard the quartets.  ;)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: not edward on August 12, 2007, 07:28:04 AM
This from a man who's never acually heard the quartets.  ;)
Well, now he will have even less reason not to hear them!

Fantastic news, btw. I can't wait for more Carter quartets on disc, particularly at that price and with that ensemble. It's always been a slight disappointment to me that I emigrated from Scotland about a month before the Pacifica played all five at the Edinburgh festival...talk about a missed chance!
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on August 12, 2007, 07:36:01 AM
Scheduled performances of Carter's music are proliferating. Boosey and Hawkes' website lists 93 so far, and that's just the post 1983 stuff.

You know, I just realized that except for the String Quartets and the piano pieces, I haven't heard anything about performances of Mr. Carter's pre-Boosey orchestral work. Who's playing the Variations? The Symphony of Three Orchestras? The Piano and Double concertos? And the Concerto for Orchestra, which is the only one of these works I've never heard live? Orchestral programmers seem fixated on the late period.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on August 12, 2007, 07:40:19 AM
It's always been a slight disappointment to me that I emigrated from Scotland about a month before the Pacifica played all five at the Edinburgh festival...talk about a missed chance!

I've heard all of them in concert at one point or another, and most of them more than once, but I've never heard all five together. Closest I came was back in the early 1990s, before the Fifth Quartet appeared, when the Juilliard played the first four at the Free Library of Philadelphia. That was a memorable night.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on August 12, 2007, 09:32:38 AM
This from a man who's never actually heard the quartets.  ;)

Your information is out of date :-)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on August 12, 2007, 10:36:34 AM
Your information is out of date :-)

Well, out with it, man. Number? Circumstances? Impressions?
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on August 13, 2007, 04:24:23 AM
First and Second Quartets, the Composers Quartet on Nonesuch, probably 3-4 listens so far, highly favorable impression.  Like much of Carter's music, I need to listen many times more to get a better sense of both profile and detail;  but I'll get there, and these quartets well incline me to seek the other quartets out.
Title: Sir Elliott Carter
Post by: karlhenning on August 13, 2007, 04:42:41 AM
The Second Quartet has a cadenza for everybody! -- except the second violin.

What's up widdat, Joe?  8)
Title: Re: Sir Elliott Carter
Post by: Joe Barron on August 13, 2007, 05:22:20 AM
The Second Quartet has a cadenza for everybody! -- except the second violin.

What's up widdat, Joe?  8)

Well, the second violin is the prodigal son's brother, the good sibling who stays at home and keeps things running, or in this case, counts time, while everyone else runs off to express himself.
Title: Sir Elliott Carter
Post by: Joe Barron on August 13, 2007, 01:11:31 PM
Sir Elliott? What's up with that, Karl?
Title: Re: Sir Elliott Carter
Post by: karlhenning on August 13, 2007, 02:40:42 PM
Sir Elliott? What's up with that, Karl?

Oh, unofficial homage, that's all!
Title: Re: Sir Elliott Carter
Post by: Joe Barron on August 14, 2007, 08:09:50 AM
Oh, unofficial homage, that's all!

Well, OK, but it's just so ... so ... English.
Title: Sieur Elliott de Cartier
Post by: karlhenning on August 14, 2007, 08:13:58 AM
Well, OK, but it's just so ... so ... English.

Eh bien, nous changerons vite!  8)
Title: re: Elliott von Carter
Post by: bwv 1080 on August 14, 2007, 08:15:35 AM
Well, OK, but it's just so ... so ... English.

It is better than Elliott Carter Khan or Don Elliott
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on August 28, 2007, 01:54:46 PM
A little bit more news from the Boosey Web site:
On 15 November James Levine conducts the first performance of Elliott Carter’s Horn Concerto with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and its principal horn James Sommerville. Further performances at Symphony Hall in Boston take place on 16 and 17 November, and a performance at Carnegie Hall is planned for 2008.
 
Carter’s new 15-minute work for piano and orchestra, Interventions, receives its premiere in the 2008/09 season with Daniel Barenboim and the Boston Symphony Orchestra conducted by James Levine. The work is co-commissioned by the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Carnegie Hall and the Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin.
 
Carter Centenary
Elliott Carter celebrates his 100th birthday on 11 December 2008, a remarkable creative milestone as his compositional flow continues unabated. Over the past months he has composed Three Mad-rigales for six solo voices, Sound Fields for strings, and new works for solo piano and for double bass.


The Carnegie Hall performance of the Horn Concerto and the new Sound Fields were the bits most interesting to me. If you'll recall, I said in my review of the Boston Concerto that I wished Mr. C. would write a string symphony. Maybe this is it. Unfortunately, there's no more info at the publisher's site. I'm wondering how long the piece is and just how many strings it uses.

Mad-rigales also sounds exciting. It's a clever title, and Mr. C. has not written for unaccompanied voices since the nineteen frickin' forties.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on August 31, 2007, 07:28:40 AM
Ah, sometimes I get the feeling I'm talking to myself.

In any event, below is a list of concerts I'm planning or hoping to attend this year in celebration of Mr. Carter's centenary. If anyone knows of more on the east coast, please do list them. And send me an email if you'd like to join me for any of them.  For people I've met on the net, you're all fairly harmless.

2007
Nov 17    Horn Concerto, Boston
Dec. 11    What Next? NYC

2008
Jan 18    Complete Piano music, Ursula Oppens, NYC
Jan 25    Penthode, Tripe Duo, Clarinet Concerto, Juilliard NYC
Jan 29   All-Carter program, Joel Sachs conducting, NYC
Jan 30   Complete Quartets, Pacifica, NYC
Feb 02   Cello Concerto, Symphonia, NYC
Feb 27   Piano Quintet, NYC
Mar 18   Diversions, Aimard, Philadelphia
Apr 04   All-Carter program, St. Louis Symphony, St. Louis
Apr 12   Partita, Wilmington, Del.

Here's the St. Louis program:

ELLIOTT CARTER Holiday Overture
ELLIOTT CARTER Of Rewaking
ELLIOTT CARTER Four Pieces for Timpani
ELLIOTT CARTER Oboe Concerto

I'm not too crazy about the way they've filled it out. Of rewaking and the Oboe Concerto are exciting, but the Holiday Overture and the timpani pieces? Come on, people. You can do better than that. But ne does have to be sympathetic. Rounding out the program with other mature, fully orchestral works would take up huge stretches of rehearsal time.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Larry Rinkel on August 31, 2007, 07:44:53 AM
You know, I just realized that except for the String Quartets and the piano pieces, I haven't heard anything about performances of Mr. Carter's pre-Boosey orchestral work. Who's playing the Variations? The Symphony of Three Orchestras? The Piano and Double concertos? And the Concerto for Orchestra, which is the only one of these works I've never heard live? Orchestral programmers seem fixated on the late period.

The NY Phil and Met Orchestras have recently done the Variations in NY.

Would love to hear the Concerto for Orch, imo possibly Carter's best thing ever.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Wendell_E on August 31, 2007, 08:12:50 AM
Ah, sometimes I get the feeling I'm talking to myself.

I, for one, always check the new postings on the thread.  I'd love to join you for them, since Carter performances in my area are non-existant, as far as I know.  My one live Carter experience New York Philharmonic play the Symphony of Three Orchestras back in 1983, when they did it for Carter's 75th birthday.

Thank goodness for recordings.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on August 31, 2007, 08:57:16 AM
The NY Phil and Met Orchestras have recently done the Variations in NY.

Would love to hear the Concerto for Orch, imo possibly Carter's best thing ever.

Larry, I was thinking more of upcoming peromances. I missed the NYPO performances of the Variations, but I did hear a fine perfromance by a student orchestra in St. Paul last year. I, too, would love to hear the concerto, which I think is the only one of Carter's major orchestral works I have not heard live. It would be great to hear it in the round. (Since I'm fantasizing, I might as well impose some conditions.)

Wendell, hello! And thanks for checking the threads.  :)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Larry Rinkel on August 31, 2007, 08:58:01 AM
Ah, sometimes I get the feeling I'm talking to myself.

In any event, below is a list of concerts I'm planning or hoping to attend this year in celebration of Mr. Carter's centenary. If anyone knows of more on the east coast, please do list them. And send me an email if you'd like to join me for any of them.  For people I've met on the net, you're all fairly harmless.

Thank you, Joe. We shall all try better in future to be gun-toting psychopaths. I plan to do some of the NY events, at least the Pacifica Quartets and one of the What's Nexts. Boosey.com lists upcoming performances of Carter works, it is probably comprehensive.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on August 31, 2007, 09:23:48 AM
Boosey.com lists upcoming performances of Carter works, it is probably comprehensive.

Well, the site hasn't listed the What Next?s yet, and it does not include performances of anything Mr. Carter wrote before he switched over from Schirmer --- that is, anything before 1983 or so.  The early and the big middle period pieces are not listed. (Why advertise someone else's product?) Note that in the reference to the Pacifica cycle, only the fourth and fifth are mentioned.   
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Larry Rinkel on August 31, 2007, 10:09:46 AM
Well, the site hasn't listed the What Next?s yet, and it does not include performances of anything Mr. Carter wrote before he switched over from Schirmer --- that is, anything before 1983 or so.  The early and the big middle period pieces are not listed. (Why advertise someone else's product?) Note that in the reference to the Pacifica cycle, only the fourth and fifth are mentioned.   
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on August 31, 2007, 10:17:48 AM
Opps! My bad. I knew I should have double checked before I shot my keyboard off. It wasn't there last time I looked. 0:)

In any event, I'm thinking of going to the Dec. 11 performance. It's a saturday, so no time off work will be required. And its EC's b-day.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on September 01, 2007, 01:37:24 PM
Thank you, Joe. We shall all try better in future to be gun-toting psychopaths.

This Machine Kills Wagner-Haters
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on September 01, 2007, 01:38:20 PM
Jan 18    [2008] Complete Piano music, Urusla Oppens, NYC

That Ursula knows no fear.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on September 01, 2007, 01:49:06 PM
That Ursula knows no fear.

Fear, heck, she's recorded most of it. I'm looking forward to the program more for Catenaires than for anything else.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on September 11, 2007, 08:27:04 AM
Levine & the BSO play Carter's Three Illusions at the Proms (http://www.boston.com/ae/music/articles/2007/09/10/before_heading_home_the_bso_joyously_plays_the_proms/)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on September 11, 2007, 08:36:21 AM
Levine & the BSO play Carter's Three Illusions at the Proms (http://www.boston.com/ae/music/articles/2007/09/10/before_heading_home_the_bso_joyously_plays_the_proms/)

Thanks for posting that - a very good review.  Also somehow missed the mention of Oppens's date, which is now on the calendar!

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on September 11, 2007, 12:52:06 PM
Here's another new work, listed on the Boosey Web site:

19/03/2008
Carter, Elliott: Figment IV 
Samuel Rhodes, viola
Kimmel Center, Philadelphia, PA, USA


This surprised me, largely because I never knew there was a Figment III.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on September 11, 2007, 03:08:47 PM
... I never knew there was a Figment III.

But there is, according to Boosey. Completed this year and scored for double bass.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Lilas Pastia on September 11, 2007, 04:00:39 PM
I just wrote a short appreciation of some recent Carter works in today's What are you listening to thread (Sept 11) ;D
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on September 12, 2007, 05:32:48 AM
Lilas,

Thanks for your comments on the other thread, though  Mr. Carter's music has never reminded me of farts or borborygmus.  ;)

And I have to disgaree with you about In the Distances of Sleep. I loved it when BH and I heard it live last year. Of course, I've only heard it once. I may be able to judge it better if I ever get the CDs people keep promising me.  0:)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Lilas Pastia on September 12, 2007, 06:56:32 PM
Joe, these farts and borborygms are utterly musical, you know  :D.

I listened to In The Distances of Sleep again yesterday. I still feel it doesn't work quite well as sung poetry. It's like the orchestra is playing one work, the singer another. But the orchestral contribution is fascinating. Let us know how you feel when you get to listen to it.

Hark ! I think I hear the postman's footsteps  8)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on September 12, 2007, 07:53:50 PM
It's like the orchestra is playing one work, the singer another.

Yeah, but Andre, that's kind of what Carter does. I remember thinking the work was very unified and smooth when I heard it last year. I thought the voice was well intergrated into the instrumental texture, but that impression might have been reinforced by the arrangment onstage: The soprano stood behind the string section, rather than downstage beside the conductor.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on September 16, 2007, 07:07:54 AM
link to a Carter audio interview on the BBC...

Thanks very much, James. Very nice interview. What's interesting is that Mr. Carter has written so much music since then that it seems a long time ago, It's strange: I'm beginning to think of anything written before 2000 as "Old Carter."

I'd like to get back to Andre and his remarks on Carter's vocal music for a moment. I've since heard In the Distances of Sleep again (thanks to Andre) and I must say I'm still impressed. Andre said that he can't quite reconcile atonality with the singing of verse. But what impresses me about Carter's vocal lines is how they match the sense and rhythm of the spoken word. Contrast them with say, those of Milton Babbitt, who tends to force the words to fit the pre-esablished musical scheme, and you may see what I mean. Mr. Carter's  expanded, irregular rhythms are appropriate to free verse. You couldn't set Wallace Stevens of Robert Lowell the way Schubert set Goethe, for example, because the verses don't have the sort of regularity that lends itself to a strophic melody.  To my ear, Mr. Carter has found a way of making the verses sound conversational. Of course, the vocal lines keep going up and down, but then, all vocal lines go up and down ...
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Wendell_E on September 16, 2007, 08:32:41 AM
Thanks for the interview link, but someone should tell the BBC that it's 'Elliott' with two 't's, not 'Elliot'.

Actually I did just tell them that.   ;D

Hmm. They also misspell Monteux.  And Stokowski.  ::)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on September 16, 2007, 09:00:44 AM
Thanks for the interview link, but someone should tell the BBC that it's 'Elliott' with two 't's, not 'Elliot'.

Actually I did just tell them that.   ;D

Hmm. They also misspell Monteux.  And Stokowski.  ::)

Yeah, I noticed that, too, but I figured they just just paid someone in the office to transcribe it phonetically. I didn't want to turn it into a thing.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on September 21, 2007, 07:50:33 AM
How Mr. Carter spent his summer vacation

Below is a list of compositions completed this year, with durations and scoring. Only Figment IV has a premiere date scheduled, though I know Levine has already performed Matribute. Interventions seems like the most substantial, but I'm most looking forward to hearing the vocal pieces and Sound Fields for string Orchestra. The latter is brief, but if we're lucky, it might become the first movement of a suite like the Illusions.

Three Mad-regales (2007) 9'
for 6 solo voices
Text :John Ashbery (E)
Scoring: S.M.A.T.Bar.B

Figment III (2007) 3'
for solo contrabass

Figment IV (2007) 3'
for solo viola
(World Premiere: 3/18/2008
Freer Gallery, Washington, DC
Samuel Rhodes)

Interventions (2007) 15'
for piano and orchestra

Matribute (2007) 4'
for piano

La Musique (2007) 2'
for mezzo-soprano solo
Text: Baudelaire (F)

Sound Fields (2007) 4'
for string orchestra
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on September 21, 2007, 08:02:40 AM
All right, show of hands:

Who's coming to Boston to hear the premiere of the Horn Concerto?
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on September 21, 2007, 08:06:14 AM
All right, show of hands: Who's coming to Boston to hear the premiere of the Horn Concerto?

Me!
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on September 21, 2007, 08:11:34 AM
Oh, and my hand is up, too, of course  :)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on September 24, 2007, 09:35:23 AM
Yet another title from this prolific year:

Clarinet Quintet (2007) 15'
for clarinet and string quartet

This is exciting. A major new chamber piece, of the same duration as the wonderful Oboe Quartet, and a companion piece to Brahms's great work, too. Listed on the Boosey site, but no word yet on a premiere.

Thanks to Richard Derby at the Bridge Records site for bringing this piece to my attention.

It's a great time to be a Carter fan. This could really be his annis mirabilis.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on September 24, 2007, 10:34:13 AM
Oh, and my hand is up, too, of course  :)

Well, it looks like it's just you and me, Karl.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on September 24, 2007, 11:34:47 AM
Well, it looks like it's just you and me, Karl.

I may join you guys, but I won't know for a few weeks. 

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on September 24, 2007, 11:41:24 AM
I may join you guys

 :D
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on October 19, 2007, 08:43:16 AM
James, thanks for reminding me of this DVD, which I haven't yet seen.  Others have made very positive comments about it. 

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on November 05, 2007, 10:29:05 AM
Firm information on the Pacifica concert and recording:

Pacifica Quartet -- The Carter Quartets
January 30, 2008 7:30 PM
New York Society for Ethical Culture
Tickets: $54.00, $44.00, $30.00

Program
Elliot Carter String Quartet No. 1
Elliot Carter String Quartet No. 2
Elliot Carter String Quartet No. 3
Elliot Carter String Quartet No. 4
Elliot Carter String Quartet No. 5

Meet the Artists
Pacifica Quartet, ensemble

About This Performance
The running time for this concert is approximately 2 hours 30 minutes, performed with two intermissions.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Not many living composers are absolutely assured that their works will be inscribed in the honor role of classics, but that?s not in doubt for Elliott Carter, who in the course of a century-long career has drawn from an apparently inexhaustible font of creative ideas. Quite a few of his pieces have long been recognized as touchstones of modernism, and none more so than his five string quartets, produced at intervals of roughly a decade between 1950 and 1995, and often cited as one of the most extraordinary quartet cycles in all of music.

The Pacifica Quartet, one of the best and brightest among younger chamber ensembles and an especially persuasive interpreter of modern music, scored a breakthrough success several years by astonishing audiences with its electrifying performances of the complete cycle of Carter's quartets... two-and-a-half hours of music in a single evening. Here it caps a daylong mini-festival that includes talks and master classes about Carter's Quartets, a historic exploration no music lover will want to miss.

SPECIAL EVENTS ASSOCIATED WITH THIS CONCERT
* On January 28th, Naxos will release the Pacifica Quartet's new album of Elliott Carter's complete string quartets as part of the label's acclaimed American Classics series. The Quartet will sign copies of the CD immediately following the concert. CDs will be available for purchase at the concert.


* On the day preceding this concert, CMS hosts a workshop with the Pacifica Quartet and other guest artists focusing on interpretation and performance of these seminal works. The day will include components of master class and panel discussion. For information, call 212-875-5788.

Wasn't aware that the Naxos recording was being released so soon. And the hell of it is, I'm more upset at the lack of a sixth quartet on the program than excited at the presence of the first five ...
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on November 05, 2007, 10:38:32 AM
Thanks, Joe, for mentioning all this, and I'm putting down Jan. 30 on the calendar.  (BTW, that night is also the first of four performances of Berio's Sinfonia with Maazel and the NY Phil...too much going on in this town...)

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on November 05, 2007, 10:43:26 AM
too much going on in this town...

Which compensates for the nothing going on in Philadelphia.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: bwv 1080 on November 05, 2007, 10:55:55 AM
Joe,

Have you heard the Pacifica play EC's quartets and how do they compare with Julliard or Arditti?
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on November 05, 2007, 10:57:31 AM
I also realize that same night, there will be one of the Focus! Festival concerts, presumably with more Carter.  Sigh...

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on November 05, 2007, 11:00:33 AM
Wow!
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on November 05, 2007, 12:44:53 PM
Have you heard the Pacifica play EC's quartets and how do they compare with Julliard or Arditti?

Sorry, BWV, but I've never had the privilege of hearing the Pacifica play the Carter quartets. They did perform the complete cycle in New York a coupe of seasons ago, but unfortunately, I missed it. I'm certainly eager to hear the Naxos recording, though.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on November 05, 2007, 02:13:21 PM
News of a the naxos recording is nice, but that evenings programme is complete overkill ... :P

Never!  ;)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: bwv 1080 on November 05, 2007, 02:16:13 PM


p.s. should be getting the 'homages & dedications' chamber miniatures disc tomorrow... 8)

That is a great disc - Lumien is worth the price alone
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: bwv 1080 on November 05, 2007, 02:59:57 PM
Hey I just noticed that the Pacifica recordings of the 1st and 5th quartets are up on the Naxos website.  Have not had time to listen to more than excerpts, but I am getting the impression that I will like the complete set better than the Arditti or Julliard
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Catison on November 09, 2007, 01:55:56 PM
I'd like to hear the Emerson SQ tackle them too...
because to be quite honest, no recording/performance of them has really convinced me or truly blown me away thus far.
The 1st seems pretty surface bound in hindsight, the 2nd & 3rd are OK, but rather dry, joyless & unmemorable...
the 4th is deadly dull, can't even remember the darn 5th, and I've heard it too. :-X
I'm starting to think that it may take another 100 years or so before something of the calibre of the Bartok 6 arises...

Yeah, everyone who likes these quartets is just crazy...
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on November 09, 2007, 02:01:58 PM
I know I am, but it's a beautiful craziness, daddy-o.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: bwv 1080 on November 09, 2007, 02:03:55 PM
I'd like to hear the Emerson SQ tackle them too...
because to be quite honest, no recording/performance of them has really convinced me or truly blown me away thus far.
The 1st seems pretty surface bound in hindsight, the 2nd & 3rd are OK, but rather dry, joyless & unmemorable...
the 4th is deadly dull, can't even remember the darn 5th, and I've heard it too. :-X
I'm starting to think that it may take another 100 years or so before something of the calibre of the Bartok 6 arises...

To each his own.  I would have to say that the Bartok 6th is my 5th favorite Bartok SQ and EC's 3rd SQ surpasses any of them (and I am a huge fan of Bartok).  It is about my favorite piece of music of any type.  There is certainly nothing dry about it
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on November 09, 2007, 02:31:59 PM
EC's 3rd SQ surpasses any of them (and I am a huge fan of Bartok).  It is about my favorite piece of music of any type.

I wonder why you and I don't talk more, BWV.

In light of James's statement, I also wonder whether he's listening to the same quartets I am. I appreciate his candor, and ceytainly he's not along in his reaction, but his stance is so different from mine that I just have to ask, Why? How can any two people be so far apart when looking at or listening to the same thing? I often have this reaction when reading critics. I ask myself, "Was this guy even at the same concert?"  Is it really just a matter of taste? :-\

I saw the Daedalus Quartet perform the EC 2nd last year in Minneapolis, and it was a tremendous expericence. They also played the 5th, and that was good, too, but the 2nd really stayed with me a long time. Hardly joyless, in my estimation.

Oh, well, I reread Moby Dick not long ago and I love that, too. 
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Lilas Pastia on November 09, 2007, 08:15:40 PM
I wish some enterprising quartet would visit Montreal to play these works. I'd rush out and buy tickets in no time!

Carter's SQ are remarkable  - mind you, I have a thing for modern SQs :D - but they seem to be a cut above most of the competition.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on November 10, 2007, 09:09:06 AM
Seven days, eight hours yet!
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Catison on November 10, 2007, 11:52:01 AM
Big claim but not true of course (but to each his own)...

Why add the "to each his own" qualifier when the rest of your post negates it?
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on November 10, 2007, 01:00:07 PM
Big claim but not true of course (but to each his own)...EC's 3rd sounds rather like a technical experiment,

Not to me! 

But this is just trodding old ground I promised myself I would never visit again.  0:)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on November 10, 2007, 01:03:24 PM
Well, in the same sense that the Goldberg Variations sound like a "technical experiment," I'll allow that  8)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on November 10, 2007, 01:07:23 PM
... [Bartok] just says so much more about being a human being than the Second Viennese School (which is IMO inferior though often beautiful & profound).

This is a strangely hybrid remark, James.  If you want to say you prefer Bartok, fine;  it's even quite decent of you to allow the beauty and profundity of th music which you do not prefer.  Myself, I could not tag either "side" superior (though granted you make that bit a matter of opinion);  nor do I see how either musical journey expresses "more about being a human being" than the other.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on November 10, 2007, 01:40:10 PM
I'm finally getting around to hearing the Clarinet Concerto and Symphonia: sum fluxae pretium spei, on the CD released in 1999, and it's a pretty spectacular recording.  (I think some here cite it as one of the best--if not the best--Carter CDs.)  with a very difficult solo part, Michael Collins (website here (http://www.michael-collins.co.uk/index.php)) does expert work that makes it almost seem easy, and Oliver Knussen and the London Sinfonietta are every bit as good.

Knussen leads the BBCSO in Symphonia, and it's also a very exciting performance.

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on November 10, 2007, 01:59:26 PM
I really like a few minutes of that one bruce...the central section of Symphonia.

Absolutely, it's just terrifically exciting music all around, and again, I can't believe he wrote these pieces at such an advanced age.  I'll be looking forward to comments from those here (e.g., Karl, Joe) who get to hear the new Horn Concerto in Boston next week.

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on November 10, 2007, 02:07:27 PM
I'll be looking forward to comments from those here (e.g., Karl, Joe) who get to hear the new Horn Concerto in Boston next week.--Bruce

Bruce, I'm afraid Karl and I are it --- i.e., rather than e.g. --- unless we hear from Al Moritz.

Truth to tell, there are pieces I like better than both the Symphonia and the Clarinet Concerto --- particularly the Cello and Boston Concertos. The Symphonia may be one of those pieces, like the Piano Concerto or the Concerto for Orchestra, that take me a while to appreciate. Those latter two are among my favorites of any composer of any period, now.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on November 10, 2007, 02:16:29 PM
Bruce, I'm afraid Karl and I are it --- i.e., rather than e.g. --- unless we hear from Al Moritz.

Truth to tell, there are pieces I like better than both the Symphonia and the Clarinet Concerto --- particularly the Cello and Boston Concertos. The Symphonia may be one of those pieces, like the Piano Concerto or the Concerto for Orchestra, that take me a while to appreciate. Those latter two are among my favorites of any composer of any period, now.

Interesting...I'm taking to Symphonia immediately.  Part of it could be the performance itself: Knussen and the BBCSO are just so alert, precise, and playing with a huge dynamic range.  Have to listen to it further, but it might be a candidate (for some) for showing off your sound system. 

I can well appreciate the high regard for both the Piano Concerto and the Concerto for Orchestra--both pretty marvelous.

And hey, James, it has taken me probably 20 years to warm up to Carter.  I've just been converted within the last four or five years or so, and I don't have a clue why.  It might be a good argument for giving difficult music a chance to toss and turn in your brain for awhile.

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: bwv 1080 on November 10, 2007, 05:39:35 PM
Bruce, I'm afraid Karl and I are it --- i.e., rather than e.g. --- unless we hear from Al Moritz.

Truth to tell, there are pieces I like better than both the Symphonia and the Clarinet Concerto --- particularly the Cello and Boston Concertos. The Symphonia may be one of those pieces, like the Piano Concerto or the Concerto for Orchestra, that take me a while to appreciate. Those latter two are among my favorites of any composer of any period, now.

I would tend to concur,  at this point my 5 favorite late period pieces would be (in no order)

Lumien
Changes
90+
Boston Concerto
Violin Concerto
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: johnQpublic on November 11, 2007, 06:15:47 AM
The Violin Concerto is fairly direct for me and that's a good thing.  :)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Guido on November 11, 2007, 07:21:24 AM
Glad to hthat you like the Cello concerto Joe - it is a fantastic score, and I think I agree hat it is better than the clarinet concerto. I saw the clarinet concerto in London two years ago with Collins and Knussen and it was just spectacular - easily the best clarinet playing I have ever seen. I also adore the Symphonia, haven't listened the Boston concerto very much yet.

Am very jealous of you guys going to the Horn concerto premiere. :)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Mark G. Simon on November 11, 2007, 07:59:11 AM
Yet another title from this prolific year:

Clarinet Quintet (2007) 15'
for clarinet and string quartet

This is exciting.

It is exciting. I look forward to hearing this, and to seeing the score. It's good that Carter has provided the clarinet with a significant body of repertory.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on November 11, 2007, 08:59:44 AM
I would tend to concur,  at this point my 5 favorite late period pieces would be (in no order)

Lumien
Changes
90+
Boston Concerto
Violin Concerto


I'd add the Cello Concerto, the Piano Quintet, the Trilogy for Oboe and Harp, Tempo e Tempi, In the Distances of Sleep, Soundings, Intermittances, Quartet No. 5, the Three Illusions, and Remembering Mr. Ives.With all the riches of late Carter, it's hard to choose. And of course, not all of this stuff has been recorded, and new pieces are appearing almost daily, it seems.  I still haven't heard  Catenaires or  Ma-tribute.

It is exciting. I look forward to hearing this, and to seeing the score. It's good that Carter has provided the clarinet with a significant body of repertory.


Joining the likes of Mozart, Brahms, Nielsen and Stravinsky. I've made the point in my review of the Triple Duo on the Atma label. Unfortunately, no word yet on a premiere performance. Still, there is that Horn Concerto next week.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Guido on November 11, 2007, 04:30:36 PM
Joe, you don't happen to have the live bootleg recording of the premiere of the cello concerto with Yo-Yo Ma, do you? Fred Sherry's version is superb of course, but it would be nice to hear another interpretation. Also do you really think the second figment is better than the first?
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on November 11, 2007, 06:49:07 PM
Also do you really think the second figment is better than the first?

No, I wouldn't say it's better. I'm just sentimental about Ives.

I do have a bootleg of Ma's performance but no way to copy it. It was sent to me an e-pal in England.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on November 14, 2007, 07:58:24 AM
Nice piece from The Boston Globe on James Sommerville, our soloist this weekend. From what little there is about the concerto, it sounds like --- well, like Carter.
 
Horn of plenty
James Sommerville likes a challenge - whether soloing for BSO or trying his hand as conductor
By Geoff Edgers, Globe Staff  |  November 14, 2007

James Sommerville, principal French horn in the Boston Symphony Orchestra, would be the first to acknowledge he was no classical music prodigy. Growing up in Canada, he was drawn to the prog-rockers Gentle Giant and Peter Gabriel-era Genesis. He didn't start playing the piano until age 8, and nothing approaching destiny drove him to his eventual instrument of choice.

"My first day of high school, they herded us into the music room and said, 'Pick your instrument,' " he recalls over a recent sushi lunch near Symphony Hall. "All the trumpets and saxophones went right away."

On Thursday night, Sommerville will be at center stage as he steps out from his usual spot - a few rows back, between the timpani and the woodwinds - to serve as the featured soloist for the world premiere of Elliott Carter's Horn Concerto. Carter created the work for Sommerville, commissioned by the BSO. Expect such iconic Carter flourishes as tempo changes and speedy runs that can push a player - and an audience - to the edge.

"For a lot of people, that would be a very daunting possibility," says BSO principal trumpet player Thomas Rolfs, a friend of Sommerville's. "But Jamie is a player who likes to take chances, and that's something that can be contagious in an orchestra."

That same desire to take chances has led Sommerville, 45, to continue his musical evolution in a new way. Last week, he made an unlikely commute - Boston to Hamilton, Ontario - for his second career as a conductor. This season, he became the artistic director of the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra, an organization with a $1.2 million budget and 32 core players.

In Hamilton, not far from his native Toronto, Sommerville had heard there was a job opening. But some of the orchestra's musicians say they were baffled by his interest in the position.

"He's the principal horn of the Boston Symphony Orchestra," says Stephen Pierre, the Hamilton orchestra's principal clarinet player. "He's probably the best horn player on the planet. I thought, 'What would somebody with a position like that, why would you want to do something different?' He said, 'I need a challenge.' "

Alex Baran, executive director of the Hamilton Philharmonic, says the orchestra knew it was getting someone relatively inexperienced on the podium; Sommerville had guest conducted for them only a couple of times. But Baran says Sommerville was a good fit for the job.

"We're getting in on the ground floor of what we hope will be each other's rising careers," Baran says.

Peak performance

In person, the curly haired Sommerville is soft-spoken, with a dry wit. He doesn't gossip about his fellow players, and he seems to dislike criticizing composers, especially living ones. In a recent conversation over lunch, the subject of the late composer Arnold Schoenberg, a James Levine favorite, came up.

"I feel like Schoenberg wrote some masterpieces and some awful pieces," Sommerville says. When asked to name them, he demurs.

Sommerville, who has played with the BSO since 1998, is at his peak as a performer. As a conductor, he acknowledges that he has work to do. When he was hired in Hamilton, there was some concern that his laid-back personality might not translate to the podium, which often calls for a bold, energetic figure. Those fears have been calmed.

"He's not a presumptuous, larger-than-life person, he's almost the anti-type of conductor," says Baran. "There was a concern - 'Where's the dynamism you want to see on the podium?' To our surprise, we saw it during performance."

Sommerville took conducting classes in college and led ensembles at McGill University in the 1990s.

"I think I did it very poorly," Sommerville says today. "I didn't give a lot of thought to my technique or preparation."

He kept working, though, studying under Finnish maestro Jorma Panula and conducting at Tanglewood. As a horn player, he says, "I look at scores and try to understand the context, but it's still like shining a high-powered flashlight in a dark room." As a conductor, he takes a broader view: "To look at great music and take the time to understand the scores, you get a much deeper appreciation."

How would he describe his current conducting style?

"I try to be clear, both musically and in terms of not letting people get lost," Sommerville says. "I think I have a ways to go with my technique. One benefit, having spent a lot of time in rehearsals, I know what's useful and what isn't. Orchestras hate wasting time."

Two hats
Sommerville has committed to Hamilton for five years - a commute that involves flying to Buffalo, then renting a car to drive the remaining 1 1/2 hours of the trip - but he says he has no intention of leaving the BSO. He loves to perform on the French horn, which is more challenging to play than many other brass.

"It's a precarious instrument," he explains. "It's a little less sure, less reliable than most instruments. The positive is that it's very flexible in the right hands. It's sort of a bridge between the brass and the woodwinds. You need to find a much broader range of dynamics than you would with a trumpet or a flute. And the sound itself is very beautiful. When it's quiet, it's very round and soft. In loud dynamics, it's very brassy and exciting."

Sommerville lives near Symphony Hall with his girlfriend, pianist Aimee Tsuchiya, and says he remains challenged by his BSO gig. The Carter commission is a perfect example.

Two years ago, Levine spoke with Carter, one of his favorite composers, and reminded him that the BSO had a strong horn player. Perhaps he would want to compose a work for him? Carter agreed. He began sending pages to Sommerville, and eventually invited him to his studio in New York to test out the piece. Carter was pleased to hear Sommerville play some of the faster passages.

"I was surprised, and delighted," says Carter, recalling the meeting in a phone interview.

Sommerville describes the concerto as "episodic": six sections stretched over about 15 minutes.

"It has a real cool kind of progression of characters, from an aggressive character to a joking character," he says. "There's some lyrical writing for the instrument, which is not what I think he's known for. What is characteristic of his style is this brilliant orchestration. He uses a ton of contrasts and sudden changes and very intricate rhythms."

Would Sommerville ever want to conduct the Carter concerto?

"Not," he says, with a smile, "while I'm playing."

Geoff Edgers can be reached at gedgers@globe.com. For more on the arts, visit boston.com/ae/theater_arts/exhibitionist.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on November 14, 2007, 08:08:38 AM
Great article--thanks for posting it, Joe.  Agree with Sommerville's assessment of the instrument as "precarious."  And loved this about the piece itself:

"It has a real cool kind of progression of characters, from an aggressive character to a joking character," he says. "There's some lyrical writing for the instrument, which is not what I think he's known for. What is characteristic of his style is this brilliant orchestration. He uses a ton of contrasts and sudden changes and very intricate rhythms."

Can't wait for your comments on it!

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on November 14, 2007, 08:21:46 AM
Yeah, but all recent Carter pieces are episodic, brilliantly orchestrated, and alternately aggressive, lyrical (more frequently than Sommerville seems to think) and jokey, with a ton of contrasts and intricate rhythms --- much as all late Haydn symphonies are in four movements with slow introductions, trios and brisk finales. Reading Sommerville's description, I can almost hear the piece in my head.  :)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on November 14, 2007, 08:49:02 AM
Quote from: David Byrne
There's a Horn Concerto in my mind, / And I hope it never stops . . . .
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on November 14, 2007, 09:02:49 AM
Horn concerto? Qu'est-ce que c'est?
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on November 15, 2007, 03:32:22 PM
Just listened again to the Boston Concerto and Dialogues, on that Bridge CD, Vol. 7--what a fantastic recording this is.  The playing by all concerned is just beyond praise, and the recording is exceptionally clear.  (As a sound engineering geek, I notice that they were both recorded at the BBC Maida Vale Studio 1, by Tryggvi Tryggvason, a name new to me.)

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on November 16, 2007, 06:00:12 AM
Globe review of the Carter premiere. Looking forward to it more thyan ever now.

Basking in a composer's Indian summer
By Jeremy Eichler

Globe Staff / November 16, 2007

Elliott Carter's own centenary is around the corner, but the composer seems to be the last person taking time to reflect. At 98, he has been churning out new works faster than orchestras are able to program them.

more stories like this
James Sommerville likes a challenge - whether soloing for BSO or trying his hand as conductor
From Berg and Mahler, two works of farewell
Taking BSO where Levine won't
Handel and Haydn performance won crowd over
Pops TV Goes Live
For its part, the Boston Symphony Orchestra under James Levine has been basking in Carter's long, warm Indian summer. Last night in Symphony Hall, Levine led the BSO in the world premiere of Carter's Horn Concerto, a work commissioned by the orchestra for principal horn player James Sommerville. And already, the next Carter premiere is cued up, as he has apparently completed work on a piano concerto that the orchestra will present next season. Between now and then, the BSO and the Tanglewood Music Center will present a five-day Carter festival at Tanglewood this summer.

But more impressive than the composer's productivity has been the vitality of the music he has been writing. The new Horn Concerto is no exception. It is a 15-minute work with seven sections that run together without pause. The orchestra part is often spare by Carter's standards, with bright dabs of color flashing up from the strings, woodwinds, or early on, the percussion. Carter gives the soloist a workout in some rapid figurations, but the dominant character of this piece is surprisingly lyrical. In one striking passage, the horn part meanders above very delicately tinctured brass chorales, but throughout, Carter uses the horn's long solo lines as opportunities for vivid experiments in timbre, as if challenging the soloist to see how many masks he can don in quick succession. Sommerville rose gamely to the challenge, navigating the passagework with apparent ease and demonstrating a wide kaleidoscope of tone, by turns powerfully focused, darkly veiled, raspy and aggressive, and brightly gleaming. The composer was on hand to take two bows, smiling widely, and then surely repairing off to write more music.

Before the Carter, the concert opened with a big-boned reading of Haydn's Symphony No. 104. The playing was mostly clear and well-characterized, but there was something less than fresh about this approach. Levine is evidently skeptical of many of the insights that have trickled into most mainstream orchestras from the early music movement, but in this case, he and the orchestra needed to make the stylistic counterargument more persuasively.

The night ended with another superb performance of a Mahler symphony. Last week, it was the epic Ninth. This week, it is the more modest First, yet a work that still showed off this marvelous orchestra at its best. Levine's reading was full of rich detail and dynamic subtlety. The delicate yet warm ribbon of pianissimo sound that the first violins produced in the opening movement was something to be heard. So was Lawrence Wolfe's haunting bass solo to begin the third movement. The finale was well-paced and full of blazing brass, including eight horns that stood up at the designated moment. Soon thereafter, the audience followed suit.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: not edward on November 16, 2007, 08:35:22 AM
And already, the next Carter premiere is cued up, as he has apparently completed work on a piano concerto that the orchestra will present next season.
Now this sounds interesting!
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on November 16, 2007, 08:39:18 AM
Now this sounds interesting!

No kidding!  And at almost 99 years old...unbelievable. 

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: springrite on November 16, 2007, 08:44:34 AM
I almost bought the Carter book while I was in Toronto, but bulked when I considered that the book was written so many years ago and, with so many later Carter works, I really should wait for a later book.



Maybe I should have bought it...
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on November 16, 2007, 08:46:52 AM
I almost bought the Carter book while I was in Toronto, but bulked when I considered that the book was written so many years ago and, with so many later Carter works, I really should wait for a later book.



Maybe I should have bought it...

No, no--don't hesitate.  You're right: it doesn't include some of the latest stuff, but it's an invaluable companion to much of his older work.  Very well written, with lots of illustrations (i.e., score excerpts). 

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on November 16, 2007, 02:49:59 PM
Program notes for the Horn Concerto may be accessed here. (http://www.bso.org/images/program_notes/20071115.pdf)

Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on November 16, 2007, 02:52:25 PM
Thanks, Joe.  Printing them out to read later.  PS, I bet Levine and the BSO will do a great job on that Mahler, too. 

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: bwv 1080 on November 16, 2007, 02:56:33 PM
Back to the Naxos / Pacifica disc, given that the first is #1 and #5 - will 2-4 fit on one disc? and if not what additional piece will Naxos add to the odd disc - dare we hope it is the Clarinet Quintet?
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on November 16, 2007, 03:58:26 PM
Back to the Naxos / Pacifica disc, given that the first is #1 and #5 - will 2-4 fit on one disc? and if not what additional piece will Naxos add to the odd disc - dare we hope it is the Clarinet Quintet?

No, we dare not. The Clarinet Quintet was written for the Juilliard, and I'm assuming they get first recording rights. The second through fourth quartets are each about 20 minutes long and would fit comfortably on a single CD, with room left over for the two Fragments for string quartet, plus the early Elegy.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on November 17, 2007, 08:34:11 PM
There was elation in The Carter Corner in Boston tonight.  Heck, I even asked the maestro to autograph my program.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on November 17, 2007, 08:35:16 PM
Horn Concerto Performed by James Sommerville and the Boston Symphony, conducted by James Levine

The BSO concert ended less than an hour ago. Karl and Maria just dropped me off at my hotel, and I thought I'd share a few thoughts about the Horn Concerto before retiring, while they're still fresh in my head. The Globe review and the program notes, posted or linked above, give a good description of the music's structure, and I won't waste your time by repeating them. Instead, I'll offer a few impressions.

Mr. Carter has nothing left to prove. He's produced his big masterpieces, and now, in his late nineties, he's reached the point where he can reflect somewhat and write light, witty, self-referential pieces like the Horn Concerto, which, in their way, are just as memorable and exciting as his earlier work. This new concerto is fascinating, not least for the scoring of the orchestra. Robert Kirzinger, who gave the preconcert talk, called it "transparent." I'd call it "feathery." Except for a few outbursts from the assembled brass or percussion, the orchestra seems to float above the soloist, whose round, bell-like sonority anchors it, keeping it in a state of equilibrium, like a gold ingot tied to a bouquet of helium balloons a few feet above the ground. The piece left me feeling bubbly, chatty, unlike, say, the Cello Concerto, which put me in a quiet, introspective mood.

After intermission, Levine led a rousing, luminous Mahler First, and I couldn't help but reflect on the distance between the two pieces---not in terms of style or technique, or even the entire twentieth century, but in terms of youth and age. The Mahler, finished when the composer was 27, is very much a young man's symphony, written in a fresh flood of creativity, when no excess seems out of place. It's calculated to bring everyone to their feet and send them home singing, and tonight, that is just what it did. It pushed all the right buttons. Carter himself went through a similar phase of discovery with his first quartet. Now, he  exercises his hard-earned mastery in more distilled form, and asks us to meet him halfway. The Horn Concerto is bright piece. It doesn't feel at all feel old or resigned. It just does more with less. It doesn't shout at us.

Memorable moments included a duet for the horn and tuba (recalling the tuba recit in Soundings), a chorale for muted brass, and the slow, full-throated solo passages that recur throughout the piece. And Sommerville was brilliant, as you'd expect, but the brilliance didn't  seem to draw attention to itself. We should hear this piece again, and often. Bootlegs, anyone?
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: not edward on November 17, 2007, 08:36:49 PM
*jealousy*

Joe, the impression I get from your report is that the Horn Concerto is stylistically similar to the Boston Concerto or the final movement of Symphonia. Is this anywhere near the mark?
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on November 17, 2007, 08:37:54 PM
Somewhat, Edward, though the Horn Concerto is lighter of tread, perhaps, than either of those.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on November 17, 2007, 08:44:55 PM
*jealousy*

Joe, the impression I get from your report is that the Horn Concerto is stylistically similar to the Boston Concerto or the final movement of Symphonia. Is this anywhere near the mark?

More the latter than the former. The orchestral accompaniment doesn't have the sustained "buzz" of the Allegro scorrevole. It occupies a larger negative space. It's more sporadic, with sharp chords and quiet sprays of percussion . There's also a beautiful moment near beginning the when a flute, or piccolo, plays a high, sustained note that seems more overheard than heard.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on November 17, 2007, 08:45:58 PM
Karl! You made it home.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on November 17, 2007, 08:46:42 PM
Well, I know my way home better than I guessed the route to your hotel  8)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on November 17, 2007, 08:48:31 PM
There was elation in The Carter Corner in Boston tonight.  Heck, I even asked the maestro to autograph my program.

Did he? You didn't tell me about this.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Guido on November 18, 2007, 06:33:45 AM
Looking forward to bootlegs or a recording on the Bridge label - are any more Carter volumes planned?
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on November 18, 2007, 11:16:42 AM
Did he? You didn't tell me about this.

Hadn't meant to keep you in the dark, Joe;  there was much else we talked of on the ride to Medford, the "Linz of New England"  8)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on November 18, 2007, 01:01:29 PM
Hadn't meant to keep you in the dark, Joe;  there was much else we talked of on the ride to Medford, the "Linz of New England"  8)

;D

Well, details, man! And how about your impressions of the new piece?

Guido, there is a Vol. 8 planned for the Bridge, but details are scarce, since, as David Staorbin tells us, it going to contain some historic recordings, and negotiations are still underway. I doubt we'll be seeing a recording of the newer work any time soon.  :'(
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on November 18, 2007, 03:58:13 PM
Medford, the "Linz of New England" 

And Gateway to Malden.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: greg on November 18, 2007, 05:42:18 PM
when he turns 100 years old, we'll have to have a huge party! Dress up as costume, like Cptn. Jack Sparrow and then listen to his Variations for orchestra over and over over and overover and overover and overover and overover and overover and overover and overover and overover and overover and overover and overover and overover and overover and overover and overover and overover and overover and overover and overover and overover and overover and overover and overover and overover and overover and overover and overover and over again
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: springrite on November 18, 2007, 10:35:24 PM
when he turns 100 years old, we'll have to have a huge party! Dress up as costume, like Cptn. Jack Sparrow and then listen to his Variations for orchestra over and over over and overover and overover and overover and overover and overover and overover and overover and overover and overover and overover and overover and overover and overover and overover and overover and overover and overover and overover and overover and overover and overover and overover and overover and overover and overover and overover and overover and over again
Not a bad idea. Come to think of it, we should start organizing it NOW. If nothing else happens, I will have a small party here in Beijing, with just three or four people (minus our wives who can't stand Carter).
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Catison on November 18, 2007, 11:23:24 PM
Not a bad idea. Come to think of it, we should start organizing it NOW. If nothing else happens, I will have a small party here in Beijing, with just three or four people (minus our wives who can't stand Carter).

My fiancee likes Carter, and by that time, she'll be my wife!
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: springrite on November 19, 2007, 03:32:00 AM
My fiancee likes Carter, and by that time, she'll be my wife!

Good for you!

BTW, what is the exact date of Carter's 100th birthday? I want to mark it on the calender and start planning.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on November 19, 2007, 04:53:14 AM
11 December 2008
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: springrite on November 19, 2007, 04:54:57 AM
Thanks! There will be a Carter birthday celebration party in Beijing. I hope to recruit more people by then!
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on November 19, 2007, 04:56:55 AM
My fiancee likes Carter, and by that time, she'll be my wife!

Maria really enjoyed the Horn Concerto, which is a great advance from before;  she didn't care for the Symphonia when we heard that, but two mitigating considerations there are (a) it was her first experience of Carter, and (b) that was a lot of Carter for an initial hearing.  I think the interval of time, the fact that his soundworld was no longer a complete novelty to her ears, &c. . . . I was really pleased that she enjoyed the piece as much as I did.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on November 19, 2007, 07:48:44 AM
Joe and Karl, thanks so much for all the comments on the performance.  Sounds like another late Carter work that we'll be wanting to get to know, and I hope a recording will follow soon. 

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: greg on November 19, 2007, 07:58:17 AM
11 December 2008
so close to mine.....


Thanks! There will be a Carter birthday celebration party in Beijing. I hope to recruit more people by then!
i'd love to come! Especially after seeing a travel video on Beijing, I've really wanted to go there  8)

who else is going?......
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: springrite on November 19, 2007, 08:08:03 AM
I know at least 3 other people will be there, namely, Mr. Liu who was the chief editor of a classical music magazine in China (was editor-in-chief of Grammophone China edition, now of a different one, maybe BBC Music?), Mr. Ouyang who was one of the people responsible for bringing about the historical Turandot performance on location in the Forbidden City, and our very own squarez, who is now back in Beijing. I am sure we can get a few other people from the classical music publications (a couple of them I know are into 20th century music -- Gubaidulina, Ligeti and Eotvos seems to be favorites) and from the Chinese Philharmonic and Beijing Philharmonic, many of the members I know from way back but have yet to contact them after my return.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on November 19, 2007, 10:10:46 AM
Unfortunately a bit blurry (not that I knew that at the time, since my reading glasses were out of commission), but you must trust me that this is a shot of Elliott Carter in the aisle of Symphony Hall at the intermission of Saturday night's concert.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on November 19, 2007, 10:16:06 AM
Great!  Nice spontaneous shot.

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on November 19, 2007, 11:16:27 AM
Unfortunately a bit blurry (not that I knew that at the time, since my reading glasses were out of commission), but you must trust me that this is a shot of Elliott Carter in the aisle of Symphony Hall at the intermission of Saturday night's concert.

Other such images have been offered as proof that Mr. Carter has been spotted at 7-Elevens near Vegas.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on November 19, 2007, 11:21:09 AM
Drat! Caught out, again.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on November 20, 2007, 01:15:24 PM
Well, this page seems to load via Firefox and not via Internet Explorer, but . . . .

Levine conducts Carter premiere, Haydn & Mahler (http://www.berkshirelinks.com/berkshires-news/bso-haydn-carter-mahler/)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on November 20, 2007, 01:25:12 PM
Wow. I was going to say, "This guy says everything you said the other night, Karl." And then I looked at the byline ...

"Lissome and beguiling"! Love it.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Lethevich on November 20, 2007, 01:50:33 PM
Unfortunately a bit blurry (not that I knew that at the time, since my reading glasses were out of commission), but you must trust me that this is a shot of Elliott Carter in the aisle of Symphony Hall at the intermission of Saturday night's concert.

As blurry as it may be, the Wikipedia article for Carter still lacks a photo... hint hint... :D
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on November 20, 2007, 02:02:47 PM
Well, this page seems to load via Firefox and not via Internet Explorer, but . . . .

Levine conducts Carter premiere, Haydn & Mahler (http://www.berkshirelinks.com/berkshires-news/bso-haydn-carter-mahler/)

Congratulations, Karl, on a very well-written review.  Nice details!  I like the bit about watching Carter listening to the Mahler.

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: springrite on November 22, 2007, 09:59:05 AM
Well, this page seems to load via Firefox and not via Internet Explorer, but . . . .

Levine conducts Carter premiere, Haydn & Mahler (http://www.berkshirelinks.com/berkshires-news/bso-haydn-carter-mahler/)

Excellent review, Karl! I almost feel like I was there (and wish I was)!

Spent the day listening to lots of Carter. Such joy to listen to them!
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on November 28, 2007, 09:23:53 AM
New Yorkers, mark your calendars:

Elliott Carter: Clarinet Quintet (2007) 15' for clarinet and string quartet

World Premiere
29/04/2008
Peter Jay Sharp Theater, Juilliard School, New York, NY
Charles Neidich, clarinet / Juilliard String Quartet


From the Boosey Web site.

I can't miss this. April 29th is a Tuesday, but I will be there.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on November 28, 2007, 09:25:15 AM
Oh great, thanks for that news, Joe!  Not too shabby performers there, either.  :o

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on November 28, 2007, 09:28:17 AM
I'll have to check to see when Holy Week is;  that would be exactly the sort of occasion to make a trip Nieuw Amsterdamward!
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on November 28, 2007, 09:35:40 AM
I'll have to check to see when Holy Week is;  that would be exactly the sort of occasion to make a trip Nieuw Amsterdamward!

Karl, according to my calendar, Easter is early next year — March 23! Must be a full moon right at the equinox. The concert is a full month later. 
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on November 28, 2007, 09:38:38 AM
That's looking good right away.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on November 28, 2007, 09:43:24 AM
That's looking good right away.

Oh, I see. You can't make it during Holy Week. I forgot about the church gig.

BTW, I've been re-reading the earlier pages on this thread. There's a lot of knowledge, good will and wit floating around in here. It's a nice place to hang out. Thanks to all the posters.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on November 28, 2007, 09:46:12 AM
Oh, I see. You can't make it during Holy Week. I forgot about the church gig.

Yes, and since the choir are singing the premiere of a Passion setting of mine on Good Friday, well, let us say simply I am grateful that there is no scheduing conflict here  8)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Mark G. Simon on November 29, 2007, 05:28:46 AM
Charles Neidich is phenomenal. Fastest fingers in the west. He can easily take what ever Carter can dish out.

Carter has already written a clarinet duet for him and his wife (Hiyoku), which I intend to play some day when I can find a willing and able clarinetist to play it with.

Hey Karl!---
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on November 29, 2007, 06:33:43 AM
Let's have a look . . . .
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on November 29, 2007, 10:47:29 AM
Mark G. Simon and Karl Henning perform the music of Elliott Carter —

I have got to be there for that.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on November 29, 2007, 11:01:31 AM
Mark G. Simon and Karl Henning perform the music of Elliott Carter —

I have got to be there for that.

I'll sign on, too.   :D

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Mark G. Simon on November 29, 2007, 03:07:33 PM
You can download my performance of Esprit rude/Esprit doux here:

http://snipurl.com/1ezrg

Download the file "Carter Esprit Rude (mp3)"

The flutist's name is Laura Campbell.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on November 29, 2007, 03:23:56 PM
Mark, it's great! Beautifully phrased, and every bit as engaging any of the commercial recordings I have. You and Laura play it like you mean it.

A lissome and beguiling performance, as someone I know would say.  ;)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: not edward on November 29, 2007, 03:46:48 PM
Very nice performance of one of my favourite Carter miniatures, Mark: thanks for letting us hear it.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on November 30, 2007, 09:41:02 AM
Tanglewood Announces Weeklong Carter festival

Tanglewood's Festival of Contemporary Music (FCM), directed by Levine, will honor future centenarian Elliott Carter (he turns 100 December 8, 2008) over five days starting July 20. The composer himself is expected to attend the festival, which has three orchestral programs, including the BSO's first-ever complete FCM performance.

Tanglewood Music Center (TMC) kicks off the celebrations with Carter’s Call for two trumpets and horn; Oliver Knussen, leads the TMC Fellows in Carter’s ensemble pieces Asko Concerto, Luimeni and Refléxions, and conducts Charles Rosen, Ursula Oppens, and the Fellows in the Double Concerto for piano, harpsichord, and chamber orchestra.

Other highlights of the celebration include the world premieres of Carter’s Sound Fields for string orchestra and Mad-Regalesi for solo voices, both TMC commissions. Receiving its American premiere is Mosaic with BSO principal harpist Ann Hobson Pilot and the Fellows; the work is a co-commission of the BSO and the Nash Ensemble of London.

Also programmed are Carter's Variations for Orchestra, Dialogues for piano and orchestra with soloist, Clarinet Concerto, Matribute, Piano Sonata, Night Fantasies, Cello Concerto and three evenings of chamber music. These concerts will feature, among others, Oppens, Rosen, conductor Stefan Asbury, the New Fromm Players, pianist Nicholas Hodges, BSO associate principal clarinetist Thomas Martin and cellist Fred Sherry.

Carter himself will participate in a panel discussion with Levine and moderated by TMC director Ellen Highstein. He'll appear again on FCM's final day in a July 24 interview with reitred Boston Globe music critic Richard Dyer. Both events will take place in Ozawa Hall.

FCM will end with Levine leading the BSO in Carter's Boston Concerto, Three Illusions for Orchestra, the Horn Concerto (with Sommerville) and Symphonia: Sux fluxae pretium spei.


I might go if I have the cash. It's a wonderful excuse to spend a week in the Berkshires. Tickets go on sale Feb. 16.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on November 30, 2007, 09:51:54 AM
Wow, Joe, thanks for this info.  I haven't been to Tanglewood in awhile, but may have to make plans this time!  Sounds totally fantastic. 

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: The new erato on November 30, 2007, 11:34:17 AM
And the first volume by Naxos of the quartets are released !
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Guido on November 30, 2007, 11:57:16 AM
And the first volume by Naxos of the quartets are released !

On my next order!

That Carter festival looks fantastic - lots of his greatest pieces from recent years. I wish I could be there!

Joe very kindly sent me the world premiere performance of the Carter cello concerto which I have now listened to a few times. It is a thrilling reading, and just phenominally accurate considering the extreme difficulty of the solo part, and its easy to see why he got a standing ovation for the piece. Some of the tone colours he produces in the slower sections are quite wonderful. I have to say that I really prefer Fred Sherry's account, though Ma's is also very fine. Sherry seems to present a more cohesive convincing reading of the piece so that it all seems to make a lot more sense. In this kind of music the artist often cannot inject much of their ow personality into the work because the writing is so fragmentary, but Fred Sherry I think has the slight edge in bringing it all together (plus his pizzicato is phenominally impressive!). The orchestra also seem to act more as one which makes the architecture of the piece much clearer. I know Sherry's is a studio recording so that is an advantage of course.

Just thought I'd share these thoughts. Of course both versions are very fine and are enjoyable for different reasons.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on November 30, 2007, 11:59:13 AM
Just thought I'd share these thoughts. Of course both versions are very fine and are enjoyable for different reasons.

Well, and nothing wrong with that!   8)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Mark G. Simon on November 30, 2007, 01:34:54 PM
Fred Sherry I think has the slight edge in bringing it all together (plus his pizzicato is phenominally impressive!). The orchestra also seem to act more as one which makes the architecture of the piece much clearer. I know Sherry's is a studio recording so that is an advantage of course.

Sherry has been playing Carter's music for rather a long time. His Nonesuch recording of the Sonata for Flute, oboe, cello and harpsichord goes back to 1971 or earlier.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on November 30, 2007, 07:47:09 PM
Guido, thanks for your thoughts. I guess I should go back and listen to both versions again, back to back. It wouldn't be a chore, since I love the piece.

Erato, I haven't seen the Naxos disk yet. Where has it been released?

The Tanglewood festival does sound good, but there are a few big orchestral pieces I'd like to hear, viz., the Piano Concerto, the Concerto for Orchestra, and A  Symphony of Three Orchestras. I really want to hear them! And I'm starting to wonder whether anyone is planning on playing them. They are, I think, the core of Mr. Carter's orchestral work, but it seems they're being passed over, perhaps because they're considered too tough.

It would be fun to see Rosen and Oppens play the Double Concerto, though.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: The new erato on December 01, 2007, 02:29:03 AM


Erato, I haven't seen the Naxos disk yet. Where has it been released?


On the January prerelease list at mdt.co.uk. uess it will be available in most markets by January.

Lots of interesting releases, a Fasch Passion among other things....
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: not edward on December 01, 2007, 06:45:48 AM
On the January prerelease list at mdt.co.uk. uess it will be available in most markets by January.

Lots of interesting releases, a Fasch Passion among other things....
Naxos has it up in its December releases. If the releases hit the shops at the usual time of the month here, it'll be available just before Christmas.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on December 01, 2007, 09:30:15 AM
A bit more info. Looks as though they are doing the Concerto for Orchestra! And check out the July 24 program. Talk about a bellyful!

Festival of Contemporary Music: July 20-24
Elliott Carter Centenary  
Sunday, July 20, 10 a.m., Ozawa Hall
TANGLEWOOD MUSIC CENTER FELLOWS

OLIVER KNUSSEN, conductor
CHARLES ROSEN, piano
URSULA OPPENS, harpsichord

ALL-CARTER PROGRAM (FCM)

Call, for two trumpets and horn
Asko Concerto, for ensemble
Luimen, for ensemble
Refléxions, for ensemble
Double Concerto for piano, harpsichord,
and large ensemble

Sunday, July 20, 8 p.m., Ozawa Hall
TANGLEWOOD MUSIC CENTER ORCHESTRA

JAMES LEVINE, conductor
NICHOLAS HODGES, piano
THOMAS MARTIN, clarinet

ALL-CARTER PROGRAM (FCM)

Dialogues, for piano and orchestra
Clarinet Concerto
Sound Fields, for string orchestra (world premiere; commissioned by the Tanglewood Music Center)
Variations for Orchestra

Monday, July 21, 4 p.m., Ozawa Hall
ELLIOTT CARTER
JAMES LEVINE
FRED SHERRY
ELLEN HIGHSTEIN, moderator

Panel discussion (FCM)

Monday, July 21, 5 p.m., Ozawa Hall
JAMES LEVINE, CHARLES ROSEN,
and URSULA OPPENS, piano

ALL-CARTER PROGRAM (FCM)

Matribute
Piano Sonata
Night Fantasies, for piano

Monday, July 21, 8 p.m., Ozawa Hall
TANGLEWOOD MUSIC CENTER FELLOWS

STEFAN ASBURY, conductor
LUCY SHELTON, soprano

ALL-CARTER PROGRAM (FCM)

Tempo e Tempi, for soprano and ensemble
Syringa, for mezzo-soprano, baritone, and ensemble
Penthode, for ensemble
Triple Duo, for ensemble

Tuesday, July 22, 5 p.m., Ozawa Hall
TANGLEWOOD MUSIC CENTER FELLOWS

ALL-CARTER PROGRAM (FCM)

Enchanted Preludes, for flute and cello
Figment I, for solo cello
Esprit Rude/Esprit Doux, for flute and clarinet
Esprit Rude/Esprit Doux II, for flute, clarinet,
and marimba
Au Quai, for viola and bassoon
Figment II, for solo cello
Trilogy, for oboe and harp
Two Thoughts about the Piano: Caténaires
and Intermittances, for solo piano

Tuesday, July 22, 8 p.m., Ozawa Hall
TANGLEWOOD MUSIC CENTER FELLOWS

JAMES LEVINE and JOHN OLIVER, conductors
JO ELLEN MILLER, soprano
ANN HOBSON PILOT, harp
FRED SHERRY, cello

ALL-CARTER PROGRAM (FCM)

Sonata for Flute, Oboe, Cello, and Harpsichord
In the Distances of Sleep, for mezzo-soprano
and ensemble
Mosaic, for harp and ensemble (American premiere;
co-commissioned by the BSO
and Nash Ensemble)
Mad-Regales, for solo voices (world premiere; commissioned by
the Tanglewood Music Center)
A Mirror on Which to Dwell, for soprano and ensemble

Wednesday, July 23, 4 p.m., Ozawa Hall
TANGLEWOOD MUSIC CENTER FELLOWS

JAMES LEVINE, conductor
DOUGLAS FITCH, director and set designer

Film screening of Carter’s What Next?,
from the American stage premiere filmed
in performace at Tanglewood in 2006 (FCM)

Wednesday, July 23, 5 p.m., Ozawa Hall
TANGLEWOOD MUSIC CENTER FELLOWS

ALL-CARTER PROGRAM (FCM)

Quintet for Piano and Winds
String Quartet No. 2

Wednesday, July 23, 8 p.m., Ozawa Hall
TANGLEWOOD MUSIC CENTER ORCHESTRA

OLIVER KNUSSEN, conductor
FRED SHERRY, cello

ALL-CARTER PROGRAM (FCM)

Holiday Overture
Cello Concerto
Three Occasions for Orchestra
Concerto for Orchestra [Yowza!  :o]

Thursday, July 24, 4 p.m., Ozawa Hall
Former Boston Globe Music Critic Richard Dyer interviews Elliott Carter. (FCM)

Thursday, July 24, 5 p.m., Ozawa Hall
TANGLEWOOD MUSIC CENTER FELLOWS

CHARLES ROSEN, piano
FRED SHERRY, cello

ALL-CARTER PROGRAM (FCM)

Selected Pieces for Timpani
4 Lauds, for violin
Figment IV, for viola
Figment III, for double-bass
Steep Steps, for bass clarinet
Selected Pieces for Timpani
Elegy, for cello and piano

Thursday, July 24, 8 p.m. Ozawa Hall
BOSTON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA

JAMES LEVINE, conductor
JAMES SOMMERVILLE, horn

ALL-CARTER PROGRAM (FCM)

Boston Concerto, for orchestra
Three Illusions for Orchestra
Horn Concerto
Symphonia: Sum fluxae pretium spei
[Yowza!  :o No. 2]
 
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: not edward on December 01, 2007, 09:53:42 AM
OK, this I have to go to.....

Time to plan a summer trip to the Berkshires.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on December 01, 2007, 03:19:17 PM
I don't normally post links here to my writing elsewhere (that's what my blog is for!) but I'm really, really pleased with this piece (http://www.juilliard.edu/journal/2007-2008/0712/articles/0712_Discoveries.html) for Juilliard on Elliott Carter recordings, just posted on Friday. 

Plus, I got some invaluable advice from our in-house Carter expert Joe Barron, and want to publicly thank him again for his help.  :D

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on December 02, 2007, 08:42:30 AM
YQW, Bruce.

A very nice piece, btw --- well written, as always. And that part about how Mr. Carter became prolific in his old age after "investing decades in the painstaking development of his mature style" --- it's just so so pithy. 0:)

I would add one disk to your list of recommendations, though: the Nonesuch recording of the Cello and Harpsichord sonatas and the Double Concerto. Other than that, I agree with all your selections.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on December 05, 2007, 09:19:03 AM
Finally! Joel Sachs has filled in the concert programs for Juilliard's All About Elliott festival in January. I think I'll be skipping the Monday and Tueday concerts. Most of the pieces are pretty small, and I can hear them all on CD.  Bruce has posted the first and last programs earlier on this thread.

The Jan. 31 and Feb. 1 concerts look good, though:  Piano Quintet, Brass Quintet and Harspichord Sonata. All great works, and I'll be interested to hear them played by students. Jan. 31 program also includes Call, a one-minute piece I haven't heard before.

 
Friday
January 25, 2008
8:00 PM FOCUS! 2008: ALL ABOUT ELLIOTT
Celebrating Elliott Carter's 100th Birthday.
Musicians from the New Juilliard Ensemble and the Lucerne Festival Academy, Pierre Boulez, conductor
 Peter Jay Sharp Theater

Monday
January 28, 2008
8:00 PM FOCUS! 2008: ALL ABOUT ELLIOTT
Celebrating Elliott Carter's 100th Birthday
SEVEN CARTER WORKS
Canaries, Canto (1949)
Tomoya Aomori, timpani
Enchanted Preludes (1988)
Jeremiah Bills, flute; Jason Calloway, cello
Sonata for Cello and Piano (1948)
Emily Brausa, cello; Hiromi Fukuda, piano
Triology (1992)
Nicholas Stovall, oboe; Michelle Gott, harp
Riconoscenza (1984)
Francesca Anderegg, violin Rhapsodic Musings (2001)
Emilie-Anne Gendron, violin
Retrouvailles (2000) and Catenaires (2006)
Vassilis Varvaresos, piano
 Peter Jay Sharp Theater

 
Tuesday
January 29, 2008
8:00 PM FOCUS! 2008: ALL ABOUT ELLIOTT
Celebrating Elliott Carter's 100th Birthday
FIVE CARTER WORKS
Three Poems of Robert Frost (1942/1980)
David McFerrin, baritone
Quintet for Piano and winds (1991)
Alexandra Lambertson, oboe; Bryan Conger, clarinet; Brigitte Bencoe, French horn; Joshua Firer, bassoon; Jacek Mysinski, piano
Asko Concerto (2000)
Tempo e tempi (1999)
Jennifer Zetlan, soprano
Asko Concerto (2000)
 Peter Jay Sharp Theater

 
Thursday
January 31, 2008
8:00 PM FOCUS! 2008: ALL ABOUT ELLIOTT
Celebrating Elliott Carter's 100th Birthday
TEN CARTER WORKS
Call (2003)
Warble for Lilac-Time (1943/54)
Frederique Vezina, soprano; Jonathan Ware, piano
Voyage (1943)
Renee Tatum, mezzo-soprano; Jonathan Ware, piano
Esprit rude, esprit doux I (1984)
Esprit rude, esprit doux II, (1985)
Nadia Kyne, flute; Sean Rice, clarinet; Alexander Lipowski, marimba
Two Diversions (1999)
David Barry, piano Gra (1993)
Moran Katz, clarinet
Hiyoku (2001)
Moran Katz and Sean Rice, clarinets
Con leggerezza pensosa (1990)
David Fulmer, violin; Tibi Cziger, clarinet; Yves Dahramraj, cello
Quintet for Piano and Strings (1997)
Francesca Anderegg and David Fulmer, violins; Kyle Arbrust, viola; Caroline Stinson, cello; Matthew Odell, piano
 Peter Jay Sharp Theater

 
Friday
February 1, 2008
8:00 PM FOCUS! 2008: ALL ABOUT ELLIOTT
Celebrating Elliott Carter's 100th Birthday
TEN CARTER WORKS
Elegy (1943), arranged for string quartet (1946)
Fragment 1 (1994)
Fragment 2 (1999)
Ann Miller and Nicole Jeong, violins; Luke Fleming, viola; Elisabeth Lara, cello
March (1949)
Saeta (1949)
Chihiro Shibayama, timpani
Sonata for Flute, Oboe, Cello, and Harpsichord (1952)
Chelsea Knox, flute; Jeffrey Reinhard, oboe; David Huckaby, cello; Alexandra Snyder, harpsichord
90+ (1994) Lisa Stepanova, piano
Figment (1994)
Figment 2 (2001)
Kye-Yong Sarah Kwon, cello
Brass Quintet (1974)
Chris Coletti and Alexander White, trumpets; Eric Read, French horn; Bradley Williams, trombone; Louis Bremer, bass trombone
 Peter Jay Sharp Theater
 
Saturday
February 2, 2008
8:00 PM FOCUS! 2008: ALL ABOUT ELLIOTT
Celebrating Elliott Carter's 100th Birthday
Juilliard Orchestra, James Levine, conductor; cellist TBA
 
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on December 05, 2007, 10:25:27 AM
Finally! Joel Sachs has filled in the concert programs for Juilliard's All About Elliott festival in January. I think I'll be skipping the Monday and Tueday concerts. Most of the pieces are pretty small, and I can hear them all on CD.  Bruce has posted the first and last programs earlier on this thread.

The Jan. 31 and Feb. 1 concerts look good, though:  Piano Quintet, Brass Quintet and Harspichord Sonata. All great works, and I'll be interested to hear them played by students. Jan. 31 program also includes Call, a one-minute piece I haven't heard before.

 

Thanks for posting this, Joe.  Unlike you (I think!) I haven't heard most of the smaller pieces during the week, so I'll probably try to go to most of them.  Just checked other schedules, and thankfully there aren't too many competing concerts going on that week.  FYI, there is this gem on Sunday afternoon, Jan. 27, at 5:00:

The MET Chamber Ensemble
James Levine, Artistic Director and Conductor
Anja Silja, Soprano
Gil Shaham, Violin
Yefim Bronfman, Piano

Webern: Symphony, Op. 21 
Webern: Concerto for Nine Instruments, Op. 24 
Berg: Chamber Concerto for Piano, Violin, and 13 Winds 
Schoenberg: Pierrot lunaire

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on December 05, 2007, 10:26:51 AM
FYI, there is this gem on Sunday afternoon, Jan. 27, at 5:00:

The MET Chamber Ensemble
James Levine, Artistic Director and Conductor
Anja Silja, Soprano
Gil Shaham, Violin
Yefim Bronfman, Piano

Webern: Symphony, Op. 21 
Webern: Concerto for Nine Instruments, Op. 24 
Berg: Chamber Concerto for Piano, Violin, and 13 Winds 
Schoenberg: Pierrot lunaire

Fantastic program, Bruce!
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on December 05, 2007, 10:28:37 AM
Yep, won't me missing that one, for sure.  And I'm amazed how much voice Silja still has left.  She should be quite marvelous in Pierrot...

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on December 05, 2007, 12:14:23 PM
Hey, if you're not talking about Carter, take it outside.  ;)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on December 05, 2007, 12:37:36 PM
Hey, if you're not talking about Carter, take it outside.  ;)

Well...perhaps Anja Silja will consider doing a Carter encore!

 ;D

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on December 06, 2007, 08:25:28 AM
Well...perhaps Anja Silja will consider doing a Carter encore!

 ;D

--Bruce

Weak, man. Weak.   0:)

Here's a little preview for those of us (i.e., Bruce and Myself) attending this weekends performances at the Miller:


The Stand-Alone
Classical Music
BY GEORGE LOOMIS
December 6, 2007

URL: http://www.nysun.com/article/67610

When the composer Elliott Carter presented the world premiere of his first opera, the one-act "What Next?," at the Berlin Staatsoper in 1999, many critics were perplexed. Mr. Carter was 91 years old, had never written an opera, and was presenting his first with a literal bang — in the form of an automobile accident that started the show. So the question seemed to be, "what's next?"

The answer, however, was not another opera. Mr. Carter, now 98, never wrote another opera in the years following, and his lone, 40-minute work has become somewhat of a calling card. Beginning tomorrow, Miller Theatre will present the New York stage premiere of "What Next?" in a four-performance run; the final performance, on December 11, falls on Mr. Carter's 99th birthday.

As the revered composer himself recalled in a telephone conversation last week, the work was somewhat of a collaborative effort. "What Next?" might never have been written at all had it not been for the prodding of the conductor Daniel Barenboim. "He kept calling to ask, 'How is that opera coming?'" Mr. Carter said. "I knew he would do a good job with it at the Staatsoper."

Mr. Carter initially had trouble choosing a subject, but eventually found inspiration in the Jacques Tati movie "Traffic." "Finally I thought of one that everybody thinks about — an automobile accident!" For a librettist, Mr. Carter chose the music writer Paul Griffiths. "Paul is the one who decided on characters — a Zen Buddhist, a Lady astronomer, and so forth. One thing we had to do, since the opera starts with all the characters onstage, was get them offstage so they can make entrances, as in any opera. Otherwise there would be a lack visual variety."

"Elliott was insistent," Mr. Griffiths said, "that the opera have a quality of lightness. He wanted to have fun writing it and wanted the audience to have fun too." Mr. Griffiths also recalled that Mr. Carter wanted a rationale for having characters sing. "He didn't like the idea of someone just knocking on the door and saying, 'Hello, I'm Bill.' The accident in effect shocks them into singing.

"It also allows people to behave in strange and extravagant ways," Mr. Griffiths continued.

The director of the Miller Theatre production, Christopher Alden, likened the work to a play by Samuel Beckett. "It's open-ended about what has happened and why they are together," he said. "They're trying to relate to each other and make sense of existence in the face of catastrophe." "It's less literal than a typical opera, more poetic," he said. "It allows the audience to bring its own perspective."

Mr. Alden, who is known for his radical stagings, said that his approach to an unfamiliar work is not especially different from his approach to a well-known opera. In Mr. Alden's production, the action takes place in a tunnel. "Like the Holland Tunnel," he explained, "with overturned road barriers — an existential environment."

Though the opera's truncated length is due in part to the elderly composer's resistance to working on an evening-length piece, he has remained prolific in the decade since writing the opera. His most recent composition, his Horn Concerto, was given its world premiere by the Boston Symphony Orchestra just last month.

The Miller Theatre production will be the opera's fourth staging, but it has enjoyed 20 concert performances, including one in New York by Mr. Barenboim and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 2000.

Normally, "What Next?" has been paired with another opera; a recent Munich production presented it with Puccini's "Gianni Schicchi." For the New York performances, the executive director of the Miller Theatre, George Steel, chose to preface it with what he called a "garland" of Carter chamber works played by various members of the opera orchestra.

And, though it may be short, the opera compensates for its length with an unusual richness of detail. "It's crammed full of specific moments," Mr. Alden marveled, "with as many dramatic beats as you'd find in a whole Wagner opera."

I like the comparison to the Beckett play. In the years before What Next? was written and we were all wondering if Carter would ever write an opera, I often said something by Beckett would be appropriate. I thought "Play," in which the characters  run through the text twice, would have been a good challenge, since Carter never repeats himself in a piece. Each setting of the text would have been different, bringin out different meanings and emphases in the words..
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on December 06, 2007, 08:35:03 AM
Thanks for that, Joe, which I probably would have missed.  PS, as an aside, when I mention the plot premise to people, at least three have asked if it's similar to Crash, the Cronenberg film!  I said I didn't think there was much sex in Carter's opera (but of course I haven't seen it yet).

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on December 06, 2007, 08:57:27 AM
Thanks for that, Joe, which I probably would have missed.  PS, as an aside, when I mention the plot premise to people, at least three have asked if it's similar to Crash, the Cronenberg film!  I said I didn't think there was much sex in Carter's opera (but of course I haven't seen it yet).

When I wrote my term paper for opera class on What Next? I described the scene in the Tati film that inspired the libretto. It's a slapstick accident in the tradition of the Keystone Cops,  involving more than a dozen cars. No one gets hurt, but everyone is stunned for a few seconds afterward. They get out of their cars slowly, as though in a daze, before they  getto work trying to repair the damage and get back on the road---in odd ways. Carter described it as "everyone acting crazy." There's a priest, for instance, who kneels beside his car and holds up his tire iron like a crucifix.

Carter has also talked about seeing an accident in Italy in which invetigators and started taking measurements at the scene while the victims were stil lying in the street. It seemed callous surreal to him, and it suggested  the episode  the bit opera in which the  characters try to make contact with a group of workers, only to be ignored.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on December 06, 2007, 09:05:25 AM
All most interesting.  (I haven't seen the Tati film, Traffic, either, although I'm familiar with some of his others.)

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on December 06, 2007, 11:55:13 AM
All most interesting.  (I haven't seen the Tati film, Traffic, either, although I'm familiar with some of his others.)

Rather late for him. It was made in color, and there is a reference to the moon landing. Interestingly, Carter and Tati were born the same year.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Wendell_E on December 06, 2007, 02:24:04 PM
There's a fairly lengthy audio interview (I've been listening for over 15 minutes, and it hasn't ended yet) with Carter and Adam Wasserman at the Opera News website.  I thought you might have to be a subscriber or Met Opera Guild Member to access it, but I tried it after logging out, and was still able to get there.  He talks about how he came to write What Next?, opera in general, his young days in Paris and Germany, what sort of music he listens to now, etc.

http://www.metoperafamily.org/operanews/issue/article.aspx?id=3428&issueID=155 (http://www.metoperafamily.org/operanews/issue/article.aspx?id=3428&issueID=155)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on December 06, 2007, 02:28:58 PM
Many thanks, Wendell!  :D

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Wendell_E on December 06, 2007, 02:46:09 PM
Towards the end (the whole interview's a bit over 19 minutes), he talks about a possible Flute Concerto:  "Many people have been asking me to write a Flute Concerto of some kind and I think I finally will, though I'm not sure I'm going to do that..."  C'mon man, just do it!   ;D
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on December 06, 2007, 02:52:20 PM
Towards the end (the whole interview's a bit over 19 minutes), he talks about a possible Flute Concerto:  "Many people have been asking me to write a Flute Concerto of some kind and I think I finally will, though I'm not sure I'm going to do that..."  C'mon man, just do it!   ;D

Yeah, I mean (with all due respect) I think he should downsize the agonizing, no doubt lengthy decision-making process.  ;D

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on December 06, 2007, 03:02:58 PM
Towards the end (the whole interview's a bit over 19 minutes), he talks about a possible Flute Concerto:  "Many people have been asking me to write a Flute Concerto of some kind and I think I finally will, though I'm not sure I'm going to do that..."  C'mon man, just do it!   ;D

From what Karl and I learned last month at the BSO pre-concert talk, he is doing it, but then, I don't know the date of this interview relative to the announcment in Boston. He might have made up his mind, or he might be having second thoughts.

Thanks for the link, Wendell.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on December 09, 2007, 06:51:53 AM
 Wonderful article on Mr. C by Charles Rosen in todays Times:


December 9, 2007

An Old Master Still in Development
By CHARLES ROSEN

ELLIOTT CARTER, a celebrated figure on the international stage even before Georg Solti took his Variations for Orchestra to Europe with the Chicago Symphony in 1971, is the most respected and admired of American composers. Festivals devoted to his music have taken place in many cities, including London, Paris and Madrid.

And he is a prophet increasingly honored in his own country. Certain of his chamber works, especially the string quartets, have long been widely performed; less so, the orchestral works. But in recent years those too, though still uncompromisingly modernist, have been taken up around the country, championed above all by Pierre Boulez, Daniel Barenboim and James Levine.

On Friday Mr. Carter’s only opera, “What Next?,” had its New York stage premiere, beginning a run of performances that ends on Tuesday, his 99th birthday.

Looking younger every year, and more creative than ever, Mr. Carter is a genial, mild-mannered and unassuming man, extraordinarily cultivated, with a deep interest in art and literature as well as the entire history of music. Perhaps the most striking aspects of his character are a self-confidence and a lack of pretension, a rare combination. Even in the last few years his style has continued to develop, in a series of works that seem to become ever more immediately approachable without renouncing the individuality of his style.

I first met Elliott Carter in 1956 at a concert of the International Society for Contemporary Music, held at what used to be called Carnegie Recital Hall (now Weill Recital Hall). Or rather, we met after the concert. One generally went to the society’s concerts to see friends; only a small amount of the music played there was attractive, since most contemporary music, like most of the music of any other period of history, is of little interest. On this occasion, if I remember correctly, one work was a single note on a solo violin to be sustained for 1 hour 20 minutes (but the performance was abbreviated to 40 minutes).

I knew several composers, and afterward we all went out to the Carnegie Tavern, now long gone but then on the corner of Seventh Avenue and 56th Street. Aaron Copland, Milton Babbitt, Arthur Berger and others were there, and I found myself sitting next to Elliott, whom I had never met but whose Piano Sonata I was then working on. I needed a grand and substantial American piece for a tour of Germany sponsored by the United States Information Service, which was trying to prove to Europeans how cultured Americans were. Elliott’s sonata was the only avant-garde American work for piano after Ives that exploited the sound of the full-size concert piano with panache and even Romantic brilliance, and I was delighted with it, so I was pleased to meet the composer.

Copland, in an ebullient mood as he grandly paid for everybody’s sandwich and beer, was due to appear on a late-night television talk show. Elliott said he had never been to a live television show, nor had I, so we both went to be in the audience and watch Copland discuss baseball, to show he was a regular guy and not just an intellectual classical musician. A few days later I was invited to dinner by Elliott’s wife, Helen Carter. Elliott must have told her that I was presentable.

In 1961 Elliott invited me to play the solo piano in the premiere of the Double Concerto for harpsichord and piano at the Metropolitan Museum. Along with the First String Quartet and the Variations for Orchestra, this was Elliott’s most ambitious work to date, calling for 2 orchestras of 6 musicians each, and 4 percussionists with 11 instruments each. It is a work of dazzling and original rhythm and sonority, with sound patterns that make arabesques in space and with a dramatic form that intricately opposes and combines different rhythmic worlds. (At one sensational moment the harpsichordist and all the other musicians gradually make an immense ritardando to a very slow tempo while the pianist speeds up to the point at which all the notes become a resonant blur.)

This work became immediately famous, partly because of Stravinsky’s comment that at last we had an American masterpiece. But it was essentially a logical development of Elliott’s musical thought that had started many years before, with the Sonata for Cello and Piano. Its first movement opens with the piano ticking away staccato in an absolutely regular metronomic beat while the cello has a rhapsodic and eloquent long melody that seems to exist in a rhythmic world of its own. The attempt to escape from a mechanical, simplistic and one-dimensional sense of time has been the most radical characteristic of Elliott’s technique, together with the way he has tried to derive and shape the melodic material directly from the sonority of the different instruments.

By this time his style was largely his own. Unlike most of his contemporaries he never tried to compose in the 12-tone system, finding it absurdly constraining, although a copy of Schoenberg’s Opus 25 Piano Pieces that he bought as a teenager on a trip to Vienna with his father was what stimulated his interest in music.

He received encouragement from Charles Ives, and like many other American composers of the late 1920s and ’30s, he was firmly in the Stravinsky Neo-Classical camp and studied in France with Nadia Boulanger. In the late 1940s he freed himself from this stylistic dependence, although his individuality had already been apparent for some time.

Later influences on his work even include Mozart and Schumann. When I remarked to him on the originality of some virtuoso figuration in the Piano Concerto, Elliott just said, “Oh, that’s like one of the Chopin études.” So it is, but it sounds like Carter. As T. S. Eliot remarked, minor artists imitate, major artists steal. Of course they make what they steal their own.

Elliott was born in New York in 1908. His father, a wealthy importer of lace, disapproved of Elliott’s choice of music as a profession and gave him no encouragement. Through much of his life his main support came from his wife, Helen, a brilliant woman who had been a sculptor and who was adored and feared by her many friends and admirers. She arranged everything firmly so that Elliott had the time and the peace of mind to work. They were happily and closely united for half a century until her death in 2003.

Even before a series of notable successes and his growing reputation had made Elliott’s life much easier, he and Helen were extraordinarily generous in helping musicians. Elliott has been especially interested in the practical aspects of performing music since the 1940s, when he worked with and composed for George Balanchine and Lincoln Kirstein in what would eventually become the New York City Ballet. Above all Elliott has always been concerned to explore the capacities of each instrument and its special character, and many aspects of his work are inspired by this study.

Between the Cello Sonata and the Double Concerto, Elliott had made a breakthrough in his career with the lengthy String Quartet No. 1. Here, for the first time, as he has said, he allowed himself to write just the music that appealed to him, with no thought of audience or performer. Paradoxically the quartet quickly became his most popular work and was soon in the repertory of many string quartets. Pierre Boulez has remarked that he once thought that string quartet form was irretrievably old-fashioned but that Elliott’s quartets had convinced him that something new and original could still be accomplished in it. More than any other composer Elliott made the string quartet into a dialogue and an adventure among four equal virtuosos.

For some time one of the attractions of Elliott’s music may actually have been its difficulty: the challenge presented by his sense of time, which yields not cross-rhythms but cross-tempos, actions that seem to exist independently yet combine to create new syntheses. It is astonishing how many pianists, for example, have wanted to record as well as perform a difficult long work like “Night Fantasies,” and how many quartets keep the string quartets as an essential part of their repertory.

But over the years this difficulty has largely dissipated. The music has become much easier to play, to listen to and to understand as it has entered into the general musical experience. Some of the works of composers he influenced now seem much more complex than his. Certain unreconstructed hard-core modernists are actually taken aback by the traditional eloquence that often appears in his work; one critic deplored Elliott’s use of the classical score marking “espressivo.”

Such moments of lyricism are remarkable in “What Next?,” the one-act opera from 1998 now at the Miller Theater. It is clear that alongside all the innovative aspects of his technique, Elliott has never wanted to renounce the unashamed eloquence of the music of the past, which retains an essential role in his work. But there is also a certain reticence, an evasion of any final grandiloquence. None of his works, not even those with the grandest proportions, end with an emphatic bang; the last phrase is always the still, small voice.

Perhaps the most striking development in Elliott’s style in the last three decades is the series of song cycles for solo voice and small chamber group. “A Mirror on Which to Dwell,” a setting of Elizabeth Bishop poems from 1975, was followed by “Syringa,” settings of John Ashbery, in 1978, and “In Sleep, in Thunder,” settings of Robert Lowell, in 1981. Most delicate and exquisite of all is the Italian cycle of 1998 on poems by Eugenio Montale, Salvatore Quasimodo and Giuseppe Ungaretti, “Tempo e Tempi.”

The creativity of recent decades has been extraordinary. Concertos for cello, for piano and for oboe register a new consideration of the sonority of each instrument; the power of invention appears to have become more immediate. And there is a series of imaginative short solo pieces and duos written for friends. In many of the latest productions, the most complex effects of his middle period reappear with a new economy and an easier conviction. So many composers develop a late style when they are about 50, but Elliott had to wait for his 80s to achieve his.

Yet those of us who are sure that his work is the finest and most moving musical inspiration of our time wonder what novel turns will be found in the new projects he continues to take up. What, indeed, is next?

Charles Rosen, a concert pianist, writes and lectures extensively on music.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on December 09, 2007, 11:04:28 AM
Groovissimo!
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on December 09, 2007, 05:33:00 PM
Just got back from NYC, where I saw the staging of What Next? at the Miller Theater. First off, to answer the question that's been on everyone's mind since the premiere: Yes, the piece does work as an opera. Until tonight I've known the work only through a concert performance and the recording. Reviews of the premiere at the Staatsoper Berlin were mixed. Most of the critics I read praised the music but found fault with Paul Griffiths' libretto, which, they said, wasn't sufficiently dramatic.

Perhaps it isn't. It does still strike me as repetitious. Mama talks too much about the wedding and the need to do something about the predicament, but in the Miller production, director Christopher Alden kept everything moving with plenty of stage business and physical contact between the characters, which, when coupled with Carter's concentrated, beautiful score, kept my attention from flagging, and at some points drew me forward on my seat. Near the beginning, whenever Mama mentioned the wedding, she threw a fistful of confetti. Zen went offstage momentarily to take whiz, and Harry or Larry kept fondling Stella's behind, which gave sense to her line "Piss off, you!" at the end. I was actually happy she said (or sang) it.

I quite liked the set, too. It was very spare, with white rectangular tiles and bright, square wall lamps meant to place us in the Holland Tunnel. One wall extended from stage left, then curved backwards parallel to the wall angling in from stage right, creating a natural exit. The only props were plastic barriers of white and orange and a Game Boy held by the kid.     

The singers were uniformly excellent, though the score gives the women more opportunity to shine. The sound of the small orchestra seemed exceptionally rich. I left my program back in the theater, and right now the only performer whose name I remember is Susan Narucki, who played Mama. She's a favorite of mine (see my review of When the Moon, her collection of Ives songs), and it was a treat to greet her after the performance.

Maybe it’s my own Carterian prejudices talking, or my sense of the occasion, but honestly, I cannot remember when I've had such a good time at an opera, and I've seen quite a few.

The first half of the program consisted of five of Mr. Carter's short chamber pieces, cleverly arranged to fill the stage with musicians gradually. It started with a selection from the Four Lauds for solo violin, then continued with Esprit Rude, Esprit Doux for flute and clarinet and Au Quai for viola and bassoon, Con Leggerezza Pensosa for violin, cello and clarinet, and finally Luimen for six instruments. The musicians were all young and gave sensitive, colorful accounts of the music.

David Fulmer's performance of "Fantasy — Remembering Roger" from the Four Lauds represented something a milestone for me. It was the first time I can recall seeing any instrumentalist play a Carter piece from memory. An incisive, energetic performance, too.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: springrite on December 09, 2007, 09:00:16 PM
I am currently in discussion with people of influence to make Eliott Carter the theme of the 2008 Beijing Contemporary Music Festival which coincide with Carter's 100th birthday. Not sure if it can be pulled off, but several people seem very interested and supportive of the idea.

IF (a big IF, I know) it happens, will some of you come to Beijing? 
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on December 10, 2007, 08:47:36 AM
IF (a big IF, I know) it happens, will some of you come to Beijing? 

Ordinarily, I'd say no, but this morning, I heard on the radio that someone in Scotland paid $170,000 at a charity auction to attend a Led Zepplin reuinion concert. So, it would seem, I am not the biggest, most foolish, most spendthrift fanatic on the planet. After that, anything I do will seem perfectly reasonable. So yes, if I can make it, I will.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on December 10, 2007, 08:52:44 AM
BTW, nice review from Anthony Tomassini in today's Times. He's says what I said much better than I could say it.

6 Characters in Search of a Dimension, in Different Operatic Tempos            
By ANTHONY TOMMASINI
Published: December 10, 2007

Though Elliott Carter is an indisputably towering figure in contemporary music, few would have pegged him as a composer with a knack for opera. He attended operas for decades, but selectively. He did not pay heed to “La Bohème” until he was nearly 70 and left the show unimpressed.

That was then. Around the age of 90 he turned to opera in his own uncompromising way. He found a sympathetic librettist in the music critic Paul Griffiths (a former colleague of mine, who contributed reviews to The New York Times for several years). The opera that resulted was “What Next?,” a 40-minute, one-act work, which had its premiere at the Deutsche Staatsoper in Berlin in 1999.

It is an existential comedy about six people, survivors (or victims?) of an auto accident, who struggle to make sense of what has happened to them and how they are related to one another, if at all. There is an engrossing ECM recording of the piece, recorded during a performance in Amsterdam in 2000.

But “What Next?” must be seen to be appreciated fully. On Friday night the opera had its New York stage premiere at the Miller Theater, a production directed by Christopher Alden, with Jeffrey Milarsky conducting a terrific cast and the excellent 38-piece Axiom ensemble. In this imaginative staging and gripping performance “What Next?” emerges as a theatrically dynamic and, finally, quite poignant music drama. The last performance, on Tuesday night, falls on Mr. Carter’s 99th birthday.

What changed in Mr. Carter’s career to lead him to opera so late? For one thing, starting in the mid-1970s, he re-embraced vocal music, composing a series of remarkable works. In addition, in the last 15 years or so, he has made his language more lucid and accessible without compromising the multilayered complexity of his music. Multiple overlapping elements still jostle and engage one another, at different tempos and seemingly in different dimensions. But the textures are thinned out; not quite so many things happen at once as in earlier pieces.

Also, Mr. Carter has increasingly found ways to compose with bracing economy, as five shorter solo and chamber pieces played by musicians from Axiom — like “Au Quai” (2002), for bassoon and viola (Justin Brown and Nadia Sirota) — demonstrated in the first half of the program. Just as in those compact works, Mr. Carter gets a lot of music into his brief opera.

“What Next?” begins with a volley of percussion to convey the clanking, steely, rhythmically jagged noises of a car crash. Andrew Cavanaugh Holland’s set depicts a traffic underpass, with curved walls of oddly clean white tiles and a tangle of huge plastic roadway dividers in the center. There we meet the stunned characters. Rose (the agile and appealing soprano Amanda Squitieri), is a bride and stage performer in high heels and a sequined top. Harry or Larry (that’s his name) is a bridegroom and also a clown (Morgan Smith, a hardy baritone), who busies himself pointlessly with a fishing pole.

Zen (Matthew Garrett, a husky-toned tenor) is a seer, though he seems the most befuddled of all in his frumpy suit and shoulder bag crammed with papers. Stella (the rich mezzo-soprano Katherine Rohrer), an astronomer, is all seriousness with thick-rimmed glasses, though she makes no sense. You count on Mama (the luminous, compelling soprano Susan Narucki), who looks so trustworthy in her sensible brown coat, to sort things out. There is also the Kid, a small but critical role (Jonathan Makepeace, a charming boy alto), who is engrossed with a hand-held computer game and seems the least rattled of the group.

There is much fanciful and poetic writing in Mr. Griffiths’s libretto, including Gertrude Steinian touches: “A spider in the lane is a spider in the lane,” says Harry or Larry. Mr. Carter’s Modernist musical language may be audaciously complex, but the sheer visceral impact, endless variety and myriad colorings make it effectively dramatic. The vocal parts, full of skittish leaps, are daunting to sing. Amid the fitfulness are tender episodes, wistful, dusky, harmonically tart passages that seem to comfort the characters, as when the sad mother, recalling her home, with its well-stocked refrigerator, sings: “The boiler below like the engine of our little ship/carrying us safely nowhere else/which is where we all wanted to be.”

Soon it seems apparent that these six characters have died, which is why they are struggling to figure out their new surroundings and cannot quite retrieve their pasts. Two silent road workers arrive to clear away the clutter, and they neither see nor hear the victims. At the end, after a chaotic ensemble, all except the Kid shuffle offstage, bunched in a pack, facing the audience, as in those comic ensembles in Rossini when the action stops and characters wonder aloud what is going on. Left alone on stage, the Kid says, “What —— .” Just that.

What next? That’s the big question this little opera grapples with so affectingly.

Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on December 10, 2007, 08:55:41 AM
. . . this morning, I heard on the radio that someone in Scotland paid $170,000 at a charity auction to attend a Led Zeppelin reunion concert.

Maybe he really, really wanted to support that charity . . . .
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on December 10, 2007, 09:11:11 AM
BTW, nice review from Anthony Tomassini in today's Times. He's says what I said much better than I could say it.

Well, at least you mentioned the other, smaller works!  His review is excellent, but he doesn't discuss the first half much, and I thought in its own way it was just as strong as the opera.  (I went on Friday, and alas, was ill yesterday and couldn't join Joe.)

The performances were really strong.  Susan Narucki...what a voice she has.  And I overheard someone behind me say about the opera, "How are they able to even play that--it's so difficult!"

PS, on Friday night, pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard was in the audience, and was posing with Carter for photos afterward.

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on December 10, 2007, 09:17:20 AM
Paul Griffiths, the librettist, sat at the end of my aisle, four seats away. I spoke to him briefly during intermission. He was impressed with Fulmer's performance of the violin fantasy, as I was, and said he liked the production of his opera, too. He said it really came together. Afterwards, I told him I prefer the piece on stage. He was about to say, "Yes, it makes a lot more sense," but he swallowed the last word when he realized that senselessness is sort of the point.   

Quote from: Bruce Hodges
The performances were really strong.  Susan Narucki...what a voice she has.  And I overheard someone behind me say about the opera, "How are they able to even play that--it's so difficult!"

It's a legitmate question. For me, playing is not the problem, since the musicians have the score and a conductor in front of them, but I do remember wondering how the performers remembered which pitches to sing. It's not like Mozart, where you start on one note and follow the key signature. But then, professionals have been pushing the envelope for centuries. I would think Wagner is tough to memorize, too.

Just a great time.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on December 10, 2007, 11:38:23 AM
Maybe he really, really wanted to support that charity . . . .

Tickets are also selling on eBay for $800. No charity there.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on December 10, 2007, 11:42:10 AM
Maybe they're establishing a fund for Widows of Hard-Partying Drummers .

It could feature in the sequel to This is Spinal Tap
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on December 11, 2007, 11:59:33 AM
Now that the site is back up, I can wish Happy Carter Day to all my friends at CMG. Today, Dec. 11, 2007, is Mr. Carter's 99th birthday, and a year's worth of centennial celebrations is about to begin. I'm lookng forward to hearing a lot of great music in the coming months, as well as a few premieres.

I'm told Mr. Carter will attend tonight's performance of What Next? at the Miller Theater. Unfortunately, I can't make it to New York on a Tuesday, though Sunday's performance was enough to hold me for a while. Bruce Hodges is planning to be there, if he's feeling better, and around 8 p.m. I'll be thinking of him with envy.  0:)

Not sure how I'll be celebrating this evening when I get home. Maybe I'll listen to both my versions of the Cello Concerto, as I promised myself I would do.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on December 11, 2007, 12:46:25 PM
I'll be there tonight!  And I've heard from some ten or twelve others who will be as well.  Miller Theatre is apparently close to selling out.

I put up a modest tribute, here (http://monotonousforest.typepad.com/monotonous_forest/2007/12/from-the-birthd.html).

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on December 12, 2007, 07:31:37 AM
Last night's final performance of What Next? was quite a party.  Miller Theatre's capacity is 688, and every seat was taken for Carter's 99th birthday.  I have been to Miller many times but have never seen such a huge crush of people, with many waiting for ticket returns.

The program was even better a second time around.  I especially liked Au Quai (2002) for the unlikely combo of viola and bassoon, and the six players who plunged into Luimen (1997, for the even more unusual combination of trumpet, trombone, vibraphone, mandolin, guitar and harp) were fantastic.

But the opera was no doubt the centerpiece.  Joe Barron has waxed on about it earlier so I won't replay his excellent comments, but suffice to say that it repaid a second hearing.  Jeffrey Milarsky, the conductor, got a huge ovation after eliciting terrific work from everyone, especially the huge orchestra in the pit. 

And after the cast took their bows, they launched into "Happy Birthday," and the entire crowd stood and sang along, as Carter (helped by Paul Griffiths) smiled and faced the audience.  A truly memorable evening. 

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on December 12, 2007, 08:51:10 AM
Luimen (1997, for the even more unusual combination of trumpet, trombone, vibraphone, mandolin, guitar and harp) [was] fantastic.

Unusual, but inspired. As I've pointed out in the past, the breathing, sustained tones of the brass provide a contrast and underpinning to the short noteds of the plucked strings.The vibraphone, the vibraphone, with its ability to reverberate after the mallet hits the key, falls between the two groups in terms of sonority. Something else you might not know about Luimen— the solo guitar piece "Shard" appears, in its entirety, about two thirds of the way through the piece.

Bruce, I knew I was going to be jealous of you. Was there cake and champagne afterward?
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on December 12, 2007, 09:36:56 AM
Unusual, but inspired. As I've pointed out in the past, the breathing, sustained tones of the brass provide a contrast and underpinning to the short noteds of the plucked strings.The vibraphone, the vibraphone, with its ability to reverberate after the mallet hits the key, falls between the two groups in terms of sonority. Something else you might not know about Luimen— the solo guitar piece "Shard" appears, in its entirety, about two thirds of the way through the piece.

Bruce, I knew I was going to be jealous of you. Was there cake and champagne afterward?

Alas, no cake or champagne.  (They would have had to provide it for almost 700 people, so I'm not surprised!)  I did wonder afterward what Carter did yesterday, i.e., how he celebrated.  (Just having dinner with Paul Griffiths would have been enough for me.)

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: springrite on December 12, 2007, 09:45:47 AM
I did wonder afterward what Carter did yesterday, i.e., how he celebrated. 

Well, I assume he did NOT spend part of the day composing.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on December 12, 2007, 09:46:29 AM
I was there too, and joined in the singing of Happy Birthday and the standing ovation to this extraordinary musical thinker. (Can't speak for the cake and champagne, as I left right afterwards.) But contrary to the above opinions, the high points of the evening were for me the five instrumental miniatures played in the first half. These were absolutely exquisite, especially "Remembering Roger" as dazzling played from memory by David Fulmer, "Au Quai" which continues the age-old tradition of the Bassoon as Clown, and the longer, thoroughly absorbing "Luimen" for guitar, mandolin, harp, vibraphone, trumpet, and trombone.

I first heard "What Next?" in a CSO concert at Carnegie Hall some five years ago, when Daniel Barenboim paired it rather incongruously with Falla's ballet of The Three-Cornered Hat. I did not find it especially gripping or convincing then, and seeing it last night (despite superb performances and productions values) did not change my opinion. The real problem is the libretto, which Paul Griffiths has used to create a static situation where six characters, apparently victims of an accident, bicker, squabble, and bicker some more until the Kid, the only person on stage who is mildly sympathetic and believable (and who seems to find the other five characters as much a pain in the ass as I did) ends the play by asking "What?" But squabbling and bickering are not dramatic in themselves, unless there is some kind of conflict or action that creates a need for resolution. If you compare a roughly similar drama, Sartre's No Exit (which more wisely restricts the action to three well-developed characters rather than Griffiths's sketchily realized six), you get a situation where Garçin has to make a decision - to demand the door of the locked room be opened, in which case neither he nor the two women have the courage to leave. What's more, this action is led up to by Garçin's being goaded by Inès and Estelle.

Griffiths's characters are by contrast more passive, and what's more their dialogue is irritatingly pretentious. We get an astronomer who recites names of planets, a typically vain operatic soprano, an annoying mother, and two men I can remember little about. In this staging, at one point the astronomer scrawls odd designs on what looks like the interior of a New York City vehicular tunnel, and then she smears them off. Why? Just some more silly pretentious business, I guess. When thinking of this libretto I couldn't help recall Mark Twain's "Fenimore Cooper's Literary Offenses," where he states among other things that in a credible work of fiction:

- a tale shall accomplish something and arrive somewhere. But the "What Next?" tale accomplishes nothing and arrives in air.
- when the personages of a tale deal in conversation, the talk shall sound like human talk, and be talk such as human beings would be likely to talk in the given circumstances, and have a discoverable meaning, also a discoverable purpose, and a show of relevancy, and remain in the neighborhood of the subject at hand, and be interesting to the viewer, and help out the tale, and stop when the people cannot think of anything more to say. But this requirement has been ignored from the beginning of "What Next?" to the end of it.
- the author shall make the reader feel a deep interest in the personages of his tale and in their fate; and that he shall make the reader love the good people in the tale and hate the bad ones. But the viewer of "What Next?" dislikes the good people in it, is indifferent to the others, and wishes they would all get drowned together.

But why blame Carter for all this? After all, he didn't write the libretto. But as Joseph Kerman has argued in his famous book "Opera as Drama," in an opera the dramatist is the composer, and Griffiths's slender situation has given the composer little room to develop a persuasive operatic drama. All I hear are miscellaneous effects, with perhaps the most striking music per se being the instrumental interlude midway dominated by the English horn. An opera needs great music, but without a sound libretto it has no structure. (And by contrast, the libretto to - say- Il Trovatore, despite any absurdities, is a sound framework that gives Verdi ample opportunity to develop a musical drama, as well as characters who intensely involve the viewer.)

Carter does have a sense of drama, but his dramas have best been played out in such instrumental works as the Piano Concerto and the middle quartets. Or even little miniatures like Au Quai. On the basis of the feeble 40-minute stage work that dominated yesterday's event, I would say he has not yet shown a sense of operatic drama.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on December 12, 2007, 12:14:58 PM
Sforzando, your critique is well considered and your points well taken, and you're certainly not alone in your opinion. One Carter expert told me much the same things, though more concisely. "The libretto sucks," he said.

I can only repeat that I had a grand time, and the show kept my interest consistently. Yes, the characters are annoying, but so were the characters on Seinfeld. Griffiths recognized this when he got them offstage in the middle of the act. He calls the interlude "The Singing Stage" and says the music reflects the theater's relief at being rid of the characters for a time.

The male characters did make an impression on me, though they don't come off well as models of behavior. I remember thinking, whenever Zen dropped one his paradoxes, "Gee, what a big help." Stella's scribbling, as you call it, was calculus equations. She was an astronomer, and in this situation, in which everyone's memory was failing, she was retreating to the one thing that made sense to her, the one thing that gave her identity.

As for Mr. Twain's comments about dialogue, they are good standards to use when approaching a work of fiction, but as Pauline Kael said, standards are useful only as rules of thumb until you find yourself responding to a work that violates them. I found myself responding, and that's really all I can say. I certainly don't expect you to change your mind.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on December 12, 2007, 12:46:49 PM
Well, I assume he did NOT spend part of the day composing.

I'm assuming he did ...  ;)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on December 12, 2007, 12:50:22 PM
I'm assuming he did ...  ;)

Could break either way, really.

Thanks, Sforzando, for voicing The Respectful Opposition  8)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on December 24, 2007, 09:18:22 AM
Well, now we know who will be playing the Cello Concerto next month:

From The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

Young Fairbanks musician wins Juilliard School Concerto Competition
By Dermot Cole
Staff Writer
Published December 24, 2007

American composer Elliott Carter told an interviewer in 2001 that he wrote the complex score for “Elliott Carter’s Cello Concerto” with cellist Yo-Yo Ma in mind.

The New York Times said the piece is “like a soliloquy for cello with orchestral commentary” that features “formidably complex rhythmic writing.”

Carter, who just turned 99, is to be honored in February at the Focus! Festival in New York City with performances of his music.

Fairbanksan Dane Johansen, who is a graduate student at Juilliard, has been unanimously selected by a panel of judges to play Elliott Carter’s Cello Concerto at the concluding concert of the festival.

Johansen won the Juilliard School Concerto Competition Dec. 14 and is to perform with the Juilliard Orchestra in Lincoln Center, conducted by James Levine, conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

The cello department at Juilliard has been “pleading for Carter’s Cello Concerto as a competition piece,” Joel Sachs of Juilliard wrote in the Juilliard Journal Online, but “no conductor had agreed to do it.”

In part that is because not many cellists play this concerto. The total has roughly doubled recently because of Johansen and the other students who learned it to enter the Juilliard competition.

The son of Gail and Tony Johansen, Dane said he is very excited at the chance to work with Carter and Levine, two legends in American music. Carter is scheduled to attend rehearsals and the performance.

Johansen is finishing his master’s degree in cello performance at Juilliard. He was 16 when he began studying at the Cleveland Institute of Music and has also received training at the National Conservatory in Paris.

He started learning the cello under the instruction of Peggy Swartz, who was one of the first Suzuki Method teachers in Alaska. He also studied in the Fairbanks School of Talent Education, the Fairbanks Youth Orchestras and the public school orchestras.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on December 26, 2007, 10:46:33 AM
Joe, somehow I permitted the Clarinet Concerto / Symphonia: Sum Fluxae Pretium Spei to depart from our library (must have been Lean Times).  The concerto is not much longer by the clock than the Horn Concerto.

Really enjoying this disc; I don't know why it didn't click with me earlier.  One of life's imponderables.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on December 26, 2007, 12:17:16 PM
Joe, somehow I permitted the Clarinet Concerto / Symphonia: Sum Fluxae Pretium Spei to depart from our library (must have been Lean Times).  The concerto is not much longer by the clock than the Horn Concerto.

Really enjoying this disc; I don't know why it didn't click with me earlier.  One of life's imponderables.

That's a marvelous Carter disc: very strong works and performances.  And your reaction is a good argument for giving a recording a second (or even third or fourth) chance.  I have done that with a number of Carter recordings that didn't register at first, but after a few hearings...I got it.

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: greg on December 26, 2007, 04:33:34 PM
Joe, somehow I permitted the Clarinet Concerto / Symphonia: Sum Fluxae Pretium Spei to depart from our library (must have been Lean Times). 
oh no, you didn't!
go to the corner, young man, and confess the sin you have committed!
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on December 26, 2007, 04:37:56 PM
We already have the fruits of repentance  0:)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: greg on December 26, 2007, 04:39:10 PM
We already have the fruits of repentance  0:)
yep  0:)
(Jesus can forgive us all, no matter how many Carter CDs we neglect...  :o )
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on December 26, 2007, 07:11:17 PM
Well, now we know who will be playing the Cello Concerto next month:

From The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

Young Fairbanks musician wins Juilliard School Concerto Competition
By Dermot Cole
Staff Writer
Published December 24, 2007

American composer Elliott Carter told an interviewer in 2001 that he wrote the complex score for “Elliott Carter’s Cello Concerto” with cellist Yo-Yo Ma in mind.

The New York Times said the piece is “like a soliloquy for cello with orchestral commentary” that features “formidably complex rhythmic writing.”

Carter, who just turned 99, is to be honored in February at the Focus! Festival in New York City with performances of his music.

Fairbanksan Dane Johansen, who is a graduate student at Juilliard, has been unanimously selected by a panel of judges to play Elliott Carter’s Cello Concerto at the concluding concert of the festival.

Johansen won the Juilliard School Concerto Competition Dec. 14 and is to perform with the Juilliard Orchestra in Lincoln Center, conducted by James Levine, conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

The cello department at Juilliard has been “pleading for Carter’s Cello Concerto as a competition piece,” Joel Sachs of Juilliard wrote in the Juilliard Journal Online, but “no conductor had agreed to do it.”

In part that is because not many cellists play this concerto. The total has roughly doubled recently because of Johansen and the other students who learned it to enter the Juilliard competition.

The son of Gail and Tony Johansen, Dane said he is very excited at the chance to work with Carter and Levine, two legends in American music. Carter is scheduled to attend rehearsals and the performance.

Johansen is finishing his master’s degree in cello performance at Juilliard. He was 16 when he began studying at the Cleveland Institute of Music and has also received training at the National Conservatory in Paris.

He started learning the cello under the instruction of Peggy Swartz, who was one of the first Suzuki Method teachers in Alaska. He also studied in the Fairbanks School of Talent Education, the Fairbanks Youth Orchestras and the public school orchestras.


Has this been mentioned yet?

Quote
Saturday, February 2, 2008 Juilliard Orchestra, James Levine, conductor (Peter Jay Sharp Theater)
IVES Three Places in New England
CARTER Cello Concerto
CARTER Symphonia: sum fluxae pretium spei


Tix are free two weeks in advance.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on December 27, 2007, 05:53:50 AM
Okay . . . so where's the Peter Jay Sharp Theater?

[ Ah, thank you, Google! ]
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on December 27, 2007, 06:17:00 AM
Okay . . . so where's the Peter Jay Sharp Theater?

[ Ah, thank you, Google! ]

Juilliard School, Lincoln Center.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on January 02, 2008, 03:13:19 PM
Here's a nice post (http://www.overgrownpath.com/2008/01/music-has-to-be-adventurous-experience.html) on the centenaries of Carter and Messiaen on one of my favorite blogs, On an Overgrown Path.  The post's title is culled from liner notes to a recording of guitar music by Carter, Cage and Terry Riley.

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Al Moritz on January 06, 2008, 03:52:30 PM
Joe, somehow I permitted the Clarinet Concerto / Symphonia: Sum Fluxae Pretium Spei to depart from our library (must have been Lean Times).  The concerto is not much longer by the clock than the Horn Concerto.

Really enjoying this disc; I don't know why it didn't click with me earlier.  One of life's imponderables.

But Karl, hadn't you enjoyed the Symphonia live performance by the Boston Symphony 2 or 3 years ago?
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on January 06, 2008, 04:45:09 PM
But Karl, hadn't you enjoyed the Symphonia live performance by the Boston Symphony 2 or 3 years ago?

Another of life's imponderables, I guess ...  ;)
Title: Re: Conclave of the Cantankerous Carter Clan
Post by: paulb on January 10, 2008, 06:02:02 PM
In Europe he is not, at least not with me.


The modernists in europe know well the genius of Carter, as americans greatest CM composer. Copland is just american folk orchestral, and nothing to do with the CM genre.
Carter is the last of the great CM composers of history with Boulez also inducted into this genre, as we wait for more masterpieces from Boulez.
Europe currently has no CM composers. Pettersson was the last. We could say Schnittke, as he died after P, but Schnittke is slightly more russian than german influences.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Mark G. Simon on January 11, 2008, 07:43:54 AM
Paub

Welcome back!! I hope you're well settled in dry house on high ground.

Let me know as soon as you actually listen to Copland's music.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on January 11, 2008, 08:40:37 AM
Let me know as soon as you actually listen to Copland's music.

 ;D

As much I appreciate Paul's comments about Carter, I must disagree about Copland. To me, saying Copland is just American folk is kind of like saying Dvorak is just Czech folk or Borodin is just Russian folk. There is much more to Copland than the cowboy music, and anyway, the use of folk music has a long and venrable tradition in the CM genre.

Welcome back, Paul. And you're right. Mr. Carter is well respected — and frequently played — in Europe.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: paulb on January 11, 2008, 09:05:47 AM
;D

As much I appreciate Paul's comments about Carter, I must disagree about Copland. To me, saying Copland is just American folk is kind of like saying Dvorak is just Czech folk or Borodin is just Russian folk. There is much more to Copland than the cowboy music, and anyway, the use of folk music has a long and venrable tradition in the CM genre.

Welcome back, Paul. And you're right. Mr. Carter is well respected — and frequently played — in Europe.

Well in fact Dvorak is nothing but czech folk. Borodin russian folk. Grieg offers danish folk but his music rises to the classical genre.
Dvorak has good tone poems, but its folk music. His syms 1-8 are are Dvorak-Beethoven. There's nothing but Beethoven in his syms. the 9th I would say is CM, as its something new to offer. His syms 1-8 you can get in better form in Beethoven.
I could never consider Copland classical music genre. There's too much old folk tunes involved, and he casts images of  landscapes.  Big deal.
Nothing too original. Carter is a  coninuation of Schonberg, but has his own unique universal voice. You can't say Carter is american classical, as you can with Copland.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Mark G. Simon on January 11, 2008, 09:27:24 AM
Well in fact Dvorak is nothing but czech folk. Borodin russian folk.

Nothing but folk music? Really? You give the Czech and Russian peasants a lot of credit. To think that they can come up with symphonies and string quartets while sowing their fields, complete with an instinctive grasp of harmony and orchestration. How do they ever manage it?

 
Quote
Grieg offers danish folk but his music rises to the classical genre.

Well, he might have eaten a few danishes, but he preferred to draw from Norwegian music.

Title: Re: Conclave of the Cantankerous Carter Clan
Post by: Al Moritz on January 11, 2008, 09:28:31 AM
Europe currently has no CM composers. Pettersson was the last. We could say Schnittke, as he died after P, but Schnittke is slightly more russian than german influences.

Really, Europe has no classical music composers now? What about giants like Rihm and Ferneyhough?

Title: Re: Conclave of the Cantankerous Carter Clan
Post by: Kullervo on January 11, 2008, 09:30:39 AM
Really, Europe has no classical music composers now? What about giants like Rihm and Ferneyhough?



Well, if they don't impress with 30-second clips they are probably worthless. ;D
Title: Re: Conclave of the Cantankerous Carter Clan
Post by: Al Moritz on January 11, 2008, 09:35:39 AM
Well, if they don't impress with 30-second clips they are probably worthless. ;D

Hehe!
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: paulb on January 11, 2008, 01:24:34 PM
Nothing but folk music? Really? You give the Czech and Russian peasants a lot of credit. To think that they can come up with symphonies and string quartets while sowing their fields, complete with an instinctive grasp of harmony and orchestration. How do they ever manage it?

 
Well, he might have eaten a few danishes, but he preferred to draw from Norwegian music.



What Dvorak did in syms 1-8 is listen to Beethoven constantly, then rehashed the muisc and slappeda   title, sym 1, sym 2, sym 3, and so forth all the way to #8,.
then came to america and wrote something half decent.
Dvorak scored a   few interesting folk pieces, but all in the romantic style, which to me is nothing too exciting after you hear them once or twice. Whereas Bartok didn't get stuck in any old form, but broke out his hungarian roots and drew inspiration from other great composers.

For instance Bartok adored Shostakovich and thus here was one influence  ;) ;D

Actually it was Stravinsky that made an impact on Bartok. And i do love the many  Hungarian themes that sparkle throughout Bartok's masterpieces, music  still alive with meaning today.

Dvorak is old history.
Title: Re: Conclave of the Cantankerous Carter Clan
Post by: paulb on January 11, 2008, 01:28:37 PM
Really, Europe has no classical music composers now? What about giants like Rihm and Ferneyhough?


Who?
I'll take a  glance, and let you know.
I;'m open to the unexpected, but as you can surmise, skepticism is high. Strong doubts.
CM for me is a  unique genre. Not just anyone can get in, got to have credentials. I exclude much more than include.
You know how this world is, about real substance.
Well this world minus the propaganda, which is flooding this world.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on January 11, 2008, 01:32:30 PM
But Karl, hadn't you enjoyed the Symphonia live performance by the Boston Symphony 2 or 3 years ago?

I had, Al, indeed;  but more from the standpoint of admiring the feat of performance, than the piece per se.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on January 11, 2008, 01:33:14 PM
Dvorak is old history.

Well, nothing wrong with that, as such :-)
Title: Re: Conclave of the Cantankerous Carter Clan
Post by: paulb on January 11, 2008, 01:39:03 PM
Well, if they don't impress with 30-second clips they are probably worthless. ;D

No actually I plan to give more than a  minute clip for Rihm and Fennyhough.
My standards are pretty tough to make the grade to CM status.
Most late 20th C muisc falls into what i tag as Modern Instrumental, New Age Instrumental. And i just now realize that the above mentioned 5 compoers fall into Classical Music Tradition Genre, so now all others I consider avant garde.
IOW Carter to me is not avant garde, as its uniquely Classical Music. Boulez may get most of his works into this genre, I've yet to order that 4 cds set, my hunch so far based on 3 short pieces on Youtube, that in fact Boulz has masterpieces worthy of that specific genre the history books call Classical Muisc.
Lutoslawski, Penderecki, you call these 2 classical composers? why? I see no reason to misinterpret their music  as something other tha  what it is.
Ligeti? Classical Muisc? Absoluetly not!
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: paulb on January 11, 2008, 01:46:07 PM
Well, nothing wrong with that, as such :-)

Nothing at all, just keep within reason the nature of his music, as old form, nothing to offer in todays world.
So instead of programming Dvorak at concerts, radio, lets hear some Elliot Carter and much much less from Dvorak.
For everytime Dvorak is programmed at a  concert we should see Carter 10 times on the schedule.
See my point, there;'s only so many composers can be covered in one season. Why push Carter aside for old dusty music like Dvorak?

Elliot Carter is america's only classical composer, with Ives as runner up and 2 masterpieces from Ruggles.
David Diamond is NOTHING BUT rehashed Vaughan Williams and overly strong flavors from Copland. Nothing too exceptional  about mimicing other composers, now it there?
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on January 11, 2008, 02:24:29 PM
So instead of programming Dvorak at concerts, radio, lets hear some Elliot Carter and much much less from Dvorak.
For everytime Dvorak is programmed at a  concert we should see Carter 10 times on the schedule.
Agreed!  ;D

Elliot Carter is america's only classical composer, with Ives as runner up and 2 masterpieces from Ruggles.

Well, this puzzles me. If Carter is America's only classical composer, how can there be a runner up? Or two? And I would think the criticism of Copland also applies to Ives: the nonclassical use of folk music, if nonclassical it is, which it isn't.  ???

Anyway, we're off topic here. This thread is about Elliott Carter, and I'd appreciate moving extended criticism of Copland et al. elsewhere. Some big big Carter concerts coming up in the next couple of weeks, and I want to save my strength.  ;)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: paulb on January 11, 2008, 03:07:25 PM
Agreed!  ;D

Well, this puzzles me. If Carter is America's only classical composer, how can there be a runner up? Or two? And I would think the criticism of Copland also applies to Ives: the nonclassical use of folk music, if nonclassical it is, which it isn't.  ???

Anyway, we're off topic here. This thread is about Elliott Carter, and I'd appreciate moving extended criticism of Copland et al. elsewhere. Some big big Carter concerts coming up in the next couple of weeks, and I want to save my strength.  ;)

runner up I realize was not the appropriate expression.
I maen to say that for me, only Carter is a  classical composer, worthy of the genre began with bach and Vivaldi.
Agree Copland is folk, Ives too.
Rarely listen to Ives much these days, if ever.

Back to Carter,
We yet await 10 masterpieces score in his 96-99th yr. Correct me if i;'m wrong on any numbers there, Thats what i recall arriving at.
10!! masterpieces. Artists have much work to do. hopefully we do not have to wait yrs to hear them, Although it will take me yrs to work through waht already has made it to disc.
Elliot Carter stands unique in my entire collection. Not a  dud in all his works, all first rate creative classical. 
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on January 11, 2008, 03:13:16 PM
Elliot Carter stands unique in my entire collection. Not a  dud in all his works, all first rate creative classical. 

I like where you're coming from.  :)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: paulb on January 11, 2008, 04:14:25 PM
I like where you're coming from.  :)

Joe
The only cd I'm missing is that new Naxos with his 2 early works, a  sym and...oh post the cd, you know it.
Someone over at amazon mentioned it is one of his favorites from Carter, has this exhiliaration that always satisfies. I have it on order today. Dates from the early 50's?
So like 40 yrs later Carter is still scoring masterpieces, start to fininsh! Europe has produced no one to match Elliott Carter since the passing of Pettersson. Carter unlike say Shostakovich who speaks a russian flavor, Schnittke a  russian/novo german style, Carter  might be classed as 3rd generation viennese, yet has no sense of boundaries.. Well it would be difficult to imagine the muisc like Carter's comming out of russia, too much supression of the human spirit. Europe has too many hangups, too much agitations in the land post WW2.
See it took the beauty of upstate NY and northeast mid century to give Carter the space to make his creative expressions work out as they did.
Ahh i like this insight, I 'm just freewheeling thoughts , what ever comes. But I'd bet Carter would agree, that time and place affect the human mind to bring to brith more or  worse  senario, less than the possible.
I've seen a  few photos of Carter chillin in his early yrs, and he looks quite laid back and yet determined. Genius blazes from his eyes and face.
I have a  ancedote for later....
I have like 20 cds of Carter and there's not one work I do not love. I gladly reach for any Carter cd. Can't say that about any other composer.
I would hope The Composers Quartet decides to finish their cycle in Carter, we need their take on sq's 3 and 4.

Later
paul
I'll read through the posts here. much to catch up on.
yeah and you the biggest Elliott Carter fan  was YOU  ;)
But you definetly get the prez spot. ;D
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on January 12, 2008, 09:41:38 AM
Joe
The only cd I'm missing is that new Naxos with his 2 early works, a  sym and...oh post the cd, you know it.

You must mean the Naxos disk with Symphony No. 1 and the Piano Concerto, with Mark Wait on piano and Kenneth Schermerhorn (how we miss him) conducting the Nashville Symphony. The Symphony is from Carter's neo-classical period and dates from about 1940. The Piano Concerto, a fully mature work, was written in 1964-65. The earliest works Carter has not withdrawn are from the mid-30s, so his career has lasted just about 70 years. The great Cello Sonata, the first true transition to the mature style, was written 60 years ago this year. Time scales become Einsteinian when one talks about Mr. Carter.

The Composers Quartet recorded the third and fourth quartets years ago, but unfortunately the recordings have been out of print for some time now. I have both, and they're terrific. The recording of the Fourth is, I believe, the best done so far, though I will have to hear the Pacifica's version on Naxos later this year.

I undertsand what you mean when you call Carter a third-generaton Viennese. Charles Rosen uses the term  "international" to describe Carter's style. (He has also used the term to descibe Mozart.) I would add, though, that Carter is Viennese only in the sense that he's atonal. He sounds nothing like Schoenberg or Webern, he's not a serialist, and his technique of layering sounds derives more from Ives than anyone else. 

The Prez  ;D
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Guido on January 12, 2008, 09:57:36 AM
I think paulb might be mental.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Wendell_E on January 12, 2008, 11:25:14 AM
Sorry I didn't notice/post this earlier, but in about 10 minutes (Saturday, 2:30 pm, Eastern Time) RAI's Radio 3 (http://www.radio.rai.it/radio3/) will be broadcasting a concert that'll include the Italian premieres of the Boston Concerto and What Next?:

Quote
Il Cartellone: RAI NUOVA MUSICA
In diretta dall'Auditorium Rai Arturo Toscanini di Torino
Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI
direttore, Peter Rundel
Elliott Carter
Boston Concerto (2002) per orchestra
(prima esecuzione italiana)
---------------------------------------------
WHAT NEXT?
Opera in un atto su libretto di Paul Griffiths
musica di Elliott Carter
(prima esecuzione italiana)
Rose, Christine Buffle
Harry o Larry, Dean Elzinga
Mama, Sarah Leonard
Zen, William Joyner
Stella, Hilary Summers
Kid (voce bianca), dal Tölzer Knaben Chor
Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI
direttore, Peter Rundel (3 hrs., 30 min.)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on January 12, 2008, 03:50:04 PM
paul, I had no idea you were such a Carter fan.

Laissez les bons temps rouler!
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: paulb on January 12, 2008, 05:14:54 PM
You must mean the Naxos disk with Symphony No. 1 and the Piano Concerto, with Mark Wait on piano and Kenneth Schermerhorn (how we miss him) conducting the Nashville Symphony. The Symphony is from Carter's neo-classical period and dates from about 1940. The Piano Concerto, a fully mature work, was written in 1964-65. The earliest works Carter has not withdrawn are from the mid-30s, so his career has lasted just about 70 years. The great Cello Sonata, the first true transition to the mature style, was written 60 years ago this year. Time scales become Einsteinian when one talks about Mr. Carter.

The Composers Quartet recorded the third and fourth quartets years ago, but unfortunately the recordings have been out of print for some time now. I have both, and they're terrific. The recording of the Fourth is, I believe, the best done so far, though I will have to hear the Pacifica's version on Naxos later this year.

I undertsand what you mean when you call Carter a third-generaton Viennese. Charles Rosen uses the term  "international" to describe Carter's style. (He has also used the term to descibe Mozart.) I would add, though, that Carter is Viennese only in the sense that he's atonal. He sounds nothing like Schoenberg or Webern, he's not a serialist, and his technique of layering sounds derives more from Ives than anyone else. 

The Prez  ;D

Great post Joe, in describing what Carter;s style.. Thats why i said 3rd gen viennese, because its beyond second viennese modality, yet certainly its closest to Schonberg.
Rosen 's term "international" lines up exactly with my sentiment. I use the term universal composer also.

One review on amazon mentions the 1st sym and Holiday, as " Ivesian" which i figure would be there, as Ives was part of his development.  Its unlikely i ;ll get the cd,  just for the pc.

WOW then the Composers Q did record 3 and 4 sq's. !!! i must have that cd!!! absolute.

http://www.amazon.com/Carter-Concerto-Symphony-Holiday-Overture/dp/B000QQUNGE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=dmusic&qid=1200186316&sr=1-1
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: paulb on January 12, 2008, 05:30:12 PM
paul, I had no idea you were such a Carter fan.

Laissez les bons temps rouler!

Yes Karl, how ya been?

I have yrs to work through all the second viennese masters works, if not a  lifetime, what remains.
Then along comes Carter into my experience. You guys have the musical training and education to listen to carter and see all the structures and nuances clearly. Whereas a neophyte as i am, Carter blows my mind at every listen. I just can't seem to grasp the music, too overwhleming. So I am content to listening over and over same piece. Maybe thats a  good thing about not having a  savvy musical mind like you guys, the music can appear to me as fresh each listen. Take Symphonia: Sum Fluxae Pretium Spei. There's zillions of things transpiring non stop. Way too many inter-relations that always escape my attention span, as soon as i grasp one detail, along comes another and then I am at a loss in remembering the first nuance. Difficult for me to make any real successful concentrated effort. So what i do, is just sit back and do what karl suggests,
 "let the good times roll"
Trust me i'm not complaining about his complexities, makes life worth the living, challenges the listener.

Joe , how many yrs do you suspect we have to wait for the last 10 masterpieces from carter, yrs 2003-2007. I think its these yrs there are like 10  works, which have not been recorded.

Listening to Clarinet Concerto. Do i detect a  very strong resemblance to Varese.
Varese to me is interesting at times, others pieces not, i am glad to see Varese arise anew in Carter's CC.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Mark G. Simon on January 13, 2008, 07:32:32 AM
Sunday a week ago I saw the New York Chamber Soloists in a free concert at the National Gallery of Art. The program included a performance of Esprit Rude/Esprit Doux with flutist Jennifer Grim and clarinetist Allen Blustine. Their technique is very fluid. All the notey passages undulated like the motions of a snake. And they made the most of the passages where two voices are contained in one instrument, for instance on the 2nd from last page where they're both scrambling but a recurring fifth space E is emphasized. The emphasized notes were put strongly in the foreground and the other notes distinctly in the background. Unfortunately, in this reverberent space, the background notes were mostly lost. Also lost were the powerful difference tones produced by the two instruments in the section with long sustained notes. But any shortcomings were because of the acoustics of the space, not the performers, who were excellent.

The rest of the program contained a Soanta for flute, oboe, violin, viola and continuo by Vivaldi, the Mozart Piano Quartet in E flat, a Caprice on Danish and Russian Airs by Saint-Saëns, and a piece for narrator and ensemble called The Chess Game by Gerald Fried, whom I've never heard of. Apparently he's written a lot of film and TV music.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: paulb on January 13, 2008, 09:21:54 AM
Sunday a week ago I saw the New York Chamber Soloists in a free concert at the National Gallery of Art. The program included a performance of Esprit Rude/Esprit Doux with flutist Jennifer Grim and clarinetist Allen Blustine. Their technique is very fluid. All the notey passages undulated like the motions of a snake. And they made the most of the passages where two voices are contained in one instrument, for instance on the 2nd from last page where they're both scrambling but a recurring fifth space E is emphasized. The emphasized notes were put strongly in the foreground and the other notes distinctly in the background. Unfortunately, in this reverberent space, the background notes were mostly lost. Also lost were the powerful difference tones produced by the two instruments in the section with long sustained notes. But any shortcomings were because of the acoustics of the space, not the performers, who were excellent.

The rest of the program contained a Soanta for flute, oboe, violin, viola and continuo by Vivaldi, the Mozart Piano Quartet in E flat, a Caprice on Danish and Russian Airs by Saint-Saëns, and a piece for narrator and ensemble called The Chess Game by Gerald Fried, whom I've never heard of. Apparently he's written a lot of film and TV music.

Mark
Had i been there I may have not grasped these nuances you mentioned, the background notes being swamped out by the primary 2 instruments. Can't say for sure if I would  have  or not noticed. I would have just been all caught up in the thrills of having attended my first experience of any work of Carter in concert. You know when i see various performances on Arts Showcase or Youtube clips featuring works by ravel, Boulez Bartok, many others, the camera is shot on various instruments when they are being played with the softest of notes and fade out gentle. ONE CA"T HEAR THEM...Frustrating. And also the beautiful harp section in Sibelius Sym 1, one can barely pick the harp up in some recordings, others the bold brass drowns out the gentle harp notes. I wonder how many know about the fact there is a  harp in the 1st, and the extent of its beautiful sweeping passages. Hearing the sym live may change ones opinion of the work, to a  higher regard for the work. Ravel's Daphnis is loaded to the hilt with nuances all over the score, and many are missed due to GIGANTIC cresendos that Ravel is noteworthy for. .
No one can imagine the music we all miss due to recording /improper mic issues. yeah i know you can't place a  mic right next to the harp or kettle drums, flutes,  when they just softly  enter of exit, as this would make these notes too forward and not project the right balance of where they fit in the score, too forward. But engineers need to know how to use the sound mixing board so to bring up the vol on certain mics at places where the subtlest nuances enter in. Nothing simple, but they are suppose to be RECORDING ENGINEERS.
I'd make a  good recording engineer, I'm a  stickler for getting things right.
Can you imagine how much subilities we all miss by not being up front row seat on many compositions that have these delicate soft passages.
There are riches yet to be heard in Ravel's Daphnis yet requires close to front seating.

So New York city, bringing Carter to stage. New York is alive. And free! Now thats a  cultural center for the common man.

Give us any more impressions you may haveof the Esprit Rude/Esprit Doux. If there are other thoughts you have. I will listen careful to the work today, see at what place you are refering to, how the recording captures that background.

Paul
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on January 18, 2008, 08:30:28 AM
Well, now we know who will be playing the Cello Concerto next month:

From The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

Young Fairbanks musician wins Juilliard School Concerto Competition
By Dermot Cole
Staff Writer
Published December 24, 2007

American composer Elliott Carter told an interviewer in 2001 that he wrote the complex score for “Elliott Carter’s Cello Concerto” with cellist Yo-Yo Ma in mind.

The New York Times said the piece is “like a soliloquy for cello with orchestral commentary” that features “formidably complex rhythmic writing.”

Carter, who just turned 99, is to be honored in February at the Focus! Festival in New York City with performances of his music.

Fairbanksan Dane Johansen, who is a graduate student at Juilliard, has been unanimously selected by a panel of judges to play Elliott Carter’s Cello Concerto at the concluding concert of the festival.

Johansen won the Juilliard School Concerto Competition Dec. 14 and is to perform with the Juilliard Orchestra in Lincoln Center, conducted by James Levine, conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

The cello department at Juilliard has been “pleading for Carter’s Cello Concerto as a competition piece,” Joel Sachs of Juilliard wrote in the Juilliard Journal Online, but “no conductor had agreed to do it.”

In part that is because not many cellists play this concerto. The total has roughly doubled recently because of Johansen and the other students who learned it to enter the Juilliard competition.

The son of Gail and Tony Johansen, Dane said he is very excited at the chance to work with Carter and Levine, two legends in American music. Carter is scheduled to attend rehearsals and the performance.

Johansen is finishing his master’s degree in cello performance at Juilliard. He was 16 when he began studying at the Cleveland Institute of Music and has also received training at the National Conservatory in Paris.

He started learning the cello under the instruction of Peggy Swartz, who was one of the first Suzuki Method teachers in Alaska. He also studied in the Fairbanks School of Talent Education, the Fairbanks Youth Orchestras and the public school orchestras.


Very disappointingly, this concert may be impossible for the general public to attend. Free tickets went on sale 1/11 and were available only if you could get to the Juilliard box office in person from 11-6 on weekdays. Even though I came into NYC on Saturday 1/12 and tried calling the box office on Monday, this exclusionary policy effectively shuts out anyone like myself who lives outside Manhattan. By 1/14 tickets were all gone, and the only possible way to get in is to stand on a standby line 1-2 hours before the concert.

Well, there's always Tanglewood.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on January 18, 2008, 08:35:06 AM
Very disappointingly, this concert may be impossible for the general public to attend. Free tickets went on sale 1/11 and were available only if you could get to the Juilliard box office in person from 11-6 on weekdays. Even though I came into NYC on Saturday 1/12 and tried calling the box office on Monday, this exclusionary policy effectively shuts out anyone like myself who lives outside Manhattan. By 1/14 tickets were all gone, and the only possible way to get in is to stand on a standby line 1-2 hours before the concert.

Well, there's always Tanglewood.

No, no--do try on the day of the concert.  Yes, you have to stand in a standby line for maybe an hour, but you should be able to get in if you arrive by 7:00.  I have been going to Focus! for years, rarely get tickets in advance and have never been able to "not get in."  (Granted, these were not concerts with Boulez and Levine, either.)  But seriously, the hall seats almost 1,000 people, and even with all the free tickets given out, people who get them often don't use them, and there are usually plenty of seats for those waiting outside. 

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on January 18, 2008, 10:48:18 AM
And if you do go, Sforzando, please seek out Bruce and me and introduce yourself. Bruce did manage to get tickets, so we'll definitely be there. We'll be the tall, good-looking ones.

Ursula Oppens plays the piano music

Last night I attended a wonderful recital by Ursula Oppens at Symphony Space, 95th and Broadway. Ms. Oppens played what, when she was planning it last year, she called a program of Mr. Carter's complete piano music. She was premature. In the past year, Mr. Carter has written two more brief solo works — Ma-tribute and Two Thoughts About the Piano — that Miss Oppens did not perform. The former was written for James Levine, and no one else has taken it up yet, and the latter still awaits its premiere.

Still, the recital was exciting enough. Miss Oppens gave a typically awesome reading of Night Fantasies, and she ended with Caténaires, a piece from 2006 that until this year was performed exclusively by Pierre Laurent Aimard. It's an unusual work for Carter in that it consists of a single mood and idea with no contrasting passages. A catenary is the "curve made by a freely flexible chain or cord when hanging between two fixed points" (Webster's New World). Carter explains that the title refers to "a continuous chain of notes using different spacings accents and colorings."  The work is a perpetual motion machine constructed entirely of rapid runs of notes and no chords. It has a bright, jazzy feel to it, and it should become familiar at contemporary music concerts as a closer or an encore. If any music of Mr. Carter can be described as a tow-tapper, this is it. The effect is almost minimalistic, except the patterns are not repeated literally, as they are in minimalism. It's so catchy and energetic that it's hard to believe it was the work of a 97-year-old man.

Though unusual, as I've said, the piece is not unique in Carter's output. It reminded me of the fourth etude in the composer's Eight Etudes and fantasy for wind quartet, which is a similar kind of mosaic built on iterations of a single idea. The basic unit is a rising half steps played as two eighth notes, followed by a rest. That's it. There are no counter subjects, no shift in tempo, but the units are combined with great variety, sometimes sounding together, sometimes one after another, sometimes overlapping.

Carter was present, and at the end of the evening he walked down the aisle and stood in front of the stage, where Miss Oppens joined him. The audience gave them a standing ovation, which has become a custom when the composer is in attendance. The applause went on and on.  It was obvious we wanted an encore. Carter began gesturing toward the piano as if to say, "Play it again." Miss Oppens declined. I had been sitting in the front row, center, and she passed me as crossed the stage again, heading for the wings. I repeated Carter's gesture of waving toward the piano. She shook her head at me, smiling, and said, "No, it's too hard." And she walked off.

Sitting a few feet from the piano, with the pianist's foot at the pedal directly in front of me, I could look up and see unfinished-wood underbody of the instrument. It was charge to sit so close and let the sound strike me, surround me, expand in my head. 

I also enjoyed the performance of Two Diversions. Miss Oppens made the separation of the parts for each hand audible and intelligible. She always takes the great piano sonata a little fast for my taste, but her approach made me realize the stylistic continuity between that piece and the Night Fantasies, written 35 years later. When the pieces are played back to back, Night Fantasies sounds like an abstraction of the sonata. Both pieces emphasize the resonance of the instrument. The Fantasies have all the tonal haze and rapid counterfigures of the Sonata, but with the motifs removed.

This was the first concert of Mr. Carter's music I have attended during his centenary year — that is, since he turned 99 December 11. The celebration has begun.

I should mention, too, I almost didn't make it. It snowed in Philadelphia yesterday afternoon, and traffic out of the city was heavy and slow. I missed my early connection in Trenton, but the trains were running fine, and the later express got me to New York on time. I walked into the theater about two minutes after eight, and fortunately, recital had not begun. A few stragglers like me were still finding their seats.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on January 18, 2008, 10:50:04 AM
And if you do go, Sforzando, please seek out Bruce and me and introduce yourself. Bruce did manage to get tickets, so we'll definitely be there. We'll be the tall, good-looking ones.

I gladly confirm that Bruce and Joe will be the most distinguished-looking gents in the theatre.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on January 18, 2008, 11:06:24 AM
Well, "gents" is kind of stretching it.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on January 18, 2008, 11:07:40 AM
Not from the behavior of you both which I have had occasion to witness.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on January 18, 2008, 11:08:10 AM
Well, "gents" is kind of stretching it.

Assuming I can get in, I will be on the lookout for tall, good-looking not-quite-gents.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on January 18, 2008, 11:11:58 AM
Well, "gents" is kind of stretching it.

How about "irascible upstarts"?  ;D

Great write-up, Joe.  (Sounds like you were in the front row...?)  I totally agree about Caténaires, which should become very popular--to those who can play it.  Interesting that Oppens didn't want to play it again...I mean, yes, it's very difficult, but she's...she's...she's Ursula Oppens!  She's supposed to play the hard stuff.  That's why we go hear her!

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on January 18, 2008, 11:17:23 AM
How about "irascible upstarts"?  ;D

Emendation accepted  ;D
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on January 18, 2008, 11:19:06 AM
No, we shouldn't go hear her play Für Elise, oh, no! (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,85.msg131813.html#msg131813)  8)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on January 18, 2008, 11:19:54 AM
Emendation accepted  ;D

In a city of at least four million tall, good-looking, irascible upstarts, that definitely narrows it down . . . .
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on January 18, 2008, 11:20:12 AM
Not from the behavior of you both which I have had occasion to witness.

You have not seen me home ... alone ... feeding ...
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on January 18, 2008, 11:21:23 AM
You have not seen me home ... alone ... feeding ...

And the good new is: Sforzando is not likely to be faced with that dire vision, either  8)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: not edward on January 18, 2008, 11:22:06 AM
I thought you had to be an alien shapeshifter to appreciate atonal music!
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on January 18, 2008, 11:24:39 AM
Actually I wouldn't have minded hearing her play just about anything, since I haven't in years.  She used to show up here a lot back in the 1980s but since she started spending some time at Northwestern University, she hasn't been here as much.  

Wouldn't it have been a kick if she had done those most recent pieces as encores...

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on January 18, 2008, 11:32:17 AM
Wouldn't it have been a kick if she had done those most recent pieces as encores...

New works seem to be exclusive to the musicians who commission them until enough time has gone by. I asked Oppens about Cantenaires a year ago after a recital at Curtis, and she said no one but Aimard could play it in public until 2008. Whether it's just a professional courtesy or some legal restriction, I don't know, but only Levine has played the Ma-tribute so far. I don't know whom Carter wrote the Two Thoughts for. Given what Oppens had told me, though, I wasn't expecting either of the new pieces as encores.

Bruce, I was sitting in the front row, maybe five feet from the stage, but I was dead center, and Oppens' hands were hidden from my view.   

For everyone: During intermission, I eavesdropped on an interview Carter gave to a man holding a microphone, and he confirmed he is indeed working on a flute concerto.  :D
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on January 18, 2008, 11:33:27 AM
In a city of at least four million tall, good-looking, irascible upstarts, that definitely narrows it down . . . .

I will stand outside the hall, holding one of those signs like drivers do when they meet passengers at the airport.

 ;D

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on January 18, 2008, 11:37:53 AM
In a city of at least four million tall, good-looking, irascible upstarts, that definitely narrows it down . . . .

I have to say, last night's crowd was one of the most attractive I've ever seen. As I told Bruce privately, there were a lot of pretty young people and some well-preserved intellectual-looking types about my age. I wanted to meet a few them afterward ... invite them back to my place for coffee ... and feed ... 
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on January 18, 2008, 11:38:25 AM
For everyone: During intermission, I eavesdropped on an interview Carter gave to a man holding a microphone, and he confirmed he is indeed working on a flute concerto.  :D

 :o  :o  :o

How many other composers have done this at 100?  (For that matter, how many composers have even reached 100?)

That is really, really something. 

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on January 18, 2008, 12:06:03 PM
:o  :o  :o

How many other composers have done this at 100?  (For that matter, how many composers have even reached 100?)

Carter is only 99.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on January 18, 2008, 12:10:17 PM
Carter is only 99.

Sorry, my bad--getting over-excited.  I should have said, "approaching 100."

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on January 18, 2008, 12:12:16 PM
Carter is only 99.

Only?!
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on January 18, 2008, 12:20:02 PM
Only?!

Irony, Mr. Barron. Irony.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on January 18, 2008, 12:32:03 PM
Sorry, my bad--getting over-excited.  I should have said, "approaching 100."

--Bruce

Or, "in their hundredth year."  ;)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on January 18, 2008, 02:16:05 PM
Irony, Mr. Barron. Irony.

Oh, don't call me Mr. Barron. Call me Mr. Joe Barron.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Guido on January 18, 2008, 05:14:44 PM
Why is it called Ma-tribute? Is it a tribute to Yo-Yo Ma?

Thans for the concert write up - I assume Cantenaires is not out on CD yet...
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: paul on January 18, 2008, 05:17:35 PM
I'll be playing double bass in this concert coming up. The ASKO Concerto has a very difficult and long double bass and clarinet duo which I've been practicing a lot. If anyone in New York can make it it should be a very good performance.

New Juilliard Ensemble
Joel Sachs, Conductor

FOUR CARTER WORKS
Three Poems of Robert Frost (1980)
Quintet for Piano and winds (1991)
Asko Concerto (2000)
Tempo e tempi (1999)
Asko Concerto (repeat performance)

Peter Jay Sharp Theater
Tuesday, January 29, 2008 at 8:00 PM
Free; no tickets required.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Guido on January 18, 2008, 05:39:59 PM
Just listened to the cello sonata again. I am staggered by it every time. It is for me the greatest cello sonata of the 20th century (And I don't say that lightly, believe me!). I just wish it weren't so bloody difficult - a goal to work towards I suppose.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Guido on January 18, 2008, 06:40:14 PM
Oppens playing Carter on Youtube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nryKMIvS7SU

Astonishing playing, astonishing piece.

And more brilliant playing here (Enchanted Prelude for flute and cello):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Z1N9BLS0B4
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on January 18, 2008, 07:13:42 PM
Why is it called Ma-tribute? Is it a tribute to Yo-Yo Ma?

Thans for the concert write up - I assume Cantenaires is not out on CD yet...

I believe it's a tribute to James Levine's mother. Also a pun on "attribute," probably.

Paul, I cannot make that particular performance, but I will be at the concerts Jan. 31 and Feb. 1. Will you be any either of those?

Who was Peter Jay Sharp, and why are there so many theaters named after him?
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on January 19, 2008, 09:31:50 AM
I  don't like posting other writers' reviews, as a rule, but this one is interesting for what Carter says about Oppens near the beginning and for the great news that she is recording the piano music again.


January 19, 2008

Music Review | Ursula Oppens

Capturing Dream States and Unraveling Knots
By ALLAN KOZINN
Nearly 30 years ago, when he was about to celebrate his 70th birthday, I did an interview with Elliott Carter in which we touched on the freighted question of whether a composer can write memorable themes in a difficult modern style. After musing for a moment that certain kinds of art are easier for some listeners than for others, Mr. Carter mentioned that the pianist Ursula Oppens had spoken with him that morning about one of his works she was about to perform.

“She told me, ‘I’ve finally learned all the tunes in your Piano Concerto,’ ” Mr. Carter said, with a puzzled laugh. “And I said, ‘Which tunes are you talking about?’ So she whistled one. There you go: I have tunes.”

Ms. Oppens has remained an eloquent discoverer and illuminator of tunes in Mr. Carter’s music, and on Thursday evening, as a tribute anticipating his 100th birthday (next December), she devoted her recital at Symphony Space to his complete solo piano music.

Well, almost complete. His latest, the four-minute “Matribute” (2007), which has been performed in Europe and had a private reading at Harvard, is apparently out of bounds until James Levine plays its public American premiere at Tanglewood in July. But Ms. Oppens is about to record Mr. Carter’s piano music, including “Matribute,” for the Cedille label.

Finding tunes is easiest in Mr. Carter’s earliest and latest works. The Sonata (1946), composed before his style acquired its full quotient of thorniness, is rich in counterpoint and grand, Lisztian gestures and occasionally slips into an old-fashioned theme. In “Caténaires”(2006), by contrast, Mr. Carter rounded off his style’s spikiness, providing a perpetual-motion work that is actually nothing but melody. Its single, rapidly moving line is so involved and full of surprising twists that the ear can’t resist following its winding path.

Mostly, though, attractive themes are less crucial to this music than gesture. Often Mr. Carter’s works seem crystallizations of animated speech. That is particularly so in the gabbling “90+” (1994), but you hear it as well in the playful “Two Diversions” (1999) and in the juxtapositions of silence and sparkling, pointillistic bursts in “Intermittences” (2005) and “Retrouvailles” (2000). What they all demand, and what Ms. Oppens supplied amply, is the kind of bright timbre and sharp articulation that will keep the sometimes dense textures transparent.

Still, as persuasive as Ms. Oppens was in these short sprints, she was at her best in the 18-minute “Night Fantasies” (1980), the longest and most imaginative of these scores. Mr. Carter captures the variegated flow of an evening’s dream states here, touching on extremes of fevered anxiety and poetic reverie. Ms. Oppens played it with an unfailing sense of drama and almost cinematic color.

Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on January 19, 2008, 10:43:04 AM
I'll be playing double bass in this concert coming up. The ASKO Concerto has a very difficult and long double bass and clarinet duo which I've been practicing a lot. If anyone in New York can make it it should be a very good performance.

New Juilliard Ensemble
Joel Sachs, Conductor

FOUR CARTER WORKS
Three Poems of Robert Frost (1980)
Quintet for Piano and winds (1991)
Asko Concerto (2000)
Tempo e tempi (1999)
Asko Concerto (repeat performance)

Peter Jay Sharp Theater
Tuesday, January 29, 2008 at 8:00 PM
Free; no tickets required.

Hi paul, and welcome to GMG.  I'll be at that concert, and I imagine a few others here will be, too, given the excellent program.  And good luck with the performance!

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Guido on January 19, 2008, 12:43:57 PM
Now I don't know whether to wait for Oppen's recording of the more complete piano works, or the Charles Rosen recording... Do we know when Oppen's recording is coming out?
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on January 19, 2008, 12:50:43 PM
At the moment, the best I can find is this "Future Releases: Coming in 2008" page (http://cedillerecords.org/catalog/product_info_related.php?cPath=21_26&products_id=223)on Cedille's site.  Since it's at the end of the list, it might suggest a release later in the year, e.g., maybe closer to Carter's birthday.

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on January 19, 2008, 12:59:04 PM
At the moment, the best I can find is this "Future Releases: Coming in 2008" page (http://cedillerecords.org/catalog/product_info_related.php?cPath=21_26&products_id=223)on Cedille's site.  Since it's at the end of the list, it might suggest a release later in the year, e.g., maybe closer to Carter's birthday.

--Bruce

Well, if she can't play Matribute until after Levine does it in July, I figure the release will have to wait at least until then. I hadn't heard Rosen was recording the complete music again. (He already did it once, before some Carter wrote the more recent pieces.)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: not edward on January 19, 2008, 01:00:35 PM
Well, if she can't play Matribute until after Levine does it in July, I figure the release will have to wait at least until then. I hadn't heard Rosen was recording the complete music again. (He already did it once, before some Carter wrote the more recent pieces.)
How does Rosen's more recent complete recording compare with the Etcetera one that only has the Piano Sonata and Night Fantasies?

I suspect I'll be waiting for Oppens' complete set: I only have her in 90+.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: paulb on January 19, 2008, 01:02:09 PM
I'll be playing double bass in this concert coming up. The ASKO Concerto has a very difficult and long double bass and clarinet duo which I've been practicing a lot. If anyone in New York can make it it should be a very good performance.

New Juilliard Ensemble
Joel Sachs, Conductor

FOUR CARTER WORKS
Three Poems of Robert Frost (1980)
Quintet for Piano and winds (1991)
Asko Concerto (2000)
Tempo e tempi (1999)
Asko Concerto (repeat performance)

Peter Jay Sharp Theater
Tuesday, January 29, 2008 at 8:00 PM
Free; no tickets required.

whatever downsides there are to living in/near NYC, its concerts like this all Elliott Carter show that make it worth all the pains and sufferings.
regardless thats its free, I'd pay $$$..$$! if the show  were in New Orleans.
You guys ought to come down and  present a  restore NO benifit concert, we deserve it down here. :'(

btw its been sunny and 70 degrees, so like the ducks come south for the winters ;D

also you guys are about to get super duper slammed with a  monster of a  front. She hit us last night down here all night long, 40+ MPH wind driven rain, she's headed your way, don't put away your snow shovels just yet :D
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on January 19, 2008, 01:25:30 PM
How does Rosen's more recent complete recording compare with the Etcetera one that only has the Piano Sonata and Night Fantasies?

The Sonata and Night Fantasies are the same performances as those on the Etcetera recording. The only other piece on the CD is 90+.

The program on the planned Oppens disk, as listed on the Cedille isn't even the complete music, since a new work, Two Thoughts About the Piano, is scheduled for premieres at Tanglewood in July.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Guido on January 19, 2008, 01:33:01 PM
He's not re-recording it to my knowledge. I just wondered whether I should wait or not. I have known the piano sonata for a long time, but I haven't yet heard Night Fantasies or 90+. Maybe I'll get both...

I've always liked the piano concerto, but when I was listening late last night, it all just 'clicked' and I realised quite what a brilliant work it was. I really want to hear the double concerto again, having only heard it once live in concert... Do people generally value it even more than the piano concerto?
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: paulb on January 19, 2008, 01:48:32 PM
Night Fantasies is good Carter, 90+ not so much...Rosen's recording of NF is just awesome IMO. A long time fave Carter disc.

I realize Rosen is a  long time close friend of Carter's but his recording of Carter is not "all that excellent", again IMO.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: paulb on January 19, 2008, 01:56:11 PM
Nonsense paul, listen to it again...they are very exciting, spontaneous sounding & passionate performances....Night Fantasies & the Piano Sonata. Highest recommendations!!!

Up next on the cdp. I really hope i am mistaken, its been some time since. I could very well be mistaken. But if i recall, I actually didn't even make it through the entire cd for some reason. I'm a  tough critic btw...but fair. :)

...er..can't do it...the cd was dum..I mean sold some time ago. Do i need to reorder for a  sure conviction? Or can I wait for this other Oppens recording due out?

just so we are on the same cd. this is the one i had.
I see another listing on Etcetera?

http://www.amazon.com/Elliott-Carter-Complete-music-Piano/dp/B000003GK2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1200779985&sr=1-1
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: paulb on January 19, 2008, 03:19:07 PM
Yup the one with all the positive reviews there on Amazon, great disc...

I'm not so easily persuaded by the 5 Star reviews on amazon.
For cds and books, especially when i have a  hunch about the book/cd, i always go to the 1,2,3 stars first. To get the real low down. But what do i know, most all my amazon reviews get the "NO , not helpful" button clicked  :D
The 1st reviewer on the Rosen cd, gives mostly 5 stars to all his reviews. Not too selective if you ask me.
I'll reconsider ordering the cd. But if there is a Oppens due out, or any other pianist  I'll most likely hold off. Besides its not going OOP, I have plenty of time to re-order.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on January 19, 2008, 04:53:11 PM
Night Fantasies is good Carter, 90+ not so much...Rosen's recording of NF is just awesome IMO. A long time fave Carter disc.

My own favorite recordings of Night Fantasies so far are by Oppens on a Music and Arts two CD set (CD 862) that includes a lot of other music by contemporary Americans, and by Stephen Drury, who gets overlooked but is as just as good as Oppens and better than everyone else, IMHO. His version can be heard free at artofthestates.com. Try before you buy.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: paulb on January 19, 2008, 05:53:42 PM
My own favorite recordings of Night Fantasies so far are by Oppens on a Music and Arts two CD set (CD 862) that includes a lot of other music by contemporary Americans, and by Stephen Drury, who gets overlooked but is as just as good as Oppens and better than everyone else, IMHO. His version can be heard free at artofthestates.com. Try before you buy.

Well I did some DD and came up with Aimard, this time I am believeing the 5 star commenst.
So we'll have to see. Recalling Aimard's perforamnce of Boulez's sonata 1, which I placed the Youtube clip on Boulez's forum, I might be in for a satisfying recording. Its on its way.
Joe if you get a  chance list all the late Carter works/yr scored,  which have yet to be issued as a  recording. I think its like 8 or 10?

Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Guido on January 19, 2008, 06:38:00 PM
The 1st reviewer on the Rosen cd, gives mostly 5 stars to all his reviews. Not too selective if you ask me.

I almost always give five on my reviews, because I only write reviews for CDs that I love. Occasionally I will write one for one that I think is particularly bad
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on January 19, 2008, 07:17:11 PM
I almost always give five on my reviews, because I only write reviews for CDs that I love. Occasionally I will write one for one that I think is particularly bad

I usally give four or five stars. For recordings I really like, I give four. I reserve five stars for those CDs I regard as life altering.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Guido on January 19, 2008, 07:23:38 PM
What do people think of the new Naxos release of the first and fifth quartets?

Oddly if you try and download it from itunes it has recordings of Tchaikovsky's first piano concerto among other things...
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on January 20, 2008, 09:31:55 AM
What do people think of the new Naxos release of the first and fifth quartets?

Oddly if you try and download it from itunes it has recordings of Tchaikovsky's first piano concerto among other things...

I haven't heard it yet, though I do have it on preorder at Amazon. I don't download iTunes, and I don't subscribe to Naxos online, so I'll just have to wait until February. But I've got a lot of Carter to listen to between now and then, and I've learned to be patient about these things --- within limits.

paulb: There's ton of new Carter works that haven't been recorded commercially yet: Of Rewaking, In the Distances of Sleep, Soundings, Three Illusions, the Horn Concerto, Inteventions, the Clarinet Quintet, and probably some of the short pieces, though at the moment I can't recall which ones. I guess we are going to have to wait a while for them to be released, but I hope it won't be eight to ten years. The scheduling decisions of record-company exectuives elude me. ;)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on January 26, 2008, 10:30:59 AM
Bruce Hodges and I got together last night in NYC for the first concert in Juilliard's Focus Festival dedicated to Elliott Carter. I won't go into too much detai, but Bruce and I agreed it was exhilarating and memorable. In a word, great. Boulez conducted members of the New Juilliard Ensemble and the Lucerne Festival Academy Ensemble in lucid performmances of Carter's Triple Duo, Penthode and Clarinet Concerto. To put the music in context, the program also included Integrales by Varese, Stravinsky's Concertino for Twelve Instruments, and Boulez' own Derive I, which was very pretty. (Bruce called it an extension of Debussy, and I saw no reason to argue.)

Ismail Lumanovski was the soloist in the concerto, and he was astonishing.  There's no other word for it. Irrespective of the music, he was exciting to watch and he jerked his body to the music and his fingers fluttered over the instrument. Wow.

I had a brief encounter during intermission. I was in the corridor, having emerged from the men's room, when James Levine stepped out of a side door and asked me how long the intermission would be. Maybe it was because I was the only person near him, or maybe he thought I was an usher. I don't know. I also didn't know how long the intermission was supposed to be, but I was eager to please, so I winged it. Looking at my fifteen-dollar digital watch, I told him he should have another ten minutes or so. He thanked me and went back into the side door, presumably to return downstairs and speak to Carter. Bruce, who had been standing a few feet away, was goggling at me as though I had just met the ghost of Lincoln.

Turns out I wasn't too far wrong about the ten minutes, which was a relief. I had visions of Levine speaking to me afterward to express his disappointment.
   
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on January 26, 2008, 11:01:20 AM
Bruce, who had been standing a few feet away, was goggling at me as though I had just met the ghost of Lincoln.

 ;D

I don't have much to add to Joe's comments, other than to reiterate that the concert was very exciting, all of it.  The place was packed: the Sharp Theater seats 933 people and every seat was taken.  The seating was general admission and we snagged two on the first row of the balcony in the center, perfect for seeing everyone onstage (and the sound is excellent up there). 

The Clarinet Concerto was undoubtedly the hit of the evening, and Lumanovski was just incredible to watch.  It's hard to believe that someone so young can have the measure of a piece this complex, but he made it look quite easy.  Reading the program notes later, I realized I'd heard him in 2006 in Guus Janssen's Concerto for 3 Clarinets and Ensemble (also with the New Juilliard Ensemble), and was impressed with his playing even then.  All three players were excellent but Lumanovski stood out--great tone, phrasing, everything.

Great evening, all around, and we have an entire week of Carter to go, with lots of his chamber music.  I hope to make several of these before the closing night next Saturday, when Levine will do Ives's Three Places in New England, followed by Carter's Cello Concerto and Symphonia: sum fluxae pretieum spei, all with the Juilliard Orchestra.  It's going to be a blockbuster of a concert.

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Guido on January 26, 2008, 04:26:55 PM
Thanks for the reviews guys - I wish more was going on here!

I can;t imagine a more stimulating or exciting concert than this:

Great evening, all around, and we have an entire week of Carter to go, with lots of his chamber music.  I hope to make several of these before the closing night next Saturday, when Levine will do Ives's Three Places in New England, followed by Carter's Cello Concerto and Symphonia: sum fluxae pretieum spei, all with the Juilliard Orchestra.  It's going to be a blockbuster of a concert.

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: paulb on January 26, 2008, 05:47:45 PM
Thanks for the reviews guys - I wish more was going on here!

I can;t imagine a more stimulating or exciting concert than this:

yeah i wonder how often Carter is on program outside NYC. I know Levine dida   all Carter program in Boston, which Karl wrote a  revealing review on 2 yrs ago. But of course Boston being NYC's sister city of sorts, thats still in the same region of the country. has Carter been on program in Boston since that concert 2 YEARS AGO?
i see NYC has a series devoted to Carter which is quite remarkable. i mean its a  old time Jamboree for Carter ;D, a  real Carter Festival, nice!
But what are the chances of Carter making program in Chicago, Los Angeles, ..lets see where else would there be a  modern/avant garde camp willing to sell out a  1000 seat auditorium for Carter...ahh New Orleans, hippest place in the country. Why even Jolie and Brad are now most often choosing  their New orleans french quater home over other mansions.
Come on Joe, pull some strings there in NYC and get us some Carter shows down here.   ;)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on January 26, 2008, 08:40:48 PM
Come on Joe, pull some strings there in NYC and get us some Carter shows down here.   ;)

Yeah, I'll call my good buddy James Levine. I told him the time once.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: greg on January 26, 2008, 09:00:20 PM
Bruce Hodges and I got together last night in NYC for the first concert in Juilliard's Focus Festival dedicated to Elliott Carter. I won't go into too much detai, but Bruce and I agreed it was exhilarating and memorable. In a word, great. Boulez conducted members of the New Juilliard Ensemble and the Lucerne Festival Academy Ensemble in lucid performmances of Carter's Triple Duo, Penthode and Clarinet Concerto. To put the music in context, the program also included Integrales by Varese, Stravinsky's Concertino for Twelve Instruments, and Boulez' own Derive I, which was very pretty. (Bruce called it an extension of Debussy, and I saw no reason to argue.)

Ismail Lumanovski was the soloist in the concerto, and he was astonishing.  There's no other word for it. Irrespective of the music, he was exciting to watch and he jerked his body to the music and his fingers fluttered over the instrument. Wow.

I had a brief encounter during intermission. I was in the corridor, having emerged from the men's room, when James Levine stepped out of a side door and asked me how long the intermission would be. Maybe it was because I was the only person near him, or maybe he thought I was an usher. I don't know. I also didn't know how long the intermission was supposed to be, but I was eager to please, so I winged it. Looking at my fifteen-dollar digital watch, I told him he should have another ten minutes or so. He thanked me and went back into the side door, presumably to return downstairs and speak to Carter. Bruce, who had been standing a few feet away, was goggling at me as though I had just met the ghost of Lincoln.

Turns out I wasn't too far wrong about the ten minutes, which was a relief. I had visions of Levine speaking to me afterward to express his disappointment.
   
whoaaaaaaa man i wish i was there!


Yeah, I'll call my good buddy James Levine. I told him the time once.
:D
you'll be saying that the rest of your life, i bet
i had a friend once who kept on mentioning the time he talked to Tiger Woods, and he said something like, "you're going to become something some day"
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on January 26, 2008, 09:13:56 PM
i had a friend once who kept on mentioning the time he talked to Tiger Woods, and he said something like, "you're going to become something some day"

I interviewed John Updike for the paper once, and it was days before people in the office realized his middle name wasn't f***ing ...
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: greg on January 26, 2008, 09:15:33 PM
I interviewed John Updike for the paper once, and it was days before people in the office realized his middle name wasn't f***ing ...
lol, i wonder what he'd think about that.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on January 28, 2008, 05:20:54 AM
Bruce, who had been standing a few feet away, was goggling at me as though I had just met the ghost of Lincoln.

Aghast, no doubt, at your cool-as-dammit fib  ;D
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on January 28, 2008, 07:22:10 AM
Nice review of the concert in today's Times. (http://select.nytimes.com/mem/tnt.html?emc=tnt&tntget=2008/01/28/arts/music/28focus.html&tntemail1=y) I like that Mr. Tomassini calls Boulez a contemporary Ravel, since Bruce pointed that out Friday, though he used the name Debussy. Nice going, Bruce!
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on January 28, 2008, 07:49:41 AM
Nice review of the concert in today's Times. (http://select.nytimes.com/mem/tnt.html?emc=tnt&tntget=2008/01/28/arts/music/28focus.html&tntemail1=y) I like that Mr. Tomassini calls Boulez a contemporary Ravel, since Bruce pointed that out Friday, though he used the name Debussy. Nice going, Bruce!


I've often thought that some of Boulez's work (also Répons, for example) feels directly linked to those composers (either will do).  Anyone who can't get inside his thornier pieces might really respond to these.

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: not edward on January 28, 2008, 10:21:53 AM
Nice review of the concert in today's Times. (http://select.nytimes.com/mem/tnt.html?emc=tnt&tntget=2008/01/28/arts/music/28focus.html&tntemail1=y) I like that Mr. Tomassini calls Boulez a contemporary Ravel, since Bruce pointed that out Friday, though he used the name Debussy. Nice going, Bruce!

I think Bruce is more accurate than Tomassini. ;)

Tomorrow is C-Day in Canada: the first of the Pacifica recordings should arrive in shops on Tuesday!
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: johnQpublic on January 28, 2008, 10:53:35 AM


Tomorrow is C-Day in Canada: the first of the Pacifica recordings should arrive in shops on Tuesday!

LOOK!! The lines outside Barnes & Noble have already formed!!!

(http://tbn0.google.com/images?q=tbn:p7LLmU1wcRZRTM:http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1045/669911271_c7b9ca69fb.jpg)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on January 28, 2008, 10:56:57 AM
LOOK!! The lines outside Barnes & Noble have already formed!!!

;D
 
Amazon said they've already shipped my copy. I'm expecting it at any time. They probaby timed it so it would arrive the same day it hits the stores.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on January 29, 2008, 05:28:38 PM
From the Associated Press (real this time  ;) ):

On Dec. 11, the day of Carter's 100th birthday, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, music director James Levine and pianist Daniel Barenboim will play the New York premiere of Carter's "Interventions for Piano and Orchestra," a co-commission of Carnegie Hall, the BSO and the Staatskapelle Berlin. The following day, an all-Carter program of chamber music will be presented in Zankel Hall, below the main auditorium.

Next season at Carnegie Hall has just been announced. The Dec. 11 program will also include Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 3 and Le Sacre.

The chamber concert Dec. 12 is as follows:

Canon for 4 
Enchanted Preludes 
Gra 
Duo for Violin and Piano 
Con leggerezza pensosa 
Esprit Rude/Esprit Doux 
Mosaic (US Premiere) 
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on January 29, 2008, 08:41:31 PM
Well, today I got my Pacifica's recording of Carter's First and Fifth Quartets on Naxos. Tonioght I listened to the Fifth, twice. It's a crisp, full-throated reading, very enjoyable. I'd say it's worth the price of admission. I'll get back to you again when I've listened to the First. 
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on January 30, 2008, 09:43:07 PM
Well, today I got my Pacifica's recording of Carter's First and Fifth Quartets on Naxos. Tonioght I listened to the Fifth, twice. It's a crisp, full-throated reading, very enjoyable. I'd say it's worth the price of admission. I'll get back to you again when I've listened to the First. 

Were any of you fortunate enough to get to the Pacifica cycle tonight? (Or rather, since it's close to 1 am, yesterday evening.) Marvelous playing.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on January 31, 2008, 07:33:46 AM
Were any of you fortunate enough to get to the Pacifica cycle tonight? (Or rather, since it's close to 1 am, yesterday evening.) Marvelous playing.

Alas, I had thought about it but had some other things to attend to, since I'm going to concerts basically every night for a week, including the final Carter concert on Saturday.

I bet it was fantastic.  Were there many people there?  (I know the Ethical Culture Society can seat quite a few.)  And was Carter there?

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on January 31, 2008, 08:19:20 AM
Alas, I had thought about it but had some other things to attend to, since I'm going to concerts basically every night for a week, including the final Carter concert on Saturday.

I bet it was fantastic.  Were there many people there?  (I know the Ethical Culture Society can seat quite a few.)  And was Carter there?

--Bruce

It was kind of fantastic. No #1 in particular, my favorite of the five, was done as well as I've ever heard. Not completely sold out, but Carter was there - looking quite frail as of now.

I hope I can get into Saturday night's event. If not, Tanglewood here I come. (Which I probably will do anyway.)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on January 31, 2008, 08:23:50 AM
It was kind of fantastic. No #1 in particular, my favorite of the five, was done as well as I've ever heard. Not completely sold out, but Carter was there - looking quite frail as of now.

I hope I can get into Saturday night's event. If not, Tanglewood here I come. (Which I probably will do anyway.)

Thanks, I like the First, too--and the Fifth.  (Well, all of them, really.)  If you arrive early on Saturday, you should be able to get in.  For the Boulez concert last Friday, at least three different friends all got in, and all without tickets.  (Granted, I saw one of them sitting in the second row, near the stage--not my fave place for sound, although you'd get a great view of the podium.)

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on January 31, 2008, 01:45:24 PM
Really, you didn't like the Aimard recording?   :'(

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on January 31, 2008, 01:55:21 PM
Really, you didn't like the Aimard recording?   :'(

He really didn't like one minute of it, anyway, Bruce.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: toledobass on January 31, 2008, 02:34:50 PM


American chamber groups /pianists need to drop all their projects and get busy  on Carter

The cantakerous Critic..



Why?  so you can dismiss the recordings as nothing but a weak effort?  Seems to me if you really enjoyed the music you'd try as hard as you could to understand what the few recorded performances have to offer. 

Allan
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on January 31, 2008, 03:42:33 PM
Herewith my review of the new Naxos recording, which should appear soon at Amazon. I gave the disk four stars, and no, I didn't get to see the Pacifica in New York last night.  :(

 It shouldn’t be necessary to mention in every review that Elliott Carter will turn 100 in December 2008 and that at 99 he is still vital and composing, but it’s just too impressive and heartening a fact to ignore. As a centenary offering, Naxos is releasing Carter’s five string quartets in two volumes, performed by the Pacifica Quartet. This first disk contains the composer’s first and last (to date) works in the genre.

The First, from 1951, is generally considered Carter’s breakthrough into his signature brand of modernism — a sweeping, forty minute tour de force, in three big sections, teeming with all the technical and expressive idea that had been lurking in the composer’s subconscious. The Pacifica, a young group, plays with energy and a high polish that emphasizes beauty over drama, and a blending rather than a confrontation of instruments. The rich sound is particularly impressive in the opening Maestoso. The players seem to lose focus in the transition between the adagio and the variations, but they recover in the finale, which, in their hands, is luminous, rather than driving. The work is multifaceted and deep enough to support the approach. The Pacifica reveals a side to Carter that, in the face of all the clichés about his spiky modernism, has been unfairly overlooked.

The Fifth Quartet, which appeared forty-four years after the First, inhabits much the same sound world, but on a more concentrated, intimate scale. The piece is half the length of the First Quartet, yet it has twice as many tracks, each between one and three minutes long. The introduction is followed by six movements, each with a single, sustained character, separated by five interludes that mix together fragments of the extended music. Carter has compared the piece to a chamber rehearsal, in which the musicians comment on what they’ve just played or try out bits of what they are going to play later. The piece is also self-referential, recapping textures, techniques and moods, though not literal passages, from his four earlier quartets. The pizzicato Capriccioso that ends the work recalls the Third Quartet, the Presto scorrevole refers directly to the Allegro scorrevole of the First Quartet, and some the solo passages in the interludes remind me of the solos in the Second. Carter says he wrote the Fifth Quartet as a “farewell to the previous four and an exploration of a new vision,” though we may still hope it is not a farewell to the form itself. The notes, by Bayan Northcott, say the music has a playful, divertimento-like character, but I must add this lightness does not rule out many passages of great power and anguished lyricism. The Pacific gives a crisp reading that benefits from a spacious reverb. Brandon Vamos’ incisive, rich-toned cello playing in this piece deserves special mention.

A second Naxos disk, containing the Pacifica’s recordings Second, Third and Fourth quartets, is scheduled for release in summer of 2008. When it arrives, we shall at last have a unified cycle of Carter’s greatest chamber music, played, moreover, by enthusiastic young champions who understand and love it. That’s a present worthy of the man’s hundredth birthday.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: not edward on January 31, 2008, 10:05:38 PM
Nice review. The Guardian's Andrew Clements likes it too: http://music.guardian.co.uk/classical/andrewclements/story/0,,2250178,00.html
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on February 01, 2008, 07:57:49 AM
Nice review. The Guardian's Andrew Clements likes it too: http://music.guardian.co.uk/classical/andrewclements/story/0,,2250178,00.html

So does the Times. (http://select.nytimes.com/mem/tnt.html?emc=tnt&tntget=2008/02/01/arts/music/01paci.html&tntemail1=y)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on February 01, 2008, 08:12:14 AM
Herewith my review of the new Naxos recording, which should appear soon at Amazon. I gave the disk four stars, and no, I didn't get to see the Pacifica in New York last night.  :(

 It shouldn’t be necessary to mention in every review that Elliott Carter will turn 100 in December 2008 and that at 99 he is still vital and composing, but it’s just too impressive and heartening a fact to ignore. As a centenary offering, Naxos is releasing Carter’s five string quartets in two volumes, performed by the Pacifica Quartet. This first disk contains the composer’s first and last (to date) works in the genre.

The First, from 1951, is generally considered Carter’s breakthrough into his signature brand of modernism — a sweeping, forty minute tour de force, in three big sections, teeming with all the technical and expressive idea that had been lurking in the composer’s subconscious. The Pacifica, a young group, plays with energy and a high polish that emphasizes beauty over drama, and a blending rather than a confrontation of instruments. The rich sound is particularly impressive in the opening Maestoso. The players seem to lose focus in the transition between the adagio and the variations, but they recover in the finale, which, in their hands, is luminous, rather than driving. The work is multifaceted and deep enough to support the approach. The Pacifica reveals a side to Carter that, in the face of all the clichés about his spiky modernism, has been unfairly overlooked.

The Fifth Quartet, which appeared forty-four years after the First, inhabits much the same sound world, but on a more concentrated, intimate scale. The piece is half the length of the First Quartet, yet it has twice as many tracks, each between one and three minutes long. The introduction is followed by six movements, each with a single, sustained character, separated by five interludes that mix together fragments of the extended music. Carter has compared the piece to a chamber rehearsal, in which the musicians comment on what they’ve just played or try out bits of what they are going to play later. The piece is also self-referential, recapping textures, techniques and moods, though not literal passages, from his four earlier quartets. The pizzicato Capriccioso that ends the work recalls the Third Quartet, the Presto scorrevole refers directly to the Allegro scorrevole of the First Quartet, and some the solo passages in the interludes remind me of the solos in the Second. Carter says he wrote the Fifth Quartet as a “farewell to the previous four and an exploration of a new vision,” though we may still hope it is not a farewell to the form itself. The notes, by Bayan Northcott, say the music has a playful, divertimento-like character, but I must add this lightness does not rule out many passages of great power and anguished lyricism. The Pacific gives a crisp reading that benefits from a spacious reverb. Brandon Vamos’ incisive, rich-toned cello playing in this piece deserves special mention.

A second Naxos disk, containing the Pacifica’s recordings Second, Third and Fourth quartets, is scheduled for release in summer of 2008. When it arrives, we shall at last have a unified cycle of Carter’s greatest chamber music, played, moreover, by enthusiastic young champions who understand and love it. That’s a present worthy of the man’s hundredth birthday.


Excellent write-up, Joe!  May try to snag a copy this weekend.  And thanks guys, for pointing out the Guardian and Times comments. 

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: paulb on February 01, 2008, 08:37:01 AM
So does the Times. (http://select.nytimes.com/mem/tnt.html?emc=tnt&tntget=2008/02/01/arts/music/01paci.html&tntemail1=y)

What would the times Know about music/honest unbiased criticism?

Now you pushed my button.
I had made vaious posts about your review, which is true i've not heard the Naxos cd but did read some reviews of the Julliard recording, where the reviews said they take the 1st sq too slow, Which i didn't find all that slwo compared to the naxos cd.
The Julliard's opening to the 3rd sq was not all that "polished' , in fact sounded abit discombobulated.
Anyway, i've not herad the Naxos, based only on my clip thing.
What do i know. Only that i am not as biased as The times, which are really off time, more often than in the times.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on February 01, 2008, 08:58:54 AM
Reading The New York Times is just like reading any other opinions: you get to know the writers and gradually get to know how their tastes compare with yours.  (And PS, the Times writers are all quite different from each other.)  In this case, the article was written by Steve Smith, who is very knowledgeable in addition to writing very well.  I like his recommendations, but if on balance, you don't agree with him, hey, that's fine.

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on February 01, 2008, 09:13:20 AM
And yet another review of the quartets disc (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2008/02/carters-string-quartets.html) on Ionarts, the Washington, DC blog.

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on February 01, 2008, 09:23:22 AM
Excellent write-up, Joe! 

Well, then, go to Amazon and give me a helpful vote!  ;)

Well, gee, I didn't mean to press anyone's buttons. I like the Juilliard's set of the quartets on Sony, especially the Second, which is the performance I listen to more than any other. As for the tempos in the first, what some call sluggish, I would call luxuriant.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on February 01, 2008, 09:29:49 AM
Well, then, go to Amazon and give me a helpful vote!  ;)

Done!

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on February 01, 2008, 10:18:33 AM
Ditto.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: paulb on February 01, 2008, 10:54:26 AM
Well, then, go to Amazon and give me a helpful vote!  ;)

Well, gee, I didn't mean to press anyone's buttons. I like the Juilliard's set of the quartets on Sony, especially the Second, which is the performance I listen to more than any other. As for the tempos in the first, what some call sluggish, I would call luxuriant.

 Any group that records Carter is a  friend of mine. I do not mean to knock  the Pacifica's efforts of this extremely challenging chamber, there really is  no one definitive way to approach these magnificient string quartets.  These 5 sq's represent the very finest quartets every scored by any composer in the history of music. (apologies to the Beethovenians for that confession).
EDIT: I forgot the 4 Schnittke sq's. Both Carter and Schnittke are the highest experience concerning quartet genre.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: paulb on February 01, 2008, 04:43:03 PM
And i do have the right to make that personal statement of experience.That the 5 sq's from Elliot Carter are along with Alfred Schnittke's 4 sq's, these 2 composers represent the highest expression of the quartet literature in classical music.
 :)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Wendell_E on February 02, 2008, 07:46:56 AM
Well, then, go to Amazon and give me a helpful vote!  ;)

Done!

--Bruce
Ditto.

Me, too.  And I bought it, while I was there (I already had it in my shopping cart).
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on February 02, 2008, 09:14:08 AM
Well, a couple more and my Amazon reviewer's rank shoots up from 22461 to 22460.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: paulb on February 02, 2008, 09:34:32 AM
Well, a couple more and my Amazon reviewer's rank shoots up from 22461 to 22460.

I rank near the bottom.
Most of my reviews get the thumbs down :-[
No surprise to the board I'm sure :D

Elliott Carter, america's greatest composer ever and world's greatest living composer.
Been listening to this cd and just thought I'd express what i feel.
Special mention on Urusla Oppens amazing skills and her musical mind.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on February 02, 2008, 09:43:44 AM
Been listening to this cd and just thought I'd express what i feel.
Special mention on Urusla Oppens amazing skills and her musical mind.

Yeah she's terrific.  :)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Al Moritz on February 02, 2008, 04:52:24 PM
Elliott Carter, [...] world's greatest living composer.
Been listening to this cd and just thought I'd express what i feel.

While I understand this sentiment now much better than just a few weeks ago -- I have changed my mind on late Carter (I will post on that another time) -- I strongly urge you again to extensively listen to Ferneyhough and, in particular, to Rihm before you etch this in stone (Stockhausen is now out of the picture for this title, obviously). Wuorinen is no slouch either.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on February 03, 2008, 10:08:57 AM
Hi Al! Always nice to see you!

I should listen to more Ferneyhough and Rihm. I should listen to more of everything, really, but in the meantime ...

Juilliard's 2008 Focus Festival ended last night with an extraordinary performance of Carter's forty-minute Symphonia, with James Levine conducting. Extraordinary not only because it was played by a student orchestra, but also because it was so captivating. It would have been impressive to hear anyone play it so well, let alone a Scout troop.  The performance of the first movement, the Partita, was the most exciting I've ever heard, gathering an irresistible momentum as it progressed. Of course, the fact that a large orchestra was playing in a not-so-large hall (the Peter Jay Sharp Theater) surely added to the effect. Nicholas Galls gave a piercing clarinet solo. The Adagio tenebroso was not so much dark as beautiful, and the lightly scored Allegro scorrevole sounded fuller and more "present" than I remember. (And kudos to concertmaster Marta Kretchkovsky for a lovely solo.) A great wind up. (Bruce Hodges and I accosted one of the musicians on the subway, and she said that working with Jimmy was an inspiration. She also said everyone in the orchestra was exhausted.)

The program also included Ives' Three Places in New England, which is becoming one of Levine’s signature pieces. I've heard him conduct it several times, and it has always been memorable. The first half ended with Carter's great Cello Concerto, though the performance didn't rise to the same heights as the other works. The fault lay with Dane Johansen, the young hotshot who beat out four other players for the soloist's chair. He gave it everything he had, but you could sense the piece getting away from him. His tone seemed thin, his timing was off in places, and most important of all, he lacked the sense of continuity that Fred Sherry brings to the recording. The concerto came off as a series of virtuosic moments, rather than as an organic, communicative whole.

Still, as you can tell from the verbosity of this review, I'm still buzzing about the Symphonia, even after ten hours sleep. And it's not the coffee talking, either.

Unfortunately, Mr. Carter was not there to hear the ovations. According to Joel Sachs, he was feeling "under the weather" and stayed home. He must have been worn out from all the excitement earlier in the week.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on February 03, 2008, 08:09:07 PM
Where are you guys?  ???
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Catison on February 03, 2008, 08:12:48 PM
Where are you guys?  ???

There was some football game on today.  Something about it being the second extra large game...
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on February 04, 2008, 04:52:50 AM
Where are you guys?  ???

Was at the MFA, Joe.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on February 04, 2008, 07:14:09 AM
Still, as you can tell from the verbosity of this review, I'm still buzzing about the Symphonia, even after ten hours sleep. And it's not the coffee talking, either.

Unfortunately, Mr. Carter was not there to hear the ovations. According to Joel Sachs, he was feeling "under the weather" and stayed home. He must have been worn out from all the excitement earlier in the week.

It was a terrific concert, and I'm still amazed that students were performing these three pieces--further proof of the ever-increasing abilities of young musicians.  Also rather inspiring to see a packed house for Ives and Carter, with much cheering at the end.  A great night. 

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on February 04, 2008, 07:23:49 AM
Fortunately I was able to attend this program after all, which was more than well worth the wait.* The Symphonia was everything Mr. Barron says it was. Levine obviously believes in this piece, and I've heard him conduct it once before in Boston, coupled with a considerably less potent account of Beethoven's Eroica. But I wouldn't say the BSO handled the work any more professionally than these Juilliard students, who go after it fearlessly and seem scarcely to miss a beat; I can't imagine the conservatory students I knew from the late 1960s handling this music with equivalent aplomb. The opening Partita was indeed thrilling, perhaps most of all at the point about 80% through where the brass players intone sonorous unisons in a great climax. In the finale, a friend noted more transparent textures than in the Knussen recording, but it was the great central Adagio tenebroso that was the most impressive part of the performance. For all Carter's brilliance, one rarely associates deeply elegiac emotions with his music, but here that was just the case, and I feel that Levine, with his strongly Romantic temperament, brought out more of that essence than the cooler Oliver Knussen on the recording. But this is a performance that deserves public distribution. (A student was observed in the wings with a camcorder; could anyone with connections possibly persuade Juilliard to make this available?)

As for the Cello Concerto, I was more impressed with young Johansen than Mr. Barron was, but then again, I don't know the Fred Sherry recording well enough to judge. If he had problems, it was mainly in the central slower section requiring higher positions on the A string; here his intonation seemed insecure and this was the weakest part of his performance. But otherwise I cannot fault him. Levine's Ives was strongest in the raucous middle Putnam's Camp movement of the suite. But in the slower outer movements, the many layers of Ives's textures didn't emerge clearly enough; surely the waters of the Housatonic in 1915 hadn't yet turned to the sludge one heard from Levine's interpretation.

--------------
* But Juilliard cannot be entirely congratulated for the way it handled the standby line. I arrived at about 6:30 to see about 15 people ahead of me. At 7 a woman gave us standby numbers and told us to return at 5 before 8. This was fine, as it gave enough time for a quick bite; but when we got back to the door at 7:50 and the crowd had increased substantially, the same woman was yelling at the top of her lungs to all the standby holders to "Get behind the barricades!" as if we were a bunch of cattle or worse. And then it became a mad scramble to find seats, as we were not given actual seat assignments and there was confusion as to where people could or could not sit. C'mon, Juilliard, you could have handled things more professionally than this.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on February 04, 2008, 07:39:50 AM
--------------
* But Juilliard cannot be entirely congratulated for the way it handled the standby line. I arrived at about 6:30 to see about 15 people ahead of me. At 7 a woman gave us standby numbers and told us to return at 5 before 8. This was fine, as it gave enough time for a quick bite; but when we got back to the door at 7:50 and the crowd had increased substantially, the same woman was yelling at the top of her lungs to all the standby holders to "Get behind the barricades!" as if we were a bunch of cattle or worse. And then it became a mad scramble to find seats, as we were not given actual seat assignments and there was confusion as to where people could or could not sit. C'mon, Juilliard, you could have handled things more professionally than this.


That sounds very bad...and this was the first time they have handed out standby numbers, that I can recall.  (Usually there's just a line outside.)  And true, inside they did have more seats "reserved" than usual, which made finding seats more of a challenge than it should be.  Must be a better way...

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on February 04, 2008, 09:20:11 AM
But in the slower outer movements, the many layers of Ives's textures didn't emerge clearly enough; surely the waters of the Housatonic in 1915 hadn't yet turned to the sludge one heard from Levine's interpretation.

I'd be willing to bet the Housatonic is cleaner today than at the turn of the last century, even if pregnant women still can't eat the fish.

Very insightful review, Sf, though I think I liked the outer movements of Three Places more than you did. I thought the first was especially fine. The piece is a ghost march, and the performance captured that for me — both mysterious and mournful. Beautiful stuff.

As for the Cello Concerto, I didn't dislike it, but it didn't leave me in the introspective, awe-struck mood I had after Ma and Sherry's perfromances. It's a very personal thing. 

I passed on reading the Times review today. It was written by Bernard Holland. Ugh. 
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on February 04, 2008, 10:34:28 AM
Very insightful review, Sf, though I think I liked the outer movements of Three Places more than you did. I thought the first was especially fine. The piece is a ghost march, and the performance captured that for me — both mysterious and mournful. Beautiful stuff.

...

I passed on reading the Times review today. It was written by Bernard Holland. Ugh. 

Not so much dislike as a few reservations, JB. Holland's review was appreciative, and I don't think you'd react negatively if it appeared here pseudonymously.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on February 04, 2008, 10:43:10 AM
Holland's review was appreciative, and I don't think you'd react negatively if it appeared here pseudonymously.

Yeah, but it doesn't.  ;)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Mark G. Simon on February 04, 2008, 02:28:48 PM
Here's the essence of it.

According to Boulez, Carter’s music sounds “American”. Holland agrees:

"There are the reserves of psychic energy: the impulsiveness and aggression, the hard work achieved through high sophistication, the absence of neurosis. He has the American knack for making complex constructions work.

Ives did things no European would have ever done because there was no European around to tell him he couldn’t. There is an element of Mr. Carter in Ives’s music but also a world of difference. Mr. Carter is an original, but he is no eccentric".
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on February 04, 2008, 02:47:38 PM
There is an element of Mr. Carter in Ives’s music but also a world of difference. 

How can there be an element of Mr. Carter in Ives's music? Ives never heard a note of Carter. I was also put off the by Holland's lede, which describes the other night's program as a "big mouthful" of Carter's music. What an ugly expression. It does appear, though, that years after deriding Carter's devotees as elitsts preaching to the great unwashed, Mr. Holland has come to appreciate the composer's achievment somewhat. He has also bitten off a big mouthful. I won't say of what.  ;)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Mark G. Simon on February 04, 2008, 04:07:30 PM
Holland often writes as if he's been given five minutes to come up with 200 words.

Here he's actually projecting history backwards, like the person who listens to Mozart's C minor Piano Concerto and remarks that "there's a lot of Beethoven in it". He knows that Ives never heard any of Carter's mature works, and what he means to say is the two composers have something in common. Actually there's a lot of Ives in Carter, for Carter's poly-tempo constructions are just a formalized version of Ives' two marching bands coming together.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on February 04, 2008, 04:19:34 PM
How can there be an element of Mr. Carter in Ives's music? Ives never heard a note of Carter. I was also put off the by Holland's lede, which describes the other night's program as a "big mouthful" of Carter's music. What an ugly expression. It does appear, though, that years after deriding Carter's devotees as elitsts preaching to the great unwashed, Mr. Holland has come to appreciate the composer's achievment somewhat. He has also bitten off a big mouthful. I won't say of what.  ;)

The generous explanation is that he is thinking in the same terms as Harold Bloom does in The Anxiety of Influence, where in discussing artistic influence Bloom speaks of the later poet (though composer will work as well) seeming to have written the work of the earlier poet. Bloom calls this apophrades, or the return of the dead. More likely, though, Holland is just being imprecise.

And ok, so he's not so great at metaphor either.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on February 04, 2008, 04:24:18 PM
Here he's actually projecting history backwards, like the person who listens to Mozart's C minor Piano Concerto and remarks that "there's a lot of Beethoven in it".

Perfect example of Bloom's point: "the uncanny effect is that the new poem's achievement makes it seem to us, not as though the precursor were writing it, but as though the later poet himself had written the precursor's characteristic work."
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on February 04, 2008, 06:55:24 PM
Actually there's a lot of Ives in Carter, for Carter's poly-tempo constructions are just a formalized version of Ives' two marching bands coming together.

I agree with this, though I think I might have hestiated before including the word "just."  ;)

Quote from: Sforzando
Perfect example of Bloom's point: "the uncanny effect is that the new poem's achievement makes it seem to us, not as though the precursor were writing it, but as though the later poet himself had written the precursor's characteristic work."

Although I have certainly heard Mozart's influence on Beethoven, it has never occurred to me that Beethoven wrote Mozart's most characteristic work, not even "as though."
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on February 04, 2008, 07:14:57 PM
Although I have certainly heard Mozart's influence on Beethoven, it has never occurred to me that Beethoven wrote Mozart's most characteristic work, not even "as though."

I suggest a reading of Bloom's (very short) book, which introduces many original and provocative approaches to the concept of "influence."

Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on February 05, 2008, 06:08:42 AM
I wonder what may have influenced his original and provocative approaches . . . .
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on February 05, 2008, 06:11:58 AM
I wonder what may have influenced his original and provocative approaches . . . .

I don't know, but it's considered a very influential book.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: paulb on February 05, 2008, 09:37:57 AM
I agree with this, though I think I might have hestiated before including the word "just."  ;)

Although I have certainly heard Mozart's influence on Beethoven, it has never occurred to me that Beethoven wrote Mozart's most characteristic work, not even "as though."

There may be some Ives  in Carter, as there may be some Mahler in Schonberg and Shostakovich.
There are some composers in which  i hear way too much of an influence from another contemporary composer, which makes me suspect and cautious to accept the work.

As to the Mozart/Beethoven connection, I am not buying in either..
Though i have heard some conductors with a   heavy sounding orch which proceeds to bring out a  Mozart sym in textures that seem awefully close to Beethoven.
Now how does this happen, Beethoven influences Mozart  ???
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on February 05, 2008, 09:52:40 AM
Now how does this happen, Beethoven influences Mozart  ???

Not what I said or wrote. Read more carefully.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on February 05, 2008, 10:20:39 AM
I wonder what may have influenced his original and provocative approaches . . . .

 ;D

Why, it's just as though Bloom wrote Nietzsche's Case of Wagner.

Kidding aside, Sf, I can appreciate what you're getting at. I'll have to read the Bloom if I get the chance. I also think you're right about Holland: He was probably just being imprecise.  ;)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on February 05, 2008, 10:22:18 AM
;D

Why, it's just as though Bloom wrote Nietzsche's Case of Wagner.

Kidding aside, Sf, I can appreciate what you're getting at. I'll have to read the Bloom if I get the chance. I also think you're right about Holland: He was probably just being imprecise.  ;)

I'm sorry I brought it up . . . .
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on February 05, 2008, 10:26:02 AM
I'm sorry I brought it up . . . .

Oh, not a bit, sforzando!
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on February 05, 2008, 10:35:33 AM
Oh, not a bit, sforzando!

And I remember Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald came home from their wild New Year's Eve party. It was April. Scott had just finished writing Great Expectations, and Gertrude Stein and I read it and we said that it was a good book, but that there was no need to have written it because Charles Dickens had already written it. — Woody Allen
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on February 05, 2008, 10:37:43 AM
Miss Havisham, white courtesy telephone, please!
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on February 05, 2008, 11:06:57 AM
There may be some
There are some composers in which  i hear way too much of an influence from another contemporary composer, which makes me suspect and cautious to accept the work.

Depends on what you mean by "too much." I recently read Geiringer's biography of Haydn, and it appears the mutual influence between Haydn and Mozart was enormous. Each learned a great deal from the other, and of course, Mozart took the extraordary step of dedicating his first mature string quartets to Haydn, rather than a patron or memebr of the nobility.

But to get back to the topic of this thread: Mr. Carter has always been up front about his influences, and though he has a distinctive compostional voice, I've never regarded him as especially innovative, certainaly not in the way Ives was. He has taken many of his ideas from elsewhere, and he excels at perfecting existing forms. He did not invent atonality or cross pulses, and he has said the dense string writing of the Piano Concerto was inspired by the textural music being written by Penderecki et al. at the time. (How different the effect!) The Variations, as Schiff points out, are a tour of the compositional practices of the 1950s. I have always been able to place Carter's work in the context of other music. Listen to Carter, and then listen contemporary pieces by Wolpe or Imbrie, and you'll see the connections. Carter is an extraordinarily learned man. It would be naive not to expect that learnedness to show up in his music.

None of this is to question his importance or originality. Eliot said that mediocre artists imitiate. Great artists steal. Swaffford said of Brahms that in the finale of the First Piano Concerto, which used the finale of Beethoven's Third Concerto as a template, he stole creatively, "as all great artists steal." Carter has done his share of creative stealing.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on February 05, 2008, 12:52:46 PM
And yet, Carter never (to my knowledge) has been accused of sounding too much like Charles Ives.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on February 05, 2008, 01:15:25 PM
And yet, Carter never (to my knowledge) has been accused of sounding too much like Charles Ives.

Cf. "distinctive compositional voice," above.  ;)

While Carter and Ives never sound alike, there are moments in Carter's work I would call Ivesian, such as the climax of the Adagio tenebroso, though Carter's expressive purposes are very different from those of Ives. In its layering, spatial effects, and it sheer manic energy, I would call the Concerto for Orchestra his most Ivesian piece. 

On a structural level, viz. the use of nonlinear development, Carter's music has also been deeply influenced by Debussy. Yet of course, no one would say their music sounds alike. I would say that in terms of influence, the lessons Carter learns from other composers tend to be structural, rather than harmonic or thematic or any other ic one can name.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: bwv 1080 on February 05, 2008, 01:21:30 PM
And yet, Carter never (to my knowledge) has been accused of sounding too much like Charles Ives.

The sense of multiple things happening at once is similar - I always thought if you replaced the tonal or quotational material in Ives with pre-12 tone Schoenberg material you would get a very rough approximation of Carter
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Mark G. Simon on February 05, 2008, 01:29:09 PM
Carter also owes a lot to Conlon Nancarrow, who was already writing music in multiple tempos for player piano in the 1940s. Carter acknowledged that debt by quoting one of those player piano studies in the First Quartet. The First Quartet also quotes Ives' First Violin Sonata.

One of the things that makes Carter's 1st quartet so powerful is the overwhelming sense of discovery. Carter has just discovered his true voice and is proclaiming "This is who I am" as well as "this is where I came from".
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on February 05, 2008, 01:29:59 PM
One of the things that makes Carter's 1st quartet so powerful is the overwhelming sense of discovery. Carter has just discovered his true voice and is proclaiming "This is who I am" as well as "this is where I came from".

Well said!

The sense of multiple things happening at once is similar - I always thought if you replaced the tonal or quotational material in Ives with pre-12 tone Schoenberg material you would get a very rough approximation of Carter

Carter has abstracted Ives.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on February 18, 2008, 01:06:09 PM
From the news desk

I just saw at the Boosey web site that Mr. Carter's Flute Concerto is scheduled for performance in Berlin in June 2009. Emmanuel Pahud will be soloist, Barenboim conducting the Berlin Philharmonic.

To quote Tom Rakewell: I wish I had money.

I do hope this is not a posthumous premiere, and I also hope the original executants record it. It would be, to my knowledge, the first recording of a Carter piece with the BPO.  Or maybe not. The cachet they bring to Beethoven might not translate precisely to Carter. 

Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Mark G. Simon on February 18, 2008, 02:11:10 PM
This means all he has to do is write a bassoon concerto and he'll have completed the project Nielsen was not able to carry through -- writing a concerto for all the instruments of the woodwind quintet.

I still think he needs to write a Woodwind Quintet no. 2 to complete his life's work.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: toledobass on February 23, 2008, 06:18:37 AM
Haven't seen anything posted so just wondering if the NY folks are aware of this:

http://www.symphonyspace.org/event/2110 (http://www.symphonyspace.org/event/2110)


Looks like fun,

Allan

Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on February 23, 2008, 09:16:35 AM
Haven't seen anything posted so just wondering if the NY folks are aware of this:

http://www.symphonyspace.org/event/2110 (http://www.symphonyspace.org/event/2110)


Looks like fun,

Allan



Yep, I'll be there!  Two excellent pianists (whom I've just heard in the last week), and the program looks quite interesting.

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on February 23, 2008, 09:36:22 AM
Thanks, Allan. The program is being repeated in Philadelphia March 2. Think I'll save myself the train fare to New York.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: bwv 1080 on February 23, 2008, 10:51:10 AM
Got the Pacifica Quartet recording of SQs 1 & 5, and it has met my hope of being somewhere between the Julliard and Arditti recordings - somewhat more precise and clear than Julliard without sacrificing the sense for overall form that happens sometimes in the Arditti (particularly the 80s recording of 1).  Looking forward to hearing their version of 3
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on February 24, 2008, 05:48:42 PM
Happiness

Just got back from Center City Philadelphia, where I heard the Juilliard Quartet play Carter’s String Quartet No. 2. I hesitate to call it my favorite of the Carter Five, but it is the one I listen to the most often.

I also hesitate to use the word “perfect” to describe a performance. Suffice to say the Juilliard played with just the right combination of warmth and tension. First violinist Joel Smirnoff, who replaced Robert Mann a few years back, was particularly memorable in the florid cadenza that beings at measure 373. He held the first note, a high e-flat, for what seemed like forever, building the volume slowly. The sound seemed to descend from a clear blue sky. It was wonderful.

Samuel Rhodes, the violist, gave a brief introduction before the performances. He described Carter as a “national treasure,” which might not have convinced everyone in attendance. He also described the psychological characteristics of each instrumental part, and he and the other members of the quartet played sample phrases. I found it helpful while watching the players interact during the piece.

The program also included Verdi’s String Quartet and Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet, with Ricardo Morales as soloist. Both were fine, especially the Mozart, which I think went a long way to assuage folks who were disgruntled by the Carter. I must say I was apprehensive when I saw all the gray heads in the audience, but there was very little grumbling while the music was in progress.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on February 26, 2008, 08:21:31 AM
Tanglewood festival

The prospectus for the Tanglewood 2008 festival arrived in my mailbox yesterday, and the news is exciting. The festival of contemporary music runs from July 20 to 24 and is devoted entirely to Elliott Carter. There will be 10 concerts in all, and, except for the final performance by the BSO, all will be perfromed by Tanglewood fellows. Tickets to all performances, except again for the final BSO concert, are $11. Early-evening prelude concerts are  free with a ticket to the evening performance. An additional morning performance with Ursula Oppens and Charles Rosen playing the Double Concerto will also require an $11 ticket purchase. So, you get 10 concerts for the price of six, and five of the six tickets will cost you  $55 total.

I have already ordered my ticket for the BSO performance on July 24, which will consist  of --- project this --- the Boston Concerto, the Horn Concerto, the Three Illusions and the Symphonia. Unfortunately, the $11 tickets are available only at the door the day of the performance, but I am assured the cocnerts do not sell out.

Other festival highlights will include the great Concerto for Orchestra conducted by Oliver Knussen, premieres of new piano and vocal pieces, a film of What Next?  and an interview with the composer.

I'm going. Who's with me? Anybody want to share expenses for a hotel room?
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on February 26, 2008, 11:12:20 AM
The festival of contemporary music runs from July 20 to 24 and is devoted entirely to Elliott Carter.

Ah well; those of us who write contemporary music, yet who are not Elliott Carter must set our hopes on next summer  8)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on February 26, 2008, 11:14:23 AM
Ah well; those of us who write contemporary music, yet who are not Elliott Carter must set our hopes on next summer  8)

You've got another fifty years, Karl.  ;)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on February 26, 2008, 11:23:06 AM
One hopes.

I am pleased for Carter that he did not have to wait nearly so long for public recognition  0:)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on February 27, 2008, 10:37:32 AM
I am pleased for Carter that he did not have to wait nearly so long for public recognition  0:)

There are those, of course, who would say he has never actually achieved public recognition.  0:)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: paulb on February 27, 2008, 04:52:18 PM
There are those, of course, who would say he has never actually achieved public recognition.  0:)

Elliott Carter's recognition awaits a  new class of music aficionados.
Ahh, 15 yrs perhaps. :)
Great genius is always , ALWAYS, ahead of his time.
Especially in the mass market consciousness / academia hype N pump era we live in.
Where a  *composer* like Philip Glass has a  place of prominence along side of Elliott Carter.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on February 28, 2008, 05:26:37 AM
Joe, Joe: world premieres in Symphony Hall are not a private affair!

Period  0:)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on February 28, 2008, 05:27:29 AM
Where a  *composer* like Philip Glass has a  place of prominence along side of Elliott Carter.

Well, but that's just like your "musicological" observations resting side-by-side with ours, Paul  ;D
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on February 28, 2008, 08:17:55 AM
Joe, Joe: world premieres in Symphony Hall are not a private affair!

Period  0:)

Entirely James Levine's doing, and the public complains about it, despite all the energy he has brought to Boston.

And I agree with Paul about PG.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on February 28, 2008, 08:41:57 AM
Entirely James Levine's doing, and the public complains about it

How often, Joe, have we pointed out to others the error of supposing the public to be a monolith unanimous in some objectionable course of action or habit of thought?  If there were no public for Carter in Boston, Levine would scarcely be in any position for this to be "entirely his doing."

If the April 2003 premiere of the Boston Concerto were "entirely Levine's doing," at least Ingo Metzmacher was a willing accomplice.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on February 28, 2008, 08:43:26 AM
I agree with the theory, though, that if Levine were the only one who admired Carter, then the composer had no public recognition.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on February 28, 2008, 08:49:54 AM
Two Pulitzer Prizes, in 1960 and 1973, are no private affair, either.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: paulb on February 28, 2008, 08:51:26 AM
Entirely James Levine's doing, and the public complains about it, despite all the energy he has brought to Boston.

And I agree with Paul about PG.

I have to give Levine a  standing ovation for his personal efforts to bring Elliott Carter to Boston audiences.
Which i am not surprised at Joe's observation that at *least some * Bostonians are not happy about. *what dreadful noise* I can hear some as the leave the concert.
But frankly, Levine is not my favorite conductor, so i am not sure how I would critique the concert. I would have to be there.
My reference to Glass, is how if you read critiques made of various late 20th c american composers, words like "seminal* *ground breaking*, *heights of american musical art* *shaping the american 20th C musical landscape* and other praises are lavished freely to many of these avant gardists. So if these composers fit in  these big shoes, unavoidably we are led to the dilemma on  level should we place the works of Elliot Carter?
Thats untenable.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: paulb on February 28, 2008, 08:57:06 AM
Two Pulitzer Prizes, in 1960 and 1973, are no private affair, either.

Pulitzer Prize = almost absolute meaningless.
Besides look at the yrs 1960,1973.
if this PP was a  legit org for the recognition of true cultural achievement in the arts.
Well in music Elliott Carter should have ben awarded that prize in the following yrs:
1974,75,76,77,78,79,80,81,82,83,84,85,86,87,88,89,90,91,92,93,94,95,96,97,98,99,2000,2001,2002,2003,2004,2005,2006,2007,2008,2009,2010,2011,2012,2013......ad infin
You get the idea.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on February 28, 2008, 09:06:55 AM
Pulitzer Prize = almost absolute meaningless.

At the very least, Paul, it is a significant form of public recognition.

And, Paul, face it, if Carter had had no public recognition (which was Joe's waggish commentary), one thing which would be absolutely true would be (for instance) that you would never have heard of him, let alone attached one of your enthusiasms upon him.  His fame is partly measured by this, Paul:  that you enjoy the luxury of multiple, commercially-available recordings of his work.

The phrase absolutely meaningless must be reserved for such things as, your applying that phrase to the Pulitzer Prize, e.g.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on February 28, 2008, 11:30:21 AM
If there were no public for Carter in Boston, Levine would scarcely be in any position for this to be "entirely his doing."

I'll wait and see just how long he lasts.

One does weary tired of expending the energy needed to be a contrarian and longs to rest in the good fellowship of the crowd.  :(
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on February 28, 2008, 11:38:58 AM
One does weary tired of expending the energy needed to be a contrarian and longs to rest in the good fellowship of the crowd.

Oh, I am just possibly one of the wrong people (a genuinely unknown composer) for you to try to convince that a world-famous composer has 'no public recognition'  8)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on March 02, 2008, 04:30:29 PM
 ;D Hi, y'all!  ;D

Just returned from Settlement Music School, South Philadelphia, where the Network for New Music repreated the Ten for Carter program performed at Symphony Space Friday night. Had a nice chat with a co0uple of the composers afterwards, and Bruce H, I also spoek with your friend Stephen Gosling, who remembered me with a little prompting. I enjoyed the program, but I wish there had been more Carter. A planned performance of the Triple Duo was canceled when one of the msuicians went to North Korea with the New York Philharmonic. That left only short pieces by Cartrer on the program---two of the four Lauds for solo violin, Figment No. 2 for solo cello, Steep Steps fopr bass clairnet, Retrouvailles for piano and Con Leggerezza Pensosa for violin, cello and clarinet, which was done twice. All were well played, and for me they bwere the nightlight of the afternoon.

The tribute pieces, by such composers as Jennifer Higdon, Jeffrey Mumford and Augusta Read Thomas,  were pleasant enough, but it stuck me while I was listening that commissioning  centenary tributes to Carter is  a little like commissioning composers like Hummel and Reicha to write occasional works for Beethoven's 50th birthday. The results may be fine, but it's the master himself you want to hear.

The most memorable pieces for me were the ones that quoted Carter directly, admittedly because I know Carter's music well enough to recognize the references. The last of the tributes, Variation by Jeffery Cotton, was based on the opening trumpet call of Carter's Symphony of Three Orchestras. It was suprising how much the theme sounds like Ives when played on the piano.
 
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on March 03, 2008, 08:00:31 AM
I mostly enjoyed the concert here, although the venue (the Leonard Nimoy Thalia Theater) is a little too dry for piano music.  But the tributes were nice enough; several of them I wanted to hear again.  I did enjoy the Con Leggerezza Pensosa.  Just found a video here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6tVIIo5ivZU) of the group rehearsing that piece!

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on March 03, 2008, 09:54:18 AM
I mostly enjoyed the concert here, although the venue (the Leonard Nimoy Thalia Theater) is a little too dry for piano music. 

Interesting your should say that. Steve Gosling said he thought the hall at settlement was a much better venue, and the piano was better, too. The piano at symphony space was a Yamaha, which, he said, should tell you everything.

And I did enjoy the concert a lot. As I said, I just wish there had been more Carter. And it was apleasure to meet Jennifer Higdopn. For whom i got to demonstrate just how loudly I can talk. The composers were getting ready to sit down for a Q&A, but no one on the panel quite knew how to get the attention of teh crowd, which was still milling about and snacking. Linda Reichert wanted to, but she's a slip of a woman. I volunteered. She gave me the OK, I called everyone to order at the top of my voice. It was an arresting moment. As I said to Higdon afterward, I've had umpires at major league baseball stadiums ask me to keep it down. She should write a piece for  me... maybe a concerto for loudmouth and orchestra.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on March 03, 2008, 10:04:10 AM
 ;D 

Now we know whom to call when we need to get people's attention around here.  ;D

 ;D

--Bruce

Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on March 03, 2008, 10:50:23 AM
;D  Now we know whom to call when we need to get people's attention around here. 
--Bruce

I must use this power only for good.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on March 03, 2008, 11:09:37 AM
Representatives from Coca-Cola, McDonald's, Apple, Ford and Wal-Mart have been trying all day to reach you, Joe.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: rickardg on March 03, 2008, 11:10:33 AM
Now what was that thread again... aah, here it is: What do you sound like? (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,6293.0.html)  :)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Al Moritz on March 03, 2008, 06:49:25 PM
Lately I have listened more to Carter again after I had cooled off from the composer, in particular from his later works, for several years. I had not liked that he first had developed such a distinctive avantgarde style and then simply held onto it, with some variation but without radical further transformations that would have him kept at the forefront of avantgarde: his modernism became “traditionalist modernism”, as it were.

However, I now realize that there is considerably more variation in Carter’s output than I had given him credit for, and I have come to appreciate his music as less dry than it mostly had seemed to me, with the exception of a few works like the 2nd and 3rd string quartets and the Concerto for Orchestra, which to me were “red-hot” Carter, an attribute that until recently I would have given no later Carter work.

The Symphonia is a much more different work than the Concerto for Orchestra than I ever had realized, and with its many innovations, which I did not notice before, it is perhaps not so much “traditionalist modernism” after all. A radical shift of view after I had listened to the work many times and even had experienced it live in late 2004 with the BSO under James Levine in Boston.

Not that I had not invested in Carter quite a bit. Apart from frequent listening to CDs and the live Symphonia, I had also experienced the world premiere of the Cello Concerto (October 2001, in NYC, with Yo-Yo Ma and the Chicago Symphony) and the world premiere of the Boston Concerto in 2002 in, of course, Boston.

The Cello Concerto had not left a lasting impression, except that the complex flurries had given way to short orchestral interruptions – not convincing at the time; it reminded me of the sparseness of late Schnittke, but without the incisive effect. A major problem had been that we sat way up high in Carnegie hall, far removed from the stage. You couldn’t hear much at all, or at least, until it finally reached us listeners, the sound did not have the strength to make a powerful impression – sometimes listening to a CD is better than live indeed.

The Boston Concerto seemed quite pleasant upon hearing it at the world premiere, with a nice return of the flurries but at the same time more of the same old Carter. Ultimately not too interesting, and the most memorable impression of that evening was that we had a nice drink with Joe afterwards (not that that is a bad thing at all:-)

About a year ago I listened again to the Cello Concerto, this time on the Bridge CD, and it seemed just pointless noodling at that time. The Boston Concerto seemed Carter Light – the composer as a playful shadow of his former, weightier self.

Recently, however, I have discovered that the Boston Concerto is a fantastic work. The way the game question-answer between instrumental groups in the faster passages creates tight, yet kaleidoscopically colorful textures, is amazing. The slow passages are of great strength; the woodwind harmonies in track 3 and the brass harmonies in track 9 of the Bridge CD are beautiful. The constant switch between fast and slow passages, dividing the music into many varied sections, gives an impression of “lots of music per minute” in this work. Perhaps this more recent music is red-hot Carter after all.

Even though the Cello Concerto is still a bit dry for me, I am warming up to it more and more – considerably so.

The Dialogues are terrific as well, with beautiful gestural correspondence – indeed dialogue – between piano and orchestra.

***

Last weekend I listened to the Symphonia again – twice – and now was the first time that I did not just admire the music, but truly enjoyed it. The density of the first movement and the fast “tossing the ball” between instrumental groups is exhilarating. The dark Adagio features a high level of harmonic sophistication in its very controlled interplay between dissonant chords and ones that are less so. The climax, devastating as it is, is actually a brief return to the playfulness of the first movement, but then in a grossly and painfully distorted, slowed-down manner. The attraction of the Finale does not just consist in the simultaneous playing of fast strands of flurry-like activity against slower moving music, but also in the morphing of these two kinds of music into one another.

For a long time, Stockhausen’s tremendous and continuous innovation up to his last works distracted my attention away from Carter who, as I thought, could not only not compete in this area, but was a hopeless under-achiever. Yet hardly any composer has shown as much innovation as Stockhausen, and as I said, I discovered that Carter is considerably more innovative than I had given him credit for. Paradoxically, after it had led me away from Carter, engagement with Stockhausen’s music again led me back to Carter: in the process of writing an essay on Licht-Bilder I felt the urge to listen to Carter in comparison. How things can come full circle in their own particular manner.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Mark G. Simon on March 03, 2008, 07:30:09 PM
What, is someone keeping score? The composer with the most innovations wins?
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Al Moritz on March 03, 2008, 10:46:02 PM
What, is someone keeping score? The composer with the most innovations wins?

That is hardly the point. However, what I have a problem with is stagnation in an "avantgarde" style since this is self-defeating by definition: it leads to the oxymoron of "traditionalist modernism" (and indeed, comparison with Stockhausen tends to highlight this problem particularly sharply). But as I said, I have ultimately found that this is not quite the case with Carter too.

I had never any issue with "innovation" in Nono, Schnittke, Ferneyhough, Rihm etc.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on March 04, 2008, 04:58:55 AM
In broadly similar fashion, Al, my first impressions of both the Boston Concerto and the Symphonia &c. did not at all foretell the very high regard both pieces now enjoy by me.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Mark G. Simon on March 04, 2008, 05:15:05 AM
That is hardly the point. However, what I have a problem with is stagnation in an "avantgarde" style since this is self-defeating by definition: it leads to the oxymoron of "traditionalist modernism" (and indeed, comparison with Stockhausen tends to highlight this problem particularly sharply). But as I said, I have ultimately found that this is not quite the case with Carter too.

I had never any issue with "innovation" in Nono, Schnittke, Ferneyhough, Rihm etc.

Then I have to say I have a problem with the whole notion of an "avant-garde", the status of which is, as you note, quite ephemeral. A composer either writes good music or not.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Al Moritz on March 04, 2008, 05:21:41 AM
Then I have to say I have a problem with the whole notion of an "avant-garde", the status of which is, as you note, quite ephemeral. A composer either writes good music or not.

The notion of "avant-garde" aside, I agree that compositional quality is paramount. Innovation in itself is of limited value. I couldn't care less about Stockhausen's innovations if his music wasn't as extraordinarily well composed as I perceive it to be. Conversely, Carter has grabbed my attention much more now because I realize that his later works are much better -- more interestingly -- composed than I had given him credit for.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Al Moritz on March 04, 2008, 06:11:31 AM
On the other hand, I should add that the combination of great innovation with great compositional quality can make for a rousing experience. This gives an added punch to, for example, my interest for Stockhausen.

Also, just "well-crafted" music without any innovation is uninteresting. If "innovation" even just consists of finding a personal style (and sufficiently extending, varying on it when it comes to follow-up works) this may be enough.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on March 04, 2008, 06:40:07 AM
For a long time, Stockhausen’s tremendous and continuous innovation up to his last works distracted my attention away from Carter who, as I thought, could not only not compete in this area, but was a hopeless under-achiever. Yet hardly any composer has shown as much innovation as Stockhausen, and as I said, I discovered that Carter is considerably more innovative than I had given him credit for. Paradoxically, after it had led me away from Carter, engagement with Stockhausen’s music again led me back to Carter: in the process of writing an essay on Licht-Bilder I felt the urge to listen to Carter in comparison. How things can come full circle in their own particular manner.

Excellent, thoughtful post, Al.  As I think Karl and some others have said, it's not good to criticize a composer for "not being someone else."  I also very much empathize with the idea that one's musical discovery can lead you back to works that you may have misunderstood, disliked or just jettisoned for some other reason.  (Speaking as a fairly recent admirer of Carter's output.)

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on March 04, 2008, 09:20:12 AM
Thought provoking and well expressed as always, Al. And perceptive. Back in the early nineties, I spoke with a cellist who had just taken part in a performance of Carter's first four string quartets, and he told me that the pieces dealt consistently with the same concerns, despite having been written decades apart. The critic the next day said the same thing, but less sympathetically. In essence, he said, Carter had not done anything new in thirty years, though I got the impression that if Carter had progressed more obviously, this critic would have accused him of innovation for innovation's sake. Sometimes, you can't win. I have said in an earlier post that I do not regard Carter as an innovator in the same sense as  Ives or Schoenberg, or perhaps Stockhausen. He does seem to have been content to explore the possibilities of his own personal voice within a range of technical possibilities he had discovered by the 1960s. (This is not to say he has not expanded the musical language.) All I can say is 1) It never struck me as a drawback, given the richness of his output, and 2) other great composers in the past have also settled for what Al calls a personal style and worked in it consistently over time. Bach, Haydn and Brahms come to mind. Once these masters found their voice, it did not seem to change much on a technical level. Still, I don't remember anyone ever accusing Bach of repeating himself even when, later in life, he was rearranging earlier material into his keyboard concertos. Haydn, too, wrote twenty-five symphonies in his mature style, and dozens of string quartets, and still kept it fresh.
 
I'm glad you've come like the Boston Concerto. It is a wonderful piece. My impression of the Cello Concerto was quite different from yours. I was in awe of it and remain so to this day. I think it's one of his greatest works, and to my ear, it is a direct descendant of the the white hot manner you admire. Interstingly, the white hot pieces, as you call them, such as the Concerto for Orchestra and the Second are Third string quartets, were the most forbidding to me at first. It took me a long time to appreciate them, although now they are among my all-time favorite music. I'm especially excited that Knussen is scheduled to conduct the Concerto for Orchestra at Tanglewood this summer. It's the only one of carter's orchestral works I have not heard live.

I remember that post-concert drink, too. I assume Josie has recovered from the peanut bombardment.  ;)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on March 04, 2008, 09:33:10 AM
Oh, and here's a good, thorough review of Sunday's program.

A tribute takes unexpected turns

By David Patrick Stearns

Inquirer Classical Music Critic

Only at a new-music concert would a creaky piano bench receive ironic applause - what a clever opening chord! - since these audiences tend to be ready for anything. And in the composer summit meeting that was the Network for New Music's "Ten for Carter" concert Sunday at the Settlement Music School, the most seasoned ears enjoyed pleasantly defied expectations.

The concept was to pay tribute to the great American composer Elliott Carter - who turns 100 on Dec. 11 - not only in a handful of his own pieces, but in short, newly commissioned solo piano works composed by others. The low-stakes, entre-nous circumstances meant these composers had little to lose, but had Carter's high standard to shoot for. Every piece was notable in its own way, and the performance quality was extraordinarily high, with guest pianists Stephen Gosling and Marilyn Nonken.

A number of composers were simply themselves, as in Ellen Taaffe Zwilich's forthrightly affectionate, harmonically rich A Poem for Elliott. In contrast, Augusta Read Thomas departed from her tough modernist personality in Bells, written for two pianists playing a single instrument, one at the keyboard, one plucking strings beneath the lid. Spare, elegantly chosen notes created a spacious, rarefied world.

If there was anything Carteresque there, it was the miniature epic quality. Among the Carter pieces on the program, Lauds for solo violin and Con Leggerezza Pensosa (which was performed twice, the second time being more relaxed and marvelously revealing) pack worlds of expression into compressed, eventful time periods. In Tempus Carmenium, Maurice Wright took that idea further with a multi-episode suite including canonic counterpoint that unexpectedly led to a lovely, choralelike series of freestanding chords. More daringly terse was Jeremy Gill's superb Eliot Fragments, whose episodes jumped off from T.S. Eliot quotations to create stark, explosive sound pictures that went to extremes within seconds.

One such Eliot quotation, "In my end is my beginning," was the concert's unofficial talisman. Carter's musical narratives often conclude with the composer opening one final door, exclaiming "Ah!" but not entering. Consciously or not, others did the same: Though Uri Caine's 4 short pieces for 2 hands began engagingly like Thelonious Monk driving with brake failure, the final seconds cleared all wreckage to reveal elegant chords and dotted rhythms that intently expanded and contracted time. Alvin Curran's quasi-minimalist E Poi dropped its severe demeanor in the final seconds with an arresting flourish worthy of Rachmaninoff.

Not normally a contrarian, Jennifer Higdon, in Mr. Carter's Notes, grabbed gestures from Carter's sprint-paced Triple Duo, gently sat them down, and made them submit to an amiable, fruitful examination, though its final seconds had bass notes that telegraphed finality - a welcome switch.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on March 04, 2008, 09:51:32 AM
That's a pretty nice review, Joe.  I do wish I could have heard this in Philly.  The more I hear in the Leonard Nimoy Thalia Theater here, the more I'm convinced that it may be fine for film and lectures, but it's not good for music.  The place looks great (completely gutted and renovated a few years back) but the sound is as dry as the Mojave.

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on March 04, 2008, 10:03:46 AM
the passion of this discussion is all good ...but the best music from the 3 names above is mainly found in their late/mature output, showing that they continued to hone and develop and most importantly distill all that into profound pieces that for the most part greatly surpassed many prior achievements...not so sure the same can be said for Elliott Carter..who's best stuff seems to be largely behind him (50s & 60s) and fewer highlights since those days...

I would have to disagree. Certainly, late Carter does represent a distillation of the previous work. He is still honing, as you say, stripping his language to its essentials. We could argue, too, whether his best work is behind him, but as I said in my review of the Horn concerto, he's got nothing left to prove. He doesn't have to make the big statements anymore. He can relax and just do as he pleases, and what he pleases is plenty good enough for me.  

Remember,too, that Haydn, Brahms and Bach wrote their own late work in their fiftes and sixties, about the same age as Carter was when he composed his Third Quartet and A  Symphony of Three Orchestras. None of them lived into his nineties. If they had, maybe their best work would have been behind them, too. Lateness is relative to biography. Beethoven's late music was written by a man in his mid-fifties.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Al Moritz on March 04, 2008, 10:15:30 AM
I have said in an earlier post that I do not regard Carter as an innovator in the same sense as  Ives or Schoenberg, or perhaps Stockhausen. He does seem to have been content to explore the possibilities of his own personal voice within a range of technical possibilities he had discovered by the 1960s. (This is not to say he has not expanded the musical language.) All I can say is 1) It never struck me as a drawback, given the richness of his output, and 2) other great composers in the past have also settled for what Al calls a personal style and worked in it consistently over time. Bach, Haydn and Brahms come to mind. Once these masters found their voice, it did not seem to change much on a technical level. Still, I don't remember anyone ever accusing Bach of repeating himself even when, later in life, he was rearranging earlier material into his keyboard concertos. Haydn, too, wrote twenty-five symphonies in his mature style, and dozens of string quartets, and still kept it fresh.

Yes, but the “problem” with Carter was that his modernist style was so radical and new when it broke through that obviously it had to elicit associations with the “avant-garde” concept very much alive at the time (I am apparently not the only one who perceived it that way). And the avant-garde promise, which involves constant future change, is hard to keep – Stockhausen is one of the very few composers who actually has managed to do that throughout his career; Rihm is relatively good at that too (and when a composer can, it is riveting). That apparently for Carter it was never about avant-garde but simply about acquiring a personal style is an insight that is not readily open to everyone, but an insight essential to the appreciation of his wider output. I was, as it were, “blinded by the light” of the avantgarde promise that seemed to be there in the 50s and 60s, and only once I stopped being blinded by this light I could see the rich palette of shadows, i.e. the variation in his output.

Like you said:

Quote
Back in the early nineties, I spoke with a cellist who had just taken part in a performance of Carter's first four string quartets, and he told me that the pieces dealt consistently with the same concerns, despite having been written decades apart. The critic the next day said the same thing, but less sympathetically. In essence, he said, Carter had not done anything new in thirty years, . . .

***

Quote
I remember that post-concert drink, too. I assume Josie has recovered from the peanut bombardment.  ;)

Sure, peanuts can never be enough ;)

Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Al Moritz on March 04, 2008, 10:19:18 AM
the passion of this discussion is all good ...but the best music from the 3 names above is mainly found in their late/mature output, showing that they continued to hone and develop and most importantly distill all that into profound pieces that for the most part greatly surpassed many prior achievements...not so sure the same can be said for Elliott Carter..who's best stuff seems to be largely behind him (50s & 60s) and fewer highlights since those days...

I felt the same way, until recently.

The Symphonia, the Dialogues and the Boston Concerto can compete with his best work from the 50s and 60s, and I wouldn't say those are the only ones.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Guido on March 04, 2008, 10:34:41 AM
My impression of the Cello Concerto was quite different from yours. I was in awe of it and remain so to this day. I think it's one of his greatest works, and to my ear, it is a direct descendant of the the white hot manner you admire.

Yes, absolutely. Those searing chords of the last section are overwhelming. Love this piece! (and many others that have been mentioned on the thread). Thinking about it, his contribution to cello music, while fairly small in number of actual pieces (4) has been enormous. Hopefully the cello concerto will join the sonata as a repertoire piece.

I still have not heard the Second and Third quartets, but have heard the other three. Must do something about that...
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on March 04, 2008, 10:37:44 AM
Yes, but the “problem” with Carter was that his modernist style was so radical and new when it broke through that obviously it had to elicit associations with the “avant-garde” concept very much alive at the time (I am apparently not the only one who perceived it that way). And the avant-garde promise, which involves constant future change, is hard to keep

Well, avant gardism may require pertpetual revolution, but it might not require perpetual revolution of each individual avant gardist.  in any event, if I understand you correctly, what you're saying is your problem with Carter was one of expectation.

As for being a die hard fan, well, yes, I am, but there are other fans on this site, not at all die hard, who find much to admire in Carter's recent work. (And I vowed never to find safety in numbers! Strange how when you're identified as a fan of or an expert on something, or someone, your opinions become suspect. Shouldn't it be the other way around?)

Listen to Catenaires, and you'll hear the sense of discovery still in operation ...  :)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on March 04, 2008, 10:41:26 AM
his contribution to cello music, while fairly small in number of actual pieces (4) has been enormous. Hopefully the cello concerto will join the sonata as a repertoire piece.

Let's see. By cello pieces I guess you mean the ones that showcase the instrument:  the Cello Sonata, the Cello Concerto and the two Figments. But there's also some wonderful cello writing in other pieces, particularly the string quartets and small works like Enchanted Preludes.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Al Moritz on March 04, 2008, 04:11:14 PM
Hey Al, this year I'm going to try make an effort to explore KS's later output...you seem like a fan, what in your estimation is the best of the best from the later stuff. Things are that are perhaps up there with things like the early klavierstuck, gruppen, zeitmasse, kontakte or mantra? Thanks in advance.

O.k., I'll give a few suggestions of single CDs, since you expressed budget concerns before:

1. Oktophonie (CD 41), an impressive piece of electronic music.

2. Welt-Parlament (CD 51), a densely polyphonic a cappella work that has had spectacular success winning over several skeptical listeners on a precursor of this message board.

3. Two CDs from the Klang cycle, CD 83 (Himmelfahrt, for synthesizer, soprano and tenor) and CD 84 (Freude for two harps).

4. A bit earlier (1974), but essential, is Inori, an orchestral work.

You can read about most of those works on my website,

http://home.earthlink.net/~almoritz/stockhausenreviews.htm

Al
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on March 04, 2008, 05:25:33 PM
Take it to the Stockhausen thread, guys.   $:)

He said "Himmelfahrt!" Tee hee hee!  :P
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Al Moritz on March 05, 2008, 04:43:09 AM
Ok, I transfered question and answer to the Stockhausen thread.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Guido on March 05, 2008, 12:14:05 PM
He said "Himmelfahrt!" Tee hee hee!  :P

haha!

Yes, well as I've said before, I think the cello sonata is one of the finest of the 20th century and may well be my favourite 20th century cello sonata (And I know it would be ridiculous to choose one, or rank them in any order), and the cello concerto is one of the most significant contributions to the genre in my opinion since the Lutoslawski and Dutilleux concerti. Of course I agree that his other cello writing is often superb and I am particularly reffering to the Enchanted Preludes and 2 figments. I suppose what I mean is his contribution to the modern cellists' solo repertoire has been very significant (aside from any other brilliant writing that he may have supplied her with!)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on March 07, 2008, 08:43:48 AM
ANNOUNCEMENT

An EXCLUSIVE conversation between Elliott Carter and Phil Lesh will mark the 20th anniversary of The American Music Center's Counterstream Radio (http://www.counterstreamradio.org/), a station dedicated to showcasing new music by U.S. composers. Listen to this conversation on March 14 at 3 p.m. ET.



Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on March 07, 2008, 08:45:30 AM
We'll be back in just a minute with Elliott Carter, but first, let's break for "Box of Rain" . . . .
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on March 07, 2008, 08:47:44 AM
We'll be back in just a minute with Elliott Carter, but first, let's break for "Box of Rain" . . . .

I'm the pride of Cucamonga ...

I have the transcript of a conversation between Lesh and Carter recorded a few years ago, and it's one of the best interviews Mr. Carter has ever given. I'm wondering whether next week's broadcast is the same one or newer.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on March 17, 2008, 12:34:38 PM
Well, the Flute Concerto appears to be finished. It has been listed in the composer's catalog  (http://www.boosey.com/pages/cr/catalogue/cat_results.asp?composerid=2790&classificationgroupid=7&stype=1) at Boosey's Web site. Thirteen minutes. Sounds rather nice, and the scoring shows it may be performed either by chamber ensemble or full orchestra. Strings are listed at 2.2.2.2 but may be increased proportionately. (Clever on Mr. Carter's part, since it will most likely be done by smaller groups.)  First performances are scheuled for next June in Berlin.

Which raises the question: What Mr. Carter is working on now...?  ;)

The interview with Carter and Phil Lesh is still available on demand at counterstreamradio.org. At forty-four minutes, it's worth your time. Lesh does most of the talking, as you'd expect, since he's the much younger man, but Carter still has some interesting things to say.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Mark G. Simon on March 17, 2008, 03:14:54 PM
The thin scoring would also insure that the flute doesn't get overwhelmed.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on March 17, 2008, 03:34:54 PM
The thin scoring would also insure that the flute doesn't get overwhelmed.

I would bet Mr. Carter took balance into account when he made the larger orchestra an option.

 0:)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on March 18, 2008, 12:46:11 PM
Here is Mr. Carter's program note for his brief new work for string orchestra, Sound Fields:

In thinking about musical contrasts between thick textures and thin ones, I had the idea of composing a piece which depended only on such contrasts, always remaining at the same dynamic and tone color using strings non- vibrato.  Helen Frankenthaler’s fascinating Color Field pictures encouraged me to try this experiment.

- Elliott Carter
   8/1/07


I plan to be at the world premiere at Tanglewood this summer.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Al Moritz on March 28, 2008, 05:07:31 PM
Lately I had been listening to the outstanding jazz of John Coltrane. The rapid, fluid lines that the saxophonist was able to improvise are impressive. He was a quick-thinking musician who could start the build-up of a complex musical argument without any warm-up phase.

Since the Clarinet Concerto of Carter is on the same disc as Symphonia, which I had extensively rediscovered in recent weeks, I listened to it again as well. It had always struck me as a rather weak, one-dimensional work, with nothing that really stood out as memorable in its melodic lines.

But now, with the fresh experience of Coltrane’s jazz in my mind, my perception changed drastically, at once. I discovered a striking resemblance between great jazz improvisation and this concerto.

Also here, in the faster movements, you have those rapid, fluid lines in the solo instrument, only that there is more flexibility in tempo and gesture – if this were improvisation, it would be an almost superhuman effort. Only composition of the solo part allows for such music. Also, the ensemble play is much more interactive than in jazz. Again, I say all this not to diminish the finest achievements in that genre.

In in its similarity to jazz improvisation the Clarinet Concerto is quintessentially American music. It also adds to the idea of what another direction of avantgarde jazz might be – if this were actually jazz. A great piece of music.

***

Recently I have actually started to crave to listen to Carter’s music, something that had never happened before to me, except perhaps with the 3rd string quartet. The weekend prior to last I listened again twice to the Symphonia. I loved it.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Guido on March 28, 2008, 06:05:46 PM
You might try the cello concerto - it is in many ways fairly similar to the clarinet concerto, but I think an even stronger work. Like the clarinet concerto it takes a few listens to get into, or perhaps the right mindset as you described, but the effort pays dividends - its a fantastic piece!
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Al Moritz on March 29, 2008, 12:08:07 AM
You might try the cello concerto - it is in many ways fairly similar to the clarinet concerto, but I think an even stronger work. Like the clarinet concerto it takes a few listens to get into, or perhaps the right mindset as you described, but the effort pays dividends - its a fantastic piece!

I have briefly discussed it on page 25 of the thread. I don't see any similarities with the clarinet concerto, and I certainly don't see an affinity to the jazz idiom.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Al Moritz on March 29, 2008, 04:14:58 AM
I don't see any similarities with the clarinet concerto,

I take that back in view of the common features of Carter's style throughout his works, but still, the comparison with the clarinet concerto is far-fetched, in my view.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Guido on March 29, 2008, 07:18:25 AM
I take that back in view of the common features of Carter's style throughout his works, but still, the comparison with the clarinet concerto is far-fetched, in my view.

Fair enough. Evidently we hear things in different ways.

It was good to read that you are warming up to the work, and I do hope that you will have an epiphany with the cello concerto similar to that which you had with the clarinet concerto. :D It's one of my favourite pieces.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on April 03, 2008, 10:14:05 AM
Al, I've enjoyed very much reading your posts on the Clarinet Concerto. I went went back this afternoon and listened to the piece for the first time since seeing Ismail Lumanovski perform it live in New York on January 28. That performance was so dazzling and satisfying that I felt no need to hear the thing again for a while. Your comparison to Coltrane is apt and telling. I now think of the piece as a "bop" concerto, as opposed to the Copland Clarinet Concerto, which I now define as "swing." I have a greater appreciation for it as a result, and I think I'm hearing it better now, too.

Carter has often spoken about jazz as an influence, though we don't think of many of his pieces as overtly jazzy. As a young man in the 1930s, he frequented jazz clubs where musicians such as Fats Waller played, and he was impressed by the way they would lay down a steady beat with the left hand and play more ornamental passages rubato with the right. Bop, free jazz and Carter himself have taken this idea much farther, of course.

I haven't listened to Coltrane giving away my LPs of his music, but this afternoon I ordered My Favorite Things and Blue Train on CD, so I may have more to say later.
   
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Al Moritz on April 04, 2008, 12:49:38 AM
Al, I've enjoyed very much reading your posts on the Clarinet Concerto. I went went back this afternoon and listened to the piece for the first time since seeing Ismail Lumanovski perform it live in New York on January 28. That performance was so dazzling and satisfying that I felt no need to hear the thing again for a while. Your comparison to Coltrane is apt and telling. I now think of the piece as a "bop" concerto, as opposed to the Copland Clarinet Concerto, which I now define as "swing." I have a greater appreciation for it as a result, and I think I'm hearing it better now, too.   

Joe, I am glad that I seem to have been onto something. I listened to the concerto again, and it's awesome. Interestingly, the two slow movements, Tranquilo and Largo, contrast the faster ones with being something of nocturnal music, particularly the Tranquilo.

My only slight quibble is with the recording. While the sound is great, the balance does not seem quite right. I realize the producers wanted to make sure that the ensemble never overpowers the clarinet lines, but often I think the ensemble sounds too much in the background, which makes it hard to hear those lines. Also, I have the feeling, impressive as the dynamic range is, it is over-engineered. I cannot quite imagine that in reality the differences in loudness between the slow and fast movements actually lie within the dynamic range of the clarinet.

You have heard the work live, and thus have a good reference to judge the recording. What do you think? Is the recording balance closer to the live experience than I believe?

Al
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Guido on April 04, 2008, 12:07:46 PM
I'm not Joe, but I thought I'd chime in.

Seeing the Clarinet concerto live at the Barbican in London with Collins on Clarinet and Knussen conducting was one of the best concert experiences of my life, if not the best. His playing was just unbelievable. Naturally the clarinet is more closely recorded in the recording, but he was as easy to hear in the performance I attended. An interesting feature of the piece was that he moved around the stage during the performance, each movement positioning himself nearer a different section of the orchestra. Understandably he played with music which he carried with him. I don't know if these movement are written in the score, but Carter was there so I assume it was all sanctioned by the composer. I love this piece!
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Al Moritz on April 04, 2008, 12:17:12 PM
Naturally the clarinet is more closely recorded in the recording, but he was as easy to hear in the performance I attended.

Thanks for that info, but wasn't the ensemble relative to the clarinet much louder? That's what I would expect.

Quote
An interesting feature of the piece was that he moved around the stage during the performance, each movement positioning himself nearer a different section of the orchestra.

This is partially audible on the stereo recording as well.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on April 04, 2008, 12:18:22 PM
Seeing the Clarinet concerto live at the Barbican in London with Collins on Clarinet and Knussen conducting was one of the best concert experiences of my life, if not the best.

It is great to read a comment like this about a living composer!  :D

PS, at the performance here Joe mentions, Lumanovski also moved around, weaving through the ensemble, so there must be instructions in the score to do so.  It made it just as interesting to watch, as to hear.
 
--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on April 04, 2008, 12:31:10 PM
so there must be instructions in the score to do so.  It made it just as interesting to watch, as to hear.

Yes, there are, though movment is optional. I second Bruce's comments about the piece being fun to watch. What really grabbed me about Lumanowski's performance was watching his fingers flutter above the holes. he would also bob from the waist in a manner that reminded me of the saxophonist Art Pepper. That's when the jazz feel really came through for me.

Al, I'll have to get back to you on the engineering of Knussen recording. The piece has been recorded three times, and the one I listened to yesterday was one of the others.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on April 04, 2008, 12:56:16 PM
PS, slightly off-topic, but check out this great video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sAygDhakOYc) of Lumanovski performing at the 2007 Herdeljezi Festival (http://www.voiceofroma.com/culture/herdeljezi.shtml) in California.  Quite different music, but he brought similar intensity to the Carter.

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Guido on April 04, 2008, 04:35:09 PM
Al, I think we're talking about the same recording - the one coupled with the Sinfonia. I was sitting right in the front row (watching the sweat bead off Knussen!), so I could hear the soloist very well all the time, though I didn't make a direct comparison with the recording immediately afterwards. As I said I'm sure that the soloist has been miked forward here (artificially louder), but it doesn't strike me as changing much of the effect of the piece - he was pretty prominent in the textures throughout. As I say though, it might have been different further back in the hall. We'll let the expert answer this one!
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: not edward on April 04, 2008, 05:05:37 PM
I can just say that when I saw Alain Damiens play the concerto with the EIC and David Robertson in Edinburgh in the late '90s he was definitely a little "above" the ensemble for the most part. He also did the walking from position to position, which worked well for me in concert (though I didn't entirely get the hang of the piece on first hearing, and it's never been amongst my real Carter favourites).

It was a pretty memorable night anyway--the second half of the concert was the world premiere of Boulez's sur Incises....
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on April 05, 2008, 05:32:54 PM
Inspired by Al's comments, I went back tonight and listened to all three of my recordings of the Clairnet Concerto, comparing performances and engineering, which, frankly, I'm not really very good at. Al, I see what you mean about the miking on the Collins-Knussen recording. The effect seems most pronounced at the beginning and tapers away as the piece progresses. Or maybe I just got used to the effect. The clarinet in the Damiens-Boulez recording has the most space and reverb around it and seems the most embedded in the ensemble--- to a fault, perhaps. At times, especially near the beginning, everyone seems far away. The Aldrich-Villaincourt on Atma falls somewhere between the two, and of the three soloists, Simon Aldrich has the mellowest tone. He is not as piercing in the forte sections as the other two. Still, all there are good performances, though I think it's odd that the groups performing some of the best music written by an American in the past ten years are English, French, and Canadian. Ah, well.

In any event, this discussion and Lumanovski's performance in January have given me a greater enthusiasm for the piece. 
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Catison on April 05, 2008, 06:43:32 PM
Over the past couple days I have the Pacifica Quartet CD in my car.  All I can say is, "wow".  I have never heard so much clarity in the quartets before.  They really emphasize the quartet's American character, bringing out the rhythmic irregularities common to his Copland period.  I feel like I really understand this music now.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on April 06, 2008, 07:42:26 AM
It is indeed a fine recording. I'm eager to hear their rendition of the Second on the next disk.

Below is an interview with Ursula Oppens that appears on voiceofsandiego.org. She's one of my heroes, and she takes a swipe at Bernard Holland, which is always gratifying.

:) :) :)

'Queen' of Modern Piano Performance
By Cathy Robbins

Friday, April 4, 2008 | "In the eighteenth century the piano sang. In the nineteenth it danced. The twentieth century liked to use the piano as an assault weapon." Critic Bernard Holland wasn't thinking about Jerry Lee Lewis when he wrote this in a review of new piano music in The New York Times a couple of weeks ago.

Ursula Oppens' answer to Holland was uncompromising. "That's such a silly generalization," she said in a phone interview from her home in New York.

Oppens has been called the "queen" of modern piano performance, relentlessly integrating new music into concert programming. She can play a mean Beethoven concerto and commission dozens of works from living composers.

On Sunday evening, Oppens perform contemporary music for the closing concert of the Athenaeum's chamber music series. Most of the pieces were written for her, and one of them will have its West Coast premiere here.

Although the works on the program are as diverse as the century we live in, the composers share some commonalities. "All of them are primarily pianists. One thread in the program is that they are all are interested in piano virtuosity," Oppens said.

The pieces on the program use the instrument in a conventional way. None of the works require modern techniques like plucking the strings or hitting the keyboard with a fist or a forearm (the piano as assault weapon?).

All the composers are living Americans; four of the five are exactly 70, while Elliott Carter will turn 100 later this year. Oppens said she designed the program in part because so many of America's important composers were born in the same year, 1938.

Oppens ventured one theory for this coincidence. The composers came of age at a time when so many revolutionary artists like Stravinsky and Hindemith arrived from Europe, and the Americans grew up in an environment of exciting musical possibilities.

Carter, for instance, counted Charles Ives as a mentor and was listening to or hanging out with composers such as Igor Stravinsky, Francois Poulenc, Arnold Schoenberg, Alban Berg, Duke Ellington, Aaron Copland, and Samuel Barber.

As Alex Ross points out in his new book on twentieth century music, "The Rest is Noise," this was also a time when pop and art music were closer than ever before, closer than they have been since.

Churning musical styles and attitudes help explain the broad range of modern compositions. Charles Wuorinen is known for his highly complex, structured and dense works. "Blue Bamboula," which Oppens will play, is all play, however.

When Oppens commissioned "Blue Bamboula" from Wuorinen she asked him to sustain the spirit of his other two "Bamboula" works -- "Bamboula Squared," for computer-generated tape and orchestra; and "Bamboula Beach," with Cuban themes.

"Blue Bamboula," has a jaunty rhythm and energy that reflects its lineage, namely the Afro-Caribbean dance and the drum of that name. Louis Moreau Gottschalk, one of America's earliest composers, also wrote a piece titled "Bamboula." A Creole living before the Civil War, Gottschalk was inspired by slave dances he watched on the streets of New Orleans.

The two pieces by Joan Tower, each about five minutes long, are based on poems by John Ashberry. They are deceptively light-hearted. With "Holding A Daisy," it's easy to imagine a game of "He love me, he loves me not" as the petals drift away. The music intensifies as emotional uncertainty increases and then dissipates as the lover is left with a question. "Or Like a ... an Engine" races with hard-driving energy through scales to a Chopin etude.

William Bolcom is a prolific writer of everything from pop and cabaret songs to opera. The 2004 recording of his "Songs of Innocence and Experience," in which Bolcom set William Blake's 46 poems to music, picked up four Grammys.

For Oppens, he has written "Ballad," the premiere for the concert. Dark and somewhat atonal, it is atypical of Bolcom's lighter short works. When Oppens asked Bolcom about its mood, the composer answered that the war in Iraq had been affecting him.

In "Night Fantasies," Elliott Carter takes the listener into that slippery place between wakefulness and sleep, when you are just drifting away or tossing and turning. The 24-minute piece starts quietly, goes through a period of turbulence, then ends quietly.

Oppens said that Robert Schumann's Romantic writing influenced the piece's shifting moods. "It's the most complicated piano work, most difficult work. It's a great piece. It goes through many worlds,"she said.

The program ends with a work that will touch working parents. Oppens said that "Mayn Yingele" ("My Little Boy") was a present for her from Frederic Rzewski who took inspiration for it from a nineteenth-century poem.

In the poem, an immigrant comes home from the sweatshop where he works to find his son asleep. Standing over the boy, the father grieves because his long hours keep him from his son. The father kisses the boy who wakes up just long enough to see him then fall asleep again. "Depressed and embittered, I think to myself:/One day, when you awake, my child, you will not find me/Anymore."

In just 13 minutes, Rzewski takes the listener through the poem's collected feelings: love, tenderness, sadness, loneliness, exhaustion, and finally, anger. In its theme and its music, this is the most audience-friendly piece on the program, Oppens said.

Although UCSD is internationally recognized for its avant garde music, San Diego's music patrons have been tepid in their response. Oppens, however, has chosen this program carefully to offer a rich plate of modern goodies.

Rzewski made room in "Mayn Yingele" for an extended improvisational cadenza. We won't know what that sound like until we set foot in the Athenaeum on Sunday.

But then, that's what Oppens said we should expect in any concert of contemporary music. "There's not a single style of new music. If you go to a concert, you have no idea of what it's going to sound like, and that's very exciting."
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Al Moritz on April 13, 2008, 03:43:09 PM
Thanks, Joe and Guido, for your comments on the recordings of the Clarinet Concerto.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Catison on April 14, 2008, 04:29:31 AM
Perhaps this has been posted before, but this podcast contains an awesome interview with Carter in which he describes his development as a composer and an explanation about the quartets.  It also previews the latest Naxos release.

[mp3=200,20,0,center]http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/NaxosClassicalMusicSpotlight/~5/225004776/carter_interview.mp3[/mp3]
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: greg on April 14, 2008, 12:33:03 PM
Perhaps this has been posted before, but this podcast contains an awesome interview with Carter in which he describes his development as a composer and an explanation about the quartets.  It also previews the latest Naxos release.

[mp3=200,20,0,center]http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/NaxosClassicalMusicSpotlight/~5/225004776/carter_interview.mp3[/mp3]
Nice....... how'd you find it?
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Catison on April 14, 2008, 06:04:24 PM
Nice....... how'd you find it?

It is part of a series of Naxos podcasts (http://www.naxos.com/podcasts/podcastslist.asp) they put out each week that features a new recording.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on April 21, 2008, 06:41:58 AM
It has yet to be mentioned here that Levine and the Met orchestra are doing the Variations again at Carnegie, on Thursday, May 22 at 8pm.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on April 21, 2008, 06:44:12 AM
COOL! I didn't know about it, and I'd love to hear the variations live again.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: greg on April 21, 2008, 11:28:35 AM
It is part of a series of Naxos podcasts (http://www.naxos.com/podcasts/podcastslist.asp) they put out each week that features a new recording.
Wow, what a find! Lots of good stuff here, just turned on the podcast for the Wooden Prince and the opening itself makes me wanna listen......
also, some odd stuff like Gloria Coate's 15th symphony, Georgian music... lol looks interesting though
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on April 28, 2008, 11:50:30 AM
Click here (http://processedsound.wordpress.com/2008/04/28/long-lost-bsu-festival-of-new-music-posts-1/) to watch and listen to a performance of Mr. Carter's Shard played on electric guitar.

It is also the second time I can recall seeing a short work of Mr. Carter's perfromed from memory.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on April 30, 2008, 06:35:10 AM
This concert on Tuesday:

Juilliard String Quartet
Charles Neidich, clarinet

Carter: Clarinet Quintet (2007, world premiere)
Carter: Riconoscenza per Goffredo Petrassi for solo violin (1984)
Carter: Figment for solo cello (1994)
Carter: Gra for solo clarinet (1993)
Carter: Rhapsodic Musings for solo violin (2001)
Carter: Figment IV for solo viola (2007)
Carter: Clarinet Quintet (2007) - repeat performance

--Bruce

Wow, was this a great evening!  Joe will probably weigh in, too, but this was no doubt one of the best Carter tributes of the year.  The new Clarinet Quintet is delightful, and at roughly 14 minutes long, it was easy to repeat it.  Just before the second performance, Carter discussed the three movements of the piece, with demos from the musicians.  Frankly, I hope I am half this lucid at age 99.  ;)

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: not edward on April 30, 2008, 07:18:56 AM
Wow, was this a great evening!  Joe will probably weigh in, too, but this was no doubt one of the best Carter tributes of the year.  The new Clarinet Quintet is delightful, and at roughly 14 minutes long, it was easy to repeat it.  Just before the second performance, Carter discussed the three movements of the piece, with demos from the musicians.  Frankly, I hope I am half this lucid at age 99.  ;)

--Bruce
I'm envious.

Having the clarinet quintet in three movements is an interesting break from his recent chamber work: are the three movements played without a break or are they fully separate?
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on April 30, 2008, 07:24:26 AM
I'm envious.

Having the clarinet quintet in three movements is an interesting break from his recent chamber work: are the three movements played without a break or are they fully separate?

The three movements are basically played without a break, but with very slight pauses in between the sections.  I especially liked the last one, a scherzo, which is very fast and fun. 

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: greg on April 30, 2008, 07:31:54 AM
Click here (http://processedsound.wordpress.com/2008/04/28/long-lost-bsu-festival-of-new-music-posts-1/) to watch and listen to a performance of Mr. Carter's Shard played on electric guitar.

It is also the second time I can recall seeing a short work of Mr. Carter's perfromed from memory.
I saw that a couple days ago.
Obviously very impressive..... i could just imagine how long that'd take to memorize.

Oh, and he has a REALLY nice guitar, of course!  8)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on April 30, 2008, 08:05:15 AM
Well, three movements were listed in the program, but Carter spoke as if there were four, and the piece certainly had a four-movement feel. The initial scherzando is followed by an adagio, which Carter spoke of as a "string quartet movement," but which was not listed. It begins, or, rather, the previous section ends, with all strings playing very high, anchored by the clarinet's lowest tone. It contains recits for all the string instruments. The cello recit was especially striking, but then, I've always loved the way Carter writes for cello. It's hard for me to assess Carter premieres anymore. It's like to pick a favorite among Haydn's late quartets. In each case, the quality is so consistent, the technique so masterful, the creativity so evident, that it makes no sense to offer a detailed critique or analysis. Carter is Carter. That's all there is to say.

That said, however, I should add that I liked the second performance of the Quintet more than the first. Maybe the musicians were more relaxed, maybe the discussion helped me follow it more easily, or maybe, like all Carter, it simply benefited from repeated listening. In any case, the second reading seemed sharper and clearer to me. may we hear the piece again soon, and may there be a recording, soon.

We should also mention the strings' slap pizzicatos, the so-called "Bartok pizzicatos," that litter the piece. Carter said they are they only notes in the work that don't relate to anything else. The just happen. Mr Carter said he put them in to add surprise to the mixture. He compared them to paint spots on an abstract painting.

The composer was indeed in good form during the intermission. There was no real "discussion," as promised in the program. Mr. Carter himself gave a movement-by-movement account of the work, and the musicians, who never had a chance to speak, played examples. The voice is a little slurred these days, but the mind is as sharp as ever. Mr. Carter was very much in control --- it surprised me how firmly he gave directions --- though he was also relaxed and funny. In the demonstration of the adagio, he told the musicians to keep playing "until Charlie runs out of breath." (I don't expect to be that lucid at his age. I expect to be fish food.)

Ronald Copes' beautiful tone in the Rhapsodic Musings and Samuel Rhodes' performance of the Figment IV for viola, which I had not heard before, also stand out in my mind. Mr. Carter also singled out Copes during the intermission, even though, as he admitted, he could not remember the violinist's name. Copes is the latest addition to the quartet, and I guess it takes Mr. Carter longer these days to absorb new information.

The Figment was a lovely exploration of the viola's warmth. The instrument is neither  as flashy as the violin nor as rich-toned as the cello, and Carter and Rhodes managed to bring out its strengths of its character.

In all, as Bruce said, a great evening. A joyous evening.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Mark G. Simon on April 30, 2008, 09:28:06 AM
Well, three movements were listed in the program, but Carter spoke as if there were four, and the piece certainly had a four-movement feel.

Also true of the first string quartet. I hope the clarinet quintet is just as compelling.



Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on April 30, 2008, 12:32:57 PM
Also true of the first string quartet. I hope the clarinet quintet is just as compelling.

Yes, but lighter, more playful.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: bwv 1080 on April 30, 2008, 01:19:23 PM
Yes, but lighter, more playful.

does that mean more or less gibberish?

Would also recommend the Naxos podcast with an interview with Sibbi Bernhardsson from thePacifica quartet where he discusses playing the quartets

http://www.naxos.com/podcasts/podcastslist.asp#0

He states the importance of hating beauty and not caring about the audience when performing this music.  Also how the quartet likes to get together after they have performed all five quartets,  have a few beers and mock the foolish critics and intellectuals who think they can understood the gibberish they just played.  Sibbi admits they have not actually bothered to learn the quartets, rather they just listened to the Arditti recording a few times and then just made the music up as they went along.  He mentions an amusing anecdote about how one day the cellist Brandon Vamos was too drunk to take out on stage so they grabbed a janitor and gave him a cello and the janitor faked his way through the third quartet without anyone being the wiser.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on April 30, 2008, 05:35:33 PM
I try to avoid ad hominem arguments, but God, you're a dick.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: bwv 1080 on April 30, 2008, 05:45:39 PM
I try to avoid ad hominem arguments, but God, you're a dick.

fuck you if you cannot take a joke
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: greg on April 30, 2008, 06:06:04 PM
Ha.
Ha.


i laughed......

......

......

......

wait, was it too late?  :-[
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on April 30, 2008, 06:16:25 PM
fuck you if you cannot take a joke

What joke? Come up with a joke, and I'll take it.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Mark G. Simon on May 01, 2008, 04:08:39 AM
BWV's post was so clearly a joke he felt he didn't have to underline the point.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Catison on May 01, 2008, 04:51:05 AM
BWV's post was so clearly a joke he felt he didn't have to underline the point.

And now he's gone?  Sad.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: MN Dave on May 01, 2008, 04:52:09 AM
That's too bad. Another one gone.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on May 01, 2008, 05:14:29 AM
How frail a medium is this.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: greg on May 01, 2008, 06:13:24 AM
a recent sighting in my backyard:

Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: bwv 1080 on May 01, 2008, 07:33:01 AM
OK, my skin is not that thin.

Just shocking to be publicly insulted like that by someone I had heretofore respected


I thought the post was funny
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: MN Dave on May 01, 2008, 07:35:14 AM
OK, my skin is not that thin.

Just shocking to be publicly insulted like that by someone I had heretofore respected


I thought the post was funny

I for one am glad you changed your mind.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on May 01, 2008, 07:36:02 AM
WB, Steve!  Just one of those odd misunderstandings, I am sure.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on May 01, 2008, 07:51:27 AM
Oh, so it was a joke. I'm sorry. I definitely misunderstood . I hereby apologize publicly to Steve and ask if he'll forgive me. Seriously. And I'm glad he's back. 
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: MN Dave on May 01, 2008, 07:53:50 AM
Oh, so it was a joke. Sorry. My bad. I always thought jokes were supposed to be funny.  :-\

You know any good jokes, Joe?
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on May 01, 2008, 07:57:49 AM
You know any good jokes, Joe?

So, this violist walks into his oral examinations at the conservatory. For his first question, a prof asks, "Can you tell me the subdominant of F?" And the violist says, "I thought F was the subdominant."

Again, my apologies to Steve. It appears he intended his joke to be more good-natured than I believed. :-[
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on May 01, 2008, 07:58:42 AM
Elliott Carter, Pierre Boulez, John Cage & Elvis Costello were in a bar . . . .
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on May 01, 2008, 08:07:22 AM
Elliott Carter, Pierre Boulez, John Cage & Elvis Costello were in a bar . . . .

And Boulez says, "Schoenberg is dead."
Carter replies, "I agree with Whitehead that existence of any kind is a kind of teleological process, in which various kinds of concrescences attain and then lose integrated patterns of feeling."
To which Cage adds, " ... "
And Costello says, "Who cares? I'm sleeping with Diana Krall."
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on May 01, 2008, 08:08:23 AM
Cage adds, "I'm the mozzarella sticks, thank you."
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on May 01, 2008, 08:32:09 AM
Milton Babbitt, standing nearby, says, "I wasn't listening, but who cares if I do?"
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on May 01, 2008, 08:41:44 AM
René Leibowitz inverted a pitcher of Bud Lite, with mathematically predictable results.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Kullervo on May 01, 2008, 09:49:32 AM
Theodore W. Adorno proclaimed, "No beers after Auchwitz!"
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: springrite on May 01, 2008, 09:54:01 AM
John Adams says:

"Uh-huh, Uh-huh, Uh-huh, Uh-huh, Uh-huh, Uh-huh, Uh-huh, Uh-huh, Uh-huh;
Uh-ha! Uh-ha! Uh-ha! Uh-ha! Uh-ha! Uh-ha! Uh-ha! Uh-ha! Uh-ha! Uh-ha! "
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: greg on May 01, 2008, 10:32:21 AM
Rod Corkin says:

"B"



(takes a bow)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on May 02, 2008, 08:39:58 AM
At the Look & Listen Festival tonight, I'm hearing more Carter, Retracing (2002) for solo bassoon, apparently excerpted from the Asko Concerto.  Have heard the Concerto but not sure I've come across the bassoon piece. 

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on May 02, 2008, 09:11:53 AM
At the Look & Listen Festival tonight, I'm hearing more Carter, Retracing (2002) for solo bassoon, apparently excerpted from the Asko Concerto.  Have heard the Concerto but not sure I've come across the bassoon piece. 

--Bruce

I haven't heard it the bassoon piece, either, but as with all other Carter, I shall eventually.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: bwv 1080 on May 02, 2008, 09:38:13 AM
Shard was the first (and only) other piece I have heard about that was an lift out of a single instrumental part from a larger piece.  Is Carter the only composer to have done this?  Can we expect a solo piano piece extracted from the Concerto for Orchestra (that would be cool)?
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: not edward on May 02, 2008, 09:44:14 AM
Shard was the first (and only) other piece I have heard about that was an lift out of a single instrumental part from a larger piece.  Is Carter the only composer to have done this?  Can we expect a solo piano piece extracted from the Concerto for Orchestra (that would be cool)?
I thought Shard was the original piece and Luimen incorporated it into one of its four sections?

There is a prominent bassoon solo in the Asko Concerto, so I guess that's what Carter took for Retracing (I wonder which came first).
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on May 02, 2008, 09:46:11 AM
Shard was the first (and only) other piece I have heard about that was an lift out of a single instrumental part from a larger piece.  Is Carter the only composer to have done this?  Can we expect a solo piano piece extracted from the Concerto for Orchestra (that would be cool)?

Oh. I think he's past lifting pieces from his earlier work. I also think Shard was composed first, and incorporated into the Luimen, rather than the other way around, but I'd have to double check that.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: springrite on May 02, 2008, 09:51:05 AM
I also think Shard was composed first, and incorporated into the Luimen, rather than the other way around, but I'd have to double check that.

That's how I would have thought as well.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on May 02, 2008, 09:53:00 AM
Interesting, because the title Shard seems to suggest broken remains from a prior whole . . . .
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on May 02, 2008, 09:54:55 AM
On the Boosey site, the date for both Shard and Luimen is given as 1997, so it's hard to tell. Probably conceived together. The date for ASKO is 1999-2000, and Retracings is 2002, so in this case, the bigger work definitley preceeded the smaller, but I wouldn't be surprised if Carter had the solo bassoon piece in mind the whole time.

To answer BWV's question: I can't think of any other composer who has extracted a solo piece whole from a larger work, though, of course, rearrangements of existing material abound. Might make a good parlor game.  ???
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: not edward on May 02, 2008, 10:06:44 AM
Anyone for a Luimenparty?
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: bwv 1080 on May 02, 2008, 10:25:16 AM
Shard was written first - it was commissioned by David Starobin for his Newdance CD (which is a great disc of guitar music btw)

http://www.arkivmusic.com/classical/album.jsp?album_id=29459 (http://www.arkivmusic.com/classical/album.jsp?album_id=29459)

Although I prefer it within Lumien

Carter's music is unique in that extracting single parts would in most cases result in coherent solo pieces (like the piano part in the 1st mvmt of Concerto for Orchestra)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: bwv 1080 on May 13, 2008, 01:26:35 PM
Has anyone heard a release date for the rest of the Pacifica String Quartets on Naxos?
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on May 13, 2008, 01:38:32 PM
Joe, white courtesy telephone, please!
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on May 13, 2008, 02:20:54 PM
Joe, white courtesy telephone, please!

Must I do everything on this thread?  ::)

I believe the second disk is due out in July, though at the moment,  I can't remember where I read that or how to find the information again. So you've only got another couple of months to wait. Hard to believe we're halfway through May.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on May 16, 2008, 04:04:50 AM
One of the pieces I am playing in June is by Steve Hicken; here is his review of the Pacifica Quartet's first Carter disc (http://www.sequenza21.com/cdreviews/?p=296).
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on May 16, 2008, 04:05:14 AM
[ Can't have Joe doing everything . . . . ]
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on May 17, 2008, 02:21:54 PM
From the Boston Globe. The new violin-cello duet sounds exciting, but then everything Carter does these days sounds exciting.--JB

A Carterpalooza in the woods

Tanglewood Festival celebrates a distinguished composer's centenary
As he nears his 100th birthday, composer Elliott Carter finds that he's busier than ever and writing music with blinding speed.


By Jeremy Eichler
Globe Staff / May 18, 2008

"I'm doing fine!" shouts the voice on the other end of the line. The subtext comes through almost as loudly: Why does everyone keep asking me the same damn question!

It's Elliott Carter on the phone from New York, and he's being interrupted again. The 99-year-old distinguished American composer has agreed to a brief interview, but in truth, he really just wants to work. He has entered an improbably, sublimely late phase of his career, and he has been writing music with blinding speed. Work after work flies off his desk. You can't turn a corner in the classical music world without bumping into another Carter world premiere. And now, smack in the middle of it all, he has to deal with a worldwide centenary celebration. Who knew that turning 100 could be such a drag on one's schedule?

Especially with the high style in which the Tanglewood Music Center will be marking the occasion this summer. As the largest event on the centenary map, TMC's entire Festival of Contemporary Music is being devoted to Carter. James Levine is directing, and there will be no fewer than 10 all-Carter programs shoehorned into five days (July 20-24), including three orchestral concerts, two world premieres, and two American premieres. Then there's a movie screening of his opera, a panel discussion, a symposium, and a public interview. It's a Carterpalooza the likes of which the composer has never enjoyed before.

"I think it's extraordinary," he says. "I'm delighted and appalled, and mainly delighted."

Did he just say appalled? "I'm appalled mainly because at this age I would like to go to all of the concerts, but I'm not sure I will be able to. I get tired very quickly."

There's also a deeper sense in which Carter feels he is racing against the clock. "I have a lot of pieces in the back of my head," he says, "so I'm very preoccupied with composing in my last years of my life." He describes his routine of lying in bed every morning and greeting a flood of musical ideas. He then spends the day working them out with pencil and paper, pausing only for lunch, a walk, and perhaps tea with a visitor.

But as he reviews the upcoming festival programs, full of pieces culled from the decades, Carter's enthusiasm seems to build. Hearing his older music, he says, is like looking at a photograph of his younger self. He also loves the fact that many of the performers will be students possibly encountering his music for the first time. Several stalwart Carterphiles will also be performing, including pianists Charles Rosen and Ursula Oppens, cellist Fred Sherry, and composer-conductor Oliver Knussen, who is serving as festival adviser. On July 24, to close the event, Levine will lead the Boston Symphony Orchestra in a program that includes not only Carter's astonishing 45-minute "Symphonia" but the "Boston Concerto," "Three Illusions," and the Horn Concerto.

Speaking of the BSO, Carter can't resist sharing some brief memories. The composer studied at Harvard as an undergraduate in the late 1920s - his letter of recommendation came from Charles Ives, naturally - and he says he attended every single BSO concert in Symphony Hall, often sitting in the rush seats in the upper balconies. As a teenager, he had fallen in love with music "backwards," he explains, starting not with Bach, Mozart, or Beethoven but with an early New York performance of Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring," which convinced him to be a composer. It was only through the later BSO concerts, he says, that he learned "the whole repertory of older music." He also sang in the Harvard Glee Club when it performed frequently with the BSO under Koussevitzky, an experience he describes as deeply influential. "I feel I owe the Boston Symphony a lot," he says, adding with seriousness, "and I have done what I could to repay them."

With that, Carter is on his way. A new duet for violin and cello is calling. "It's something I've never done before - I've never even thought about it," he says, the excitement palpable in his voice. "There's a great work by Ravel of this sort, but I let Ravel be Ravel, and Carter be different."

July 20-24, Tanglewood, 617-266-1200, tanglewood.org

Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on May 18, 2008, 09:32:26 AM
Hey! I'm mentioned in the Syndey Morning Herald.--JB  ;D
 

Not a late starter but a delightfully late finisher
Reviewed by Peter McCallum
May 19, 2008

Australia Ensemble, University of NSW, May 17

To my knowledge, Elliott Carter is the first Western composer of note to remain active in his 100th year. As the old joke goes, most musicians his age have switched to decomposing.

Although he wrote his first opera at 90, he wasn't a late starter, just a delightfully late finisher. He has been writing music since the 1920s and it was only with his Wind Quintet of 1950 that the distinctive intransigent modernist style that has been baffling, repelling and attracting listeners for its complex and cogent austerity emerged.

Last year an April Fools' Day email announced he was renouncing modernism in favour of folk-song settings, but judging by the way he is going, Carter will outlive the wit who wrote it.

The Australia Ensemble is, I think, the first Sydney group to honour his centenary, playing two homages that Carter wrote to now-dead contemporaries, the Italian author Italo Calvino, and the British pianist, critic and music administrator William Glock, who was born in the same year, but who died at 92.

The Calvino tribute was shaped by subtle curved gestures, as though responding to some self-doubting, over-refined aesthetic sensitivity and inner dialogue.

Carter seemed to have found Glock a colder fish, and for him the piece comprised spiky outer sections framing a glutinously dense slower middle section leading to a flourish at the close.

In contrast, the English composer Peter Warlock died about the age of 36. Tenor Henry Choo brought a radiant clarity of sound to the mournful lines of his song cycle, The Curlew.

The string players finished the first half with a fine performance of Janacek's Kreutzer Sonata.

After interval Ravel's Piano Trio was played with mature and intimate flexibility, a quality that was particularly vivid in the first movement.

Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Wendell_E on May 18, 2008, 11:31:16 AM
Hey! I'm mentioned in the Syndey Morning Herald.--JB  ;D
 

Last year an April Fools' Day email announced he was renouncing modernism in favour of folk-song settings, but judging by the way he is going, Carter will outlive the wit who wrote it.



 ;D  Yeah, I saw that and was just going to post it, in case you hadn't seen it. 
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Guido on May 18, 2008, 11:37:46 AM
From the Boston Globe. The new violin-cello duet sounds exciting, but then everything Carter does these days sounds exciting.--JB

It sure does. I've often wondered what a second cello sonata would sound like at the end result of what he started 60 years ago.

On really old composers I'm sure that Ornstein composed after the age of 100, but there surely can't be many!
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on June 16, 2008, 07:09:44 AM
I watched my DVD of Frank Scheffer's A Labyrinth of Time yesterday and want to share my favorite quotation from EC in the film. It appears near the end, while he's summing up:

I feel about the future that in the end, what we are living through at the present time --- this kind of mixture and confusion --- will wear itself out, and that people will become more sensitive and aware than they are now. They will have to be, because as society becomes more complex, full of more people and more different kinds of things happening, people will have to become much cleverer and much sharper.

Then they will like my music.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on June 16, 2008, 08:03:58 AM
Hey Joe, must admit that I was disappointed when he said that; and how he said it, first because there is no way to predict the future, and more importantly because in a way it implies that he writes his music for the sake of being merely clever, and you have to be a sharp person to comprehend it. It struck me as being quite condescending & pompous.

James, that's not the way I took it. In the film, Mr. Carter gives an impish grin after his comment, as if to admit everything you just said. Any pompousness the statement might have had was undercut by a gentle but unmistakable irony. The tone of voice and the grin let us know he wasn't taking himself too seriously, and we were not supposed to, either. I found it endearing, though I don't care for that word.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on June 16, 2008, 08:54:22 AM
Well it’s not the first time he’s said something stupid, irregardless of intent; it's the sort-of talk composers should really get away from & avoid if they're ever going to relate to people. In essence it really does come off like “I write music that’s very clever and only in a future-world of ever increasing complexity where people ‘perhaps’ will become more clever and sharper will it be truly understood, cuz I’m a really sophisticated guy’ (add condescending grin here)

James, I'm not getting into this again.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on June 16, 2008, 10:58:53 AM
Well it’s not the first time he’s said something stupid . . . .

Something, happily, of which you are never guilty yourself.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: greg on June 16, 2008, 11:15:40 AM
Something, happily, of which you are never guilty yourself.
lol
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on June 16, 2008, 11:51:54 AM
Oh, the heck with it.

The violinist Felix Radicati, on Beethoven's late quartets : "Beethoven, as the world says, and as I believe, is music-mad;—for these are not music. He submitted them to me in manuscript, and, at his request, I fingered them for him. I said to him, that he surely did not consider these works to be music?—to which he replied, “Oh, they are not for you, but for a later age.”

Composers really should stop talking like this. "For a later age" --- fah! He thinks he's just so cool and sophisticated and so much smarter than us. He'll never connect to people with an attitude like that.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: greg on June 16, 2008, 12:23:50 PM
Composers really should stop talking like this. "For a later age" --- fah! He thinks he's just so cool and sophisticated and so much smarter than us. He'll never connect to people with an attitude like that.
should be that way....... except society is devolving instead......
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on June 16, 2008, 12:46:54 PM
should be that way....... except society is devolving instead......

You have to stop talking like that if you're ever going to connect with people.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on June 16, 2008, 01:27:25 PM
This is from private talk, not a movie where the composer is making pretentious statements for all to see. Carter's music isn't ahead of the times; it's quite old news now and a more populated & cluttered world won't necessarily lead to increased cleverness, sharpness, awareness or popularity, if anything the opposite.


Not to contradict God, but two points: The context of Beethoven's comment is irrelevant. He made it, it reflected how he felt, and I'm sure he didn't care whether it got around. And the second point: Carter was making a goddam joke. Lighten up.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: greg on June 16, 2008, 02:08:36 PM
You have to stop talking like that if you're ever going to connect with people.
lol, yeah, i know.......

 :'(
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on June 16, 2008, 02:19:00 PM
hahaha


Well, it's a start.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on June 16, 2008, 03:18:25 PM
start for what Joe?

Lightening up. I'm through with this topic.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on June 17, 2008, 02:52:47 AM
Beethoven was going to make a movie with all his most portentous announcements preserved on film for all time, but it was slated for filming in July 1827 and he unfortunately died about three months before.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on June 17, 2008, 08:23:09 AM
>:(
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on June 17, 2008, 08:24:42 AM
James, your posts are reflecting less and less flatteringly upon yourself.

Just saying.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on July 07, 2008, 08:03:00 AM
A few photos of Helen and Elliott may be seen here. (http://musicaelettronicaviva.blogspot.com/2008/04/helen-and-elliot-carter-photos.html) It's worth the visit just for the sight of Carter in the canoe with his shirt off. Ewwwww...
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: greg on July 08, 2008, 07:11:49 PM
(http://bp1.blogger.com/_nOp6U1ghAgI/SA44WKXNhoI/AAAAAAAAAK8/GtfEjtfkJNo/s1600/ElliotCarterWacabuc.jpg)
ah, so THAT's why contemporary composers are neglected......



and it all stems back from:
(http://www.schoenberg.at/1_as/album/img/bb_23_gr.gif)

 ;)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on July 09, 2008, 06:12:12 AM
It makes you wonder why men gave up wearing bathing tops.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on July 09, 2008, 06:46:59 AM
It makes you wonder why men gave up wearing bathing tops.

Be grateful I don't upload a photo from one of Craft's books of Stravinsky taking the sun in the nude.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: greg on July 09, 2008, 06:53:05 AM
Be grateful I don't upload a photo from one of Craft's books of Stravinsky taking the sun in the nude.
Oh, I'm grateful.......


very grateful.......


please spare us, please  :-[
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on July 09, 2008, 07:09:36 AM
please spare us, please  :-[

Or at least have the decency to put it on the stravinsky thread ...
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on July 09, 2008, 07:39:43 AM
Would you happier if I Photoshopped a fig leaf on the right place?
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: mn dave on July 09, 2008, 07:42:50 AM
Would you happier if I Photoshopped a fig leaf on the right place?

Just say NO to naked composers.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: greg on July 09, 2008, 08:38:32 AM
Just say NO to naked composers.
there's no need to even make a campaign out of that....
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: mn dave on July 22, 2008, 09:36:40 AM
Just noticed while on Amazon that EMI re-released Knussen's classic account of Carter's greatest work for orchestra...this disc is a must for any Carter fan, or the more adventurous/curious listener...a clear, authoritative & committed performance.

LINK >> Elliott Carter: Concerto for Orchestra (http://www.amazon.com/Elliott-Carter-Concerto-Orchestra-Occasions/dp/B0016MJ3M2/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1216750830&sr=8-1)

Just wish-listed it.

What have I done?!  :o

 ;D
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on July 22, 2008, 10:09:27 AM
Just wish-listed it.

What have I done?!  :o

 ;D

Welcome to...The Dark Side.  >:D   ;D

Seriously, I guess I missed that CD in its original incarnation.  Will definitely get that one as well. 

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on July 22, 2008, 10:11:02 AM
Welcome to...The Dark Side.  >:D   ;D

Seriously, I guess I missed that CD in its original incarnation.  Will definitely get that one as well. 

--Bruce

A must-have. Opinions vary as to whether this is the most dynamic performance of the CfO possible, with some of my friends preferring the Bernstein or Gielen in that regard. But no question that it is the most accurate and securely played version of this very great work.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on July 22, 2008, 10:15:06 AM
Super!  Appreciate the additional affirmation.  With all the money I didn't spend traveling up to Tanglewood ( :'(), I may go see if I can find a copy later today.

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on July 22, 2008, 10:57:07 AM
I intend to read this thread the coming days. The first Carter pieces I'll be listening to are several 'Firsts' - First Piano Sonata, First String Quartet, First Symphony... and the Woodwind Quintet.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on July 22, 2008, 11:21:23 AM
Of those, Johan, I only know the Quartet; it is excellent.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on July 22, 2008, 11:57:01 AM
I intend to read this thread the coming days. The first Carter pieces I'll be listening to are several 'Firsts' - First Piano Sonata, First String Quartet, First Symphony... and the Woodwind Quintet.

There is only one piano sonata, a relatively early but very strong work. The symphony I don't know but it is also fairly early; the quartet on the other hand is Carter's first work in his more personal style (even though he wrote some more neo-classical pieces in the immediate years following).

All I can say offhand is that if I were to create a short list of essential Carter, it would certainly include the first quartet, but I'm not sure about the other pieces. If you're referring to the Eight Etudes and Fantasy for Woodwind Quartet, it doesn't impress me much. From Carter's neoclassical period I think the real gem is the Sonata for Fl, Ob, Vc, and Hpschd. From his later work my short list would definitely include the first three quartets, the Double Concerto, and the Concerto for Orchestra. Lots of other good stuff, of course, but those are some of the top works in my opinion.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on July 22, 2008, 12:03:54 PM
Thanks for all the reactions! (And thank you, Sforzando, for setting me straight on that one and only Piano Sonata...)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on July 22, 2008, 12:40:21 PM
I have the early Symphony (naxos), he didn't have his identity then...it's not representative and a snore really (i'd say skip it). The Piano Sonata is his first truly great work. A must-have.

Just downloaded it from classicsonline (the Piano Sonata, that is).  :)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on July 22, 2008, 12:44:04 PM
(http://www.classicsonline.com/images/cds/TROY685.gif)

Ergo: Sara Laimon - I hope she does the work justice...
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on July 22, 2008, 12:48:31 PM
Ah yes - Charles Rosen... I admire his books, but haven't yet heard him in either Beethoven or Carter...  :(
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on July 22, 2008, 12:55:41 PM
I am listening to the Piano Sonata. Can't say I have any difficulty with this music. It's very American, to my ears. There is something jazzy to it. Dare I say it: Gershwin meets Scriabin... (First impression, mind you.)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: bwv 1080 on July 22, 2008, 01:10:16 PM
I intend to read this thread the coming days. The first Carter pieces I'll be listening to are several 'Firsts' - First Piano Sonata, First String Quartet, First Symphony... and the Woodwind Quintet.

Rather than the piano sonata, I would recommend Night Fantasies, which you can listen to for free here:

http://artofthestates.org/cgi-bin/piece.pl?pid=72

Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on July 22, 2008, 01:14:55 PM
I welcome any recommendation!

I just listened to the Piano Sonata - quite an attractive work, I must say.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on July 22, 2008, 01:49:33 PM
I am glad my ears didn't deceive me, then. (But there is definitely something Scriabinesque, too...) The Night Fantasies are very good. Just heard them. It's night here now, and they really capture the nocturnal atmosphere.

This Carter adventure is turning out very well. I had expected a struggle, but what I find is a music that is colourful and quite sensuous. I like it.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on July 22, 2008, 02:13:00 PM
No doubt; Scriabin's music really captures the heart & soul of the jazz musician. Gut wrenchingly lyrical and harmonically adventurous. Lots of jazzers love Scriabin.

And so does Jez.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Mark G. Simon on July 24, 2008, 08:18:38 AM
I first posted this on another forum, but I repeat it here for you Carterphiles.

My next project is to digitize all my old Carter LPs, that aren't duplicated on CD. Last night it was Frederick Prausnitz conducting the Variations for Orchestra. Wow, I'd forgotten what a piece it is.

This is probably the best piece for a Carter newbie. It has so many trademarks of his mature style, but is also structurally transparent. It has a theme you can follow, the variations are distinct in character, and it has a dramatic sweep from beginning to end, culminating in an exhilerating fortissimo restatement of the principal motive of the theme, which unleashes a tumultous episode for solo trombone and timpani.

It very much follows the same format as Schoenberg's orchestral variations, op. 31: an introduction that opens mysteriously, a theme stated in the lower strings, 9 variations of varied character, and an extended coda with an wild climax.

Last night I had the feeling that Carter had improved upon his model.

The Prausnitz Carter album was recorded in England in the late 1960s on Columbia. The orchestra is the New Philharmonia. The other side has the Double Concerto with Paul Jacobs on harpsichord and Charles Rosen on piano, and the English Chamber Orchestra. The cover shows the 60-year-old Carter sitting outdoors on a wicker chair, appearing to be deep in thought. One assumed these must be very late works, and would have few successors. Now it's 40 years later and the guy is cranking them out faster than ever.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on July 24, 2008, 08:23:33 AM
A tantalizing description, Mark!

Tonight - String Quartet No. 1 for me (Pacifica Quartet/Naxos). Virgin territory...  :)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on July 24, 2008, 08:31:08 AM
My next project is to digitize all my old Carter LPs, that aren't duplicated on CD. Last night it was Frederick Prausnitz conducting the Variations for Orchestra. Wow, I'd forgotten what a piece it is.

Thanks much for this, Mark.  It's quite a creation, isn't it!  I've said it before (I think) but the Variations for Orchestra was the piece that finally "sold" me on Carter, via Levine's recording with Chicago.  May have to spin it tonight after all these posts (and on Joe's Tanglewood thread).

And enjoy the quartet, Johan!  :D

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on July 24, 2008, 09:49:41 AM
I first posted this on another forum, but I repeat it here for you Carterphiles.

My next project is to digitize all my old Carter LPs, that aren't duplicated on CD. Last night it was Frederick Prausnitz conducting the Variations for Orchestra. Wow, I'd forgotten what a piece it is.

This is probably the best piece for a Carter newbie. It has so many trademarks of his mature style, but is also structurally transparent. It has a theme you can follow, the variations are distinct in character, and it has a dramatic sweep from beginning to end, culminating in an exhilerating fortissimo restatement of the principal motive of the theme, which unleashes a tumultous episode for solo trombone and timpani.

It very much follows the same format as Schoenberg's orchestral variations, op. 31: an introduction that opens mysteriously, a theme stated in the lower strings, 9 variations of varied character, and an extended coda with an wild climax.

Last night I had the feeling that Carter had improved upon his model.

The Prausnitz Carter album was recorded in England in the late 1960s on Columbia. The orchestra is the New Philharmonia. The other side has the Double Concerto with Paul Jacobs on harpsichord and Charles Rosen on piano, and the English Chamber Orchestra. The cover shows the 60-year-old Carter sitting outdoors on a wicker chair, appearing to be deep in thought. One assumed these must be very late works, and would have few successors. Now it's 40 years later and the guy is cranking them out faster than ever.

I consider that the best recorded performance of both those works. Levine has better sound for the Vars, but I don't think he outdoes Prausnitz (who died recently) in the conducting.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Mark G. Simon on July 24, 2008, 10:09:06 AM
I can't believe I wrote "an wild climax".

a wild climax.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on July 24, 2008, 10:33:15 AM
I can't believe I wrote "an wild climax".

That's how wild it was.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on July 24, 2008, 11:07:06 AM
I can't believe I wrote "an wild climax".

a wild climax.

Well, you know that "Carter devil music" just plays weird tricks with your brain.  ;D

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on July 25, 2008, 06:40:41 AM
I listened to the First String Quartet yesterday evening, a massive piece that will take a few more listenings. Very linear music - the four voices are sometimes so independent of one another I compared them to four separate radio stations, all playing at once. Once I had found that metaphor I could 'tune into' the first violin, or to the cello et cetera. Only seldom was the music homophonic. Real polyphony in heaps.

Assimilating such a work on one hearing is out of the question. I don't know whether I 'like' it as much as the Piano Sonata. What I do know is that I have heard a work of staggering intellectual energy - and that I like very much.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on July 25, 2008, 06:52:45 AM
I like the radio station analogy--very apt, not to mention imaginative.  You will probably find that this quartet, as with most great works, grows more interesting with each hearing.

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on July 25, 2008, 07:25:06 AM
Splendid, Johan. Rock on!
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Mark G. Simon on July 29, 2008, 05:53:13 AM
I had a dream last night that I was listening to the Carter Double Concerto and it had a loud ending. Kind of like the crashing chord that begins the coda, only it came back and ended the piece with an abrupt cut-off.

It made me think of how many Carter pieces have loud endings. Not too many. More often there's an all-out climax and then the music subsides.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on July 29, 2008, 06:10:19 AM
I had a dream last night that I was listening to the Carter Double Concerto and it had a loud ending. Kind of like the crashing chord that begins the coda, only it came back and ended the piece with an abrupt cut-off.

It made me think of how many Carter pieces have loud endings. Not too many. More often there's an all-out climax and then the music subsides.

Carter has said he does not like loud, rhetorical endings, and he reiterated the point last week during his onstage interview with Richard Dyer. When he wrote the Allegro scorrevole, which ends with a single piccolo note, he said that the finales of the big, romantic symphonies strike him as militaristic. They sound like soldiers marching to a big nationalistic triumph, which is a sentiment he does not find admirable.

I have long suspected there's also a structural, harmonic component of those soft endings. A  lot of Carter's pieces don't just end quietly. They end on a single, unharmonized note, or, as with the Double Concerto, a stroke of unpitched percussion. What better way to emphasize the atonality of a piece than by depriving the final note of a harmonic context?  Symphonies in C major don't just end on the note C, after all. There's got to be an E there somewhere to establish the tonality. The note C, by itself, means nothing, or at least it is not enough in itself to establish a key.

The Third String Quartet ends loudly, as does the Brass Quintet. The upcoming Interventions does as well, but those are the only examples in Mr. Carter's mature oeuvre I can think of.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on August 01, 2008, 12:00:23 PM
Symphonies in C major don't just end on the note C, after all. There's got to be an E there somewhere to establish the tonality. The note C, by itself, means nothing, or at least it is not enough in itself to establish a key.

The last note of Beethoven's 5th is a big, fortissimo unison (or multi-octave) C. The last two notes of Mahler 1 are a unison octave drop, D to D. Since the tonality of both works has been unmistakably established within the movements (some would say too unmistakably), a single unison note at the end does nothing to disrupt the sense of the key.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on August 04, 2008, 12:43:39 PM
Just found out that at this all-Carter concert on December 12 (the day after the big 100th birthday blowout) will feature another new piece, the world premiere of the Duettino for violin and cello, to be performed by Rolf Schulte and Fred Sherry.  (Or perhaps Joe has known about it for months!)  Anyway, looks like a great evening.

December 12, 2008, 7:30pm
Zankel Hall

Making Music: Elliott Carter

Tara Helen O'Connor, Flute
Charles Neidich, Clarinet
Stephen Taylor, Oboe
Stephen Gosling, Piano
Rolf Schulte, Violin
Hsin-Yun Huang, Viola
Fred Sherry, Cello
Donald Palma, Double Bass
Bridget Kibbey, Harp
Film Interludes by Frank Scheffer
Jeremy Geffen, Series Moderator

ELLIOTT CARTER  Duettino (World Premiere)
ELLIOTT CARTER  Canon for 4 
ELLIOTT CARTER  Enchanted Preludes
ELLIOTT CARTER  Gra 
ELLIOTT CARTER  Duo for Violin and Piano 
ELLIOTT CARTER  Con leggerezza pensosa
ELLIOTT CARTER  Esprit Rude/Esprit Doux
ELLIOTT CARTER  Mosaic (NY Premiere)

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on August 04, 2008, 12:49:13 PM
Actually, I have known about it. I wasn't planning to go, since I'll be in New York the evening before and the program consists entirely of small peices, but I do want to hear the Duettino, even though its only few minutes long.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on August 05, 2008, 06:21:08 AM
Oh, and here's another performance for you New Yorkers:

11/2/2008
Carter, Elliott: Harvest Home
Carter, Elliott: Mad Regales (New York premiere)
New York Virtuoso Singers / Harold Rosenbaum
St. Ignatius of Antioch Episcopal Church, New York, NY, USA

Looks as though the Mad-regales is already catching on.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on August 08, 2008, 08:03:33 AM
The following letter just appeared in the Wall Street Journal. It doesn't deal with Carter exclusively, but it does use him as an example.

No Degree Needed to Enjoy Mozart
August 6, 2008; Page A14
While I appreciate and enjoy the writing of both Terry Teachout and Joe Queenan, I have to agree with Mr. Queenan's letter (Aug. 4) taking Mr. Teachout to task for defending "modern" or "contemporary" classical music by offering up popular, melodic and not very modern examples of work. I think that for the nonacademics among us, Mr. Queenan got it right -- modern and contemporary classical music is off-putting to audiences made up of nonacademics and nonmusicians.

I serve on the board of a small local chamber music ensemble and we confront this issue every year. For example, the musicians want to play Elliott Carter, the audience doesn't enjoy Elliott Carter's music, and the board is told by musicians that if we only would learn more about what Mr. Carter is trying to do and the theories behind his music, we would enjoy it. I respond: Why is this material unenjoyable to anyone not primed by a professional musicologist?

Did Mozart and Beethoven require rigorous preconcert education sessions so the audience could tolerate the music and attempt to enjoy it? The arts are like aromas and tastes. Some are naturally pleasing, other require effort to be appreciated (if at all). Perhaps we should question how much effort one must expend to find a minimal amount of enjoyment, and whether such exertions are really necessary. Does modern music have to be like (fill in your hated vegetable of choice or cod liver oil), good for us though we dread taking the dose?

Marla Schwaller Carew
Beverly Hills, Mich.


Since coming back from the Carter festival at Tanglewood, I've been in too good a mood to entertain the carping of Terry Teachout, Joe Queenan or anyone else, but something about this letter bothered me. If I'm understanding her correctly, this passive-aggressive biddy has been thwarting the desires of her musicians for years. They come to her every every asking her permission to play music they are evidently enthusiastic about --- and this enthusiasm should tell her something about the music's vitality --- and she turns them away with a Catch-22: We can't play this music without some kind of pre-concert talk, but then, any music that needs a pre-concert talk will not be played. I wonder how the musicians keep up their morale in such an atmosphere. It seems to me that a discussion --- whether "rigorous" or not -- is a small price to pay to keep them happy. I'd get myself a new board member.

As for the idea that art is like aromas, this is a fiction. It might seem natural to like Beethoven and Mozart, but even their music requires some education and repeated exposure before one can appreciate it fully. (Charles Rosen discusses just this idea perceptively in the New York Review of Books. (http://www.nybooks.com/articles/803)) Our good friend Bruce confessed to me the other night he really doesn't like Mozart all that much, and I have only recently begun to enjoy Chopin fully. (I've always liked some pieces, of course, but most of it  used to leave me cold.) And I can think of a number of people who would benefit from being educated about Beethoven.

I guess the atmosphere in the Berkshires was a little rarefied. Up in out lofty mountain aerie, we forgot that there are still people out there like this in the real world. It's a shock and a waste to come back.

Ugh.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: ChamberNut on August 08, 2008, 08:11:29 AM
Some music is very difficult to appreciate, some of it is very easy.  I'm finding Carter's string quartets very difficult to digest.  Of course, some may find this to be the complete opposite.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on August 08, 2008, 08:16:29 AM
Some music is very difficult to appreciate, some of it is very easy.  I'm finding Carter's string quartets very difficult to digest.  Of course, some may find this to be the complete opposite.

But does this mean it should not be performed?
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: ChamberNut on August 08, 2008, 08:17:38 AM
But does this mean it should not be performed?

No, of course not.  Especially in the composer's native country.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on August 08, 2008, 08:42:49 AM
You don't need a degree to enjoy Elliott Carter either, just a good pair of working ears, and a dash of curiosity wouldn't hurt either.

What struck me about the letter is as Joe noted, that apparently the musicians want to play Carter.  But then she mentions being "primed by a professional musicologist" and I'm thinking, Forget them for the moment: you just said you have musicians wanting to play for you!

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on August 08, 2008, 09:24:16 AM
What struck me about the letter is as Joe noted, that apparently the musicians want to play Carter.  But then she mentions being "primed by a professional musicologist" and I'm thinking, Forget them for the moment: you just said you have musicians wanting to play for you!--Bruce

Exactly!
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on August 08, 2008, 10:37:35 AM
You don't need a degree to enjoy Elliott Carter either, just a good pair of working ears, and a dash of curiosity wouldn't hurt either.

I can vouch for the truth of that observation. Funny - I can still remember the atmosphere of the Piano Sonata and the First String Quartet, but I can't recall the exact musical content.

Time to renew my acquaintance...
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: trumpetmaster on August 08, 2008, 11:00:10 AM
Elliott Carter - Brass Quintet

Now this is a very powerful and challenging work to perform!

Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on August 08, 2008, 11:00:57 AM
I can vouch for the truth of that observation. Funny - I can still remember the atmosphere of the Piano Sonata and the First String Quartet, but I can't recall the exact musical content.

Time to renew my acquaintance...

You do get to the point, as with any music, where you di remember the content, and you can keep whole strecthes of it in your head. I'm thinking of some of the prettier passages in the Piano Sonata right now.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on August 08, 2008, 11:03:15 AM
Elliott Carter - Brass Quintet

Now this is a very powerful and challenging work to perform!

Have you in fact perfromed it? I'd enjoy reading your impressions both of the music and of the rehearsals. I love that piece. It's seems overlooked compared to some of Cater's other chamber music, but it's by no means minor. 
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: trumpetmaster on August 08, 2008, 11:07:42 AM
Have you in fact perfromed it? I'd enjoy reading your impressions both of the music and of the rehearsals. I love that piece. It's seems overlooked compared to some of Cater's other chamber music, but it's by no means minor. 

Joe,
It is overlooked. Maybe because it is very difficult to perform.

No... unfortunately... I have not had the chance to perform it...
I have read through it a few times and there is a high demand to have your technical chops down as well as your flexibility.

Regards,
TM

Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Al Moritz on August 09, 2008, 11:47:41 PM
You don't need a degree to enjoy Elliott Carter either, just a good pair of working ears, and a dash of curiosity wouldn't hurt either.

Exactly. Often I even find modern music easier to understand because you only have to listen to gestures, not thematic development.

And I find Carter easier to appreciate than Mozart. The latter has written some phenomenal, dazzling works, like the mature piano concertos, the flute concerto in G major or the Paris and Jupiter symphonies, but a lot of his output seems just boring and routine to me. Perhaps I am missing something, and some musicological training might help.

Now Bach, that is an entirely different beast altogether ... After it took me years to fully appreciate his music, I now cannot get enough of it. However, with Bach I always had the feeling that I was missing something, and once I would have discovered that, the music would start to speak to me. With Mozart I just don't have that feeling, and never had; somehow I suspect that there is just not much more substance there than I already hear. Perhaps I am wrong, or perhaps the composer is just overrated -- yes, he is absolutely sublime when he is at his best, but I don't think he very often is. Maybe the famed ease with which he wrote music is also his achilles heel. Too often I just hear the same kind of phrases, variations and modulations over and over again -- frequently he seems to work with the same limited bag of, albeit nice, tricks.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Guido on August 10, 2008, 02:34:51 PM
Exactly. Often I even find modern music easier to understand because you only have to listen to gestures, not thematic development.

And I find Carter easier to appreciate than Mozart. The latter has written some phenomenal, dazzling works, like the mature piano concertos, the flute concerto in G major or the Paris and Jupiter symphonies, but a lot of his output seems just boring and routine to me. Perhaps I am missing something, and some musicological training might help.

Now Bach, that is an entirely different beast altogether ... After it took me years to fully appreciate his music, I now cannot get enough of it. However, with Bach I always had the feeling that I was missing something, and once I would have discovered that, the music would start to speak to me. With Mozart I just don't have that feeling, and never had; somehow I suspect that there is just not much more substance there than I already hear. Perhaps I am wrong, or perhaps the composer is just overrated -- yes, he is absolutely sublime when he is at his best, but I don't think he very often is. Maybe the famed ease with which he wrote music is also his achilles heel. Too often I just hear the same kind of phrases, variations and modulations over and over again -- frequently he seems to work with the same limited bag of, albeit nice, tricks.

*Ducks for cover*
I agree with most of what you have said, or rather my experiences are roughly the same, except that I have more hope that I will some day appreciate Mozart.
*wraps self in asbestos blanket to avoid the flames*
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on August 10, 2008, 04:49:41 PM
Well, as usual, Al provides a wealth of ideas in a few sentences. The part about the few neat tricks echoes something Charles Rosen has written about the evolution of music: Since the end of the 18th century, music has relied less and less on prefabricated material like scales and broken chords. Mozart made full use of such material. By the 20th century, musical meaning had to arise from the demands of each new work. Carter has often spoken of the need to make every note "tell," and he has spoken of minimalism as a return to the mechanized formulas of the past.

Then again, he also loves Mozart     
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Al Moritz on August 11, 2008, 06:54:53 AM
*Ducks for cover*

*wraps self in asbestos blanket to avoid the flames*

I think you have nothing to worry about. I had already concluded from the lack of angry outcries about my comments on Mozart before you posted that probably most people here agree anyway.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Al Moritz on August 11, 2008, 06:57:20 AM
Quote
Carter has often spoken of the need to make every note "tell,"

Interesting, Joe. While listening to the masterful Musik für Oboe und Orchester (basically an oboe concerto) by Wolfgang Rihm last night I had exactly that feeling, that the composer makes every note tell. Not only is each note searched for, but each note seems to search its way through musical space as well. Fascinating.

Perhaps I am less smitten by "effortless masterpieces" than by masterpieces where the composer searches for the musical narrative through every note that he writes down in a hard-fought for, or at least thought-out and careful, way. Perhaps this less glorious manner of music-making frequently results in the more interesting music, after all.

I am wondering how this all relates to Bach. Perhaps a part of why I now can appreciate his music so much is that I have discovered that it is much less "prefabricated" than I had suspected for so long. Each cello suite, each sonata for solo violin, each concerto for violin and harpsichord, each organ piece in the Clavierübung III is so newly thought through that it is just a pleasure to go with the composer on that journey. Sure, some music in the cantatas seems rather prefabricated, but the overall level of music-making there is so high that this hardly matters either. And it surprises me how much variety Bach is able to present even under the time pressure of having had to deliver a new cantata frequently.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on August 11, 2008, 10:54:07 AM
Bach is so incredible, just untouchable...every note written has value & purpose and it's uncomparably rich. No one comes close. Mozart? Yea...I credit his formal innovations and even like a few things but he's a very overrated composer.

Then I will continue to overrate him.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on August 11, 2008, 02:29:43 PM
You do that; with the rest of the sheep.  8)

Baa! baaa!
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on August 12, 2008, 04:27:29 AM
Did you see James's (budget?) Apex disc of Carter, Joe?
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on August 12, 2008, 04:30:22 AM
Did you see James's (budget?) Apex disc of Carter, Joe?

Sorry, I don't know what you're talking about.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: not edward on August 12, 2008, 04:33:42 AM
Sorry, I don't know what you're talking about.
It's a single-disc reissue of Boulez's Erato Carter disc....I have it in a previous issue 5-CD set with Schoenberg, Berio, Grisey, Ferneyhough, et al.

Funnily enough, I *still* don't get Penthode. It and the 4th quartet are about the only Carter works that don't speak to me yet.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on August 12, 2008, 04:42:29 AM
It seemed to me that it must be a reissue, thanks, Edward.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on August 12, 2008, 04:45:58 AM
It's a single-disc reissue of Boulez's Erato Carter disc....I have it in a previous issue 5-CD set with Schoenberg, Berio, Grisey, Ferneyhough, et al.

Funnily enough, I *still* don't get Penthode. It and the 4th quartet are about the only Carter works that don't speak to me yet.

Oh, I've had that disk for years. I agree, it doesn't show off the Penthode to best advantage, which is a shame, because I've heard the work live at least half a dozen times, and each time it's been wonderful. Something about the piece cries out for space. The fourth quartet seems to be the poor stepsister of the bunch. Compared to the rest of the family, it doesn't seem to have the feel of a breakthrough,. but taken by itself, it's perfectly fine. To me, anyway.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Mark G. Simon on August 13, 2008, 09:10:19 AM
It always puzzles me why otherwise intelligent musicians can't hear the incredible depth of expression in all of Mozart's mature works (that would be everything from around K.400 on, and a goodly number of scores from the K. 300's). Seems to me a kind of selective deafness. Perhaps a reaction against the post-Amadeus fetishization of Mozart, as if he were somehow behind the "Mozart effect" nonsense. All I can say is, you guys are missing out on something incredible.

I think the so-called "prefabricated" elements of music are just as important as the original "hard-fought" ones in that they provide a context into which the original contents may acquire meaning. To make a linguistic analogy, they provide the punctuation and stock phrases which everyone needs to clearly express what they need to express.

In Carter's case, his technique of layering pulses in multiple simultaneous tempi, as well as the harmonic formulas presented in his "Harmony Book" have provided him with ample prefabricated material to work with, and that's how he is able to churn out score after score with increasing rapidity. Carter is not starting from scratch with each composition, nor are his ideas "hard-fought".

In my recent survey of my Carter LPs, it seemed to me that by the 1970s he had his prefabricated elements throroughly established, and I hear them more strongly than whatever distinctive ideas he may bring to each score. I know a lot of you guys are quite fond of his later music, but I simply don't have enough room in my head for them (other than the works involving clarinet, which I take an interest in simply because they involve my instrument). The works which have a deep meaning for me are the ones written during the 60s and 70s, the ones that I got to know first. But I find his  poly-tempo technique interesting, and am always hoping that a study of it will help me find a way into these later scores.
 
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: not edward on August 13, 2008, 10:27:54 AM
I think quite a lot of us would agree with the view that the best of Carter was his work in the '50s and '60s and that his more recent work hasn't reached the same heights. I know that if I were to name my favourite Carter, the works that would immediately come to mind would be the first two quartets and the three concerti from the 1960s. While I'd probably add Symphonia the Boston Concerto and perhaps Tempo e tempi to that list, I know they wouldn't be quite at the heights of the five works I mentioned initially.

What I do find appealing about the more recent works is the sense of ease and grace about them: something which I am sure is entirely related to him having had the elements of his music at his fingertips for 20 years or more, and which allows him to toss off new works with surprising facility in comparison to those hard-won earlier creations.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on August 13, 2008, 10:56:04 AM
Edward, I think I'd add the 1970s Mr. Carter's peak period. To my mind, Syinga, the Brass Quintet, the Third String Quartet and A Symphony of Three Orchestras rank with the earlier pieces you mention. While I agree the late works may not consistently reach those heights, some do, I think, such as the great Piano Quintet and the Cello Concerto, in addition to the Boston Concerto. Many of us who heard Kate Lindsey's  compelling performance of "In the Distances of Sleep" at Tanglewood might be tempted to include that beautiful work. As I've said before, though, Mr. Carter has nothing left to prove. The wonder of the late music is that he can afford to relax.

Mark, I liked your last post a great deal, but I think we may be thinking of two different things when we talk about "prefabricated" music. I meant found objects such as scales, broken chords and cadences, things Mozart inherited as part of his musical training. I don't think I (or Charles Rosen, from whom I ripped off the observation) would include the sort of metric modulations and polyrhythms Mr. Carter invented, or even Schoenberg's tone rows. These things still require a selection of notes in a way that Mozart's prefab material does not. Once the the key is selected, the scales and chords are right there. None of this, of course, is intended to detract from Mozart's achievement. I think Rosen meant only to point out a trend in the evolution of composition. He was not making comparisons to the detriment of one composer or the other.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on August 13, 2008, 06:26:45 PM
Speaking of late works, here is the latest addition to the Carter canon on the Boosey Web site. And nine minutes, it sound like a substantial work (longer than Varese's Ionization).


Tintinnabulation (2008) 9'
for percussion sextet

Scoring
perc(6) I: 2congas/4bongos/lg.log drum/flat gong/Chinese opera gong/wood drum; II: guiro/maracas/2cyms/tgl/slap stick/alto nipple gong/3tom-t/alto SD/picc.wdbl; III: bass nipple gong/splash cym/high SD/claves/ratchet/darbouka/timbale/tom-t; IV: sop.nipple gong/talking drum/shaker/med.SD/lg.tam-t/sm.tam-t/Japanese wdbl/sm.log dr; V: 5tpl.bl/2wdbl/tenor nipple gong/low SD/3pipes; VI: 4almglocken/2wdbl/BD/hammer/tom-t/bari.nipple gong

Right now, I'm hot for a nipple gong ...
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Al Moritz on August 13, 2008, 10:59:13 PM
It always puzzles me why otherwise intelligent musicians can't hear the incredible depth of expression in all of Mozart's mature works (that would be everything from around K.400 on, and a goodly number of scores from the K. 300's). Seems to me a kind of selective deafness. Perhaps a reaction against the post-Amadeus fetishization of Mozart, as if he were somehow behind the "Mozart effect" nonsense. All I can say is, you guys are missing out on something incredible.

Well, I am not a musician, but I don't have a reaction against fetishization of Mozart. I listen to the music on its own merit. And my ears tell me that there is indeed some incredible music that Mozart wrote, such as  the late piano concerti, among others. Yes, I am skeptical, but I have open ears too. Recently, for example, I was totally blown away by the Don Giovanni overture, and sometimes early works also strike me as fantastic. Among these were a symphony in the #20s where I said, "holy sh.t", this is really great! (while another one, # 28, once left me utterly bored), and I had a similar reaction to an early piano sonata as well (while again another one left me bored to tears). But then, a lot of also the later music doesn't really strike me as thaaat good.

As I said, perhaps I am wrong and I am missing something substantial, but I just don't see it at this point. Right or wrong, there is a remarkable number of people I know who share my opinion: yes, Mozart made some great music, but... Either we are all right, or there is something utterly prohibitive in Mozart's music that just makes it hard for many to hear a consistent greatness, if there is one.

With Bach I also  had difficulties until 2 years ago, yet it was never that I found his music not to be great. I just didn't get it and I knew that I didn't (now I do). With Mozart, on the other hand, I rarely have the feeling that I don't get it, but I think often it just isn't as great as it's made out to be.

Joe,  you may sound your off-topic alarm.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on August 14, 2008, 01:03:30 AM
As I said, perhaps I am wrong and I am missing something substantial, but I just don't see it at this point. Right or wrong, there is a remarkable number of people I know who share my opinion: yes, Mozart made some great music, but... Either we are all right, or there is something utterly prohibitive in Mozart's music that just makes it hard for many to hear a consistent greatness, if there is one.

Very short OT endorsement of Al Moritz' sentiment. Mozart can move move me to tears or exhilarate me when all the familiar elements are fused together in an utterly compelling way. But he can also be tritely formulaic. Too much learning may be a bad thing. But so is too much facility.

End of OT posting.  0:)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Mark G. Simon on August 14, 2008, 04:47:53 AM
There's obviously something in the modernist aesthetic and Mozart's aesthetic that are antithetical.

That's why I have so little respect for modernist aesthetics, and why I find Stockhausen such a pretentious bore.

Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Al Moritz on August 14, 2008, 05:39:20 AM
Mark,

I know, attack of modernist aesthetics is a pet project of yours, but I think you frame the issue in too simplistic terms.

I don’t think this has much to do with modernist aesthetics at all. Why do I find Monteverdi and Bach more interesting than the average (not the best) Mozart, why do I find Mozart’s contemporary Haydn on average more interesting than Mozart (even though I have stopped pretending to myself that he ever, or more than very rarely, reaches Mozart’s heights when that composer is at his most sublime), and why do I find Beethoven more interesting than the average Mozart?

Al
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on August 14, 2008, 06:09:42 AM
There's obviously something in the modernist aesthetic and Mozart's aesthetic that are antithetical.

Not necessarily, Mark. Carter has often stated that Mozart is his favorite composer, and that the three Da Ponte operas would be his desert island disks. He also once startled a critic by saying he wanted his music to "be like Mozart's." According to David Schiff, what Carter finds compelling in Mozart is his emotional ambiguity --- "happy when sad, major when minor." It was this same quality, that troubled listeners as astute as Beethoven and Wagner. Their troubled response also proved how much better they heard the music, as opposed to those who find it "merely beautiful," at least according to Schiff.

Modern composers can find the difference in aesthetic a stumbling block, rather than a point of pride. Back when he was writing only three pieces a decade, Carter (to get back to the topic) said he felt he needed to rewrite the musical language every time he picked up a pen, which something Haydn never needed to do. Brahms expressed the same frustration --- that in Mozart's day it was easy to write music. He envied the ability to write with prefabricated material.

The problem with that reasoning, as I see it, is that if it was so easy to write music in the 1780s, why did only two composers --- Haydn and Mozart --- leave us anything we still find worth listening to? A lot of composers were active in the 18th century. No others were active at such a high level.

I find it odd when critics and listeners use Mozart a s club with which to beat Carter's aesthetic. Why, oh, why, can he not write music as beautiful as Mozart did? The irony is that Carter understands Mozart's music more deeply than they, or I,  ever will.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Catison on August 14, 2008, 06:41:58 AM
There is an article about the french horn on NYTimes that features an excerpt of Carter's Horn Concerto.

You can find it here: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/13/arts/music/13horn.html?em
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: DavidRoss on August 14, 2008, 07:04:44 AM
a lot of terrific new stuff is being left by the wayside by the "establishment" who continues to cash in on safe & popular Mozart, who wrote some fine stuff but who is way too overhyped to a suffocating effect that it's simply beyond parody & ultimately it stagnates the artform and turns it into a dusty museum.
This defies credulity.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on August 14, 2008, 07:13:23 AM
This defies credulity.

Let me handle this, Nancy . . . Far out, Catherwood, just roll a couple of bombers and leave them on the side-table.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Al Moritz on August 14, 2008, 07:37:23 AM
but he also conducted Mozart works

Excellently, in fact (I have heard his recording of the flute concerto in G major from 1985). You may dislike Stockhausen's music, but you cannot pretend that he was not a highly capable and trained musician. This is also evident from his early, more "traditional" choral works which he wrote in 1950 before he had found his own voice (erm, according to some, turned crazy :P).
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on August 14, 2008, 07:40:51 AM
Now, this is the kind of discussion I like.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Al Moritz on August 14, 2008, 08:11:46 AM
And in his earlier days he used to play lots of classical, baroque, romantic, jazz etc as a pianist.

Yes, there is this story in Kurtz' s Stockhausen biography where he and his musicians were rehearsing Mikrophonie I (trust me, the most "noisy" Stockhausen piece ever, with banging on and scratching of the surface of a tam-tam; I love it, one of my absolute favorites). There were some technical problems with the electronics involved, and in order to entertain and kill some time while things were fixed, the composer sat on the piano and played some old jazz classics. He never "negated" the past, contrary to the myth.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on August 14, 2008, 08:26:31 AM
There were some technical problems with the electronics involved, and in order to entertain and kill some time while things were fixed, the composer sat on the piano and played some old jazz classics.

But did he play "Your Feet's Too Big"?
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on August 14, 2008, 08:37:31 AM
But did he play "Your Feet's Too Big"?

Mr.Carter saw Fats Waller perfrom in the 1930s and has often talked about the structures of jazz as a basis for his own music.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Mark G. Simon on August 14, 2008, 10:19:02 AM
Not necessarily, Mark. Carter has often stated that Mozart is his favorite composer, and that the three Da Ponte operas would be his desert island disks. He also once startled a critic by saying he wanted his music to "be like Mozart's." According to David Schiff, what Carter finds compelling in Mozart is his emotional ambiguity --- "happy when sad, major when minor." It was this same quality, that troubled listeners as astute as Beethoven and Wagner. Their troubled response also proved how much better they heard the music, as opposed to those who find it "merely beautiful," at least according to Schiff.

I find it odd when critics and listeners use Mozart a s club with which to beat Carter's aesthetic.

Just as I find it odd that people would use Carter as a club to beat Mozart's aesthetic. I'm sure Carter could not have gotten very far with Nadia Boulanger without a firm understanding of Mozart. The quote about "happy when sad, major when minor" ties in with his statement about music in which "first you do a little of this and then a little of that" and how he wanted to "mix the 'this' and the 'that'". Another way Carter has learned from Mozart (I'm sure Boulanger instilled this in him, but could have easily used Mozart as an example) is textural clarity in the midst of maximum instrumental activity. You know how Mozart was admonished for writing "too many notes". He did so out of concern for the individual players. He made sure everyone had an interesting part. There are all kinds of contrapuntal details in his symphonies and string quartets where other composers would have put simple accompaniment figures. Mozart didn't want to bore his musicians with filler, so he gave them interesting Nebenstimme figures which his contemporaries thought made the music "too highly spiced". But he always left holes in the texture for these little figures to come through, even though they only last 3 or four beats, so that there is never excessive sonic clutter.

Now you can look through any Carter score and see exactly the same thing. The Concerto for Orchestra has an awful lot of stuff going on, but except for big climactic sections, there's never more than a couple of things going on at once. There are little bits of activity that may only last a couple of beats, but for those beats everyone else either has rests or sustained notes. It looks very striking on the page, and the affect when you hear it is of maximum clarity, even with the incredible amount of activity.

Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on August 14, 2008, 11:00:16 AM
Mark, as always, your post opens up a multitude of doors, any one of which would be rewarding to enter. I'm not sure just when Carter came around to Mozart, and I don't know if it was Boulanger who unlocked his appreciation. He has said that when he was younger he was interested only in modern music, and he was quite mature when he learned to love the classics. Of course, the spirit of the neoclassical Stravinsky loomed over Boulanger's lessons, and she had her students sing though all of Bach's cantatas, which certainly helped to seal Carter's interest in counterpoint.

I don't think the Concerto for Orchestra would have been possible without the example of Ives's Fourth Symphony, particularly the second movement: listen to the climaxes of both side by side sometime. (Remember, too, the symphony was premiered by Stokowski in 1966, just about the time Carter began work on the Concerto.) But Carter has criticized Ives for piling up so many notes that the sound of individual instruments, such as a flute playing in its middle range, gets lost and fails to contribute to the overall effect. Carter wanted to develop the kind of layering Ives pioneered, but he insisted on clarity, too, and the techniques you describe so well are a direct result of that insistence. What has always impressed me about the Concerto for Orchestra is that no matter how much is going on, every note can be heard.

Whether this push toward clarifying Ives is left over from Mr. Carter's training with Boulanger, an outgrowth of his admiration for Mozart, or an imperative of his own temperament, however, I really can't say.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on August 16, 2008, 07:13:24 AM
Nice article about Mr. Carter today in the L.A. Times. (http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/news/arts/la-ca-carter17-2008aug17,0,3743729.story)  Much of it will be familiar to regulars on this board, but there is some new information. I didn't realize grandad gambled away his money.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on September 05, 2008, 09:14:44 AM
Rumors of Mr. Carter death have been greatly exaggerated

From Newsday's online arts listings: (http://www.newsday.com/services/newspaper/printedition/sunday/fanfare/ny-ent-fallarts-moreclassical,0,6883530.story)

DEC. 4. Cellist Timothy Eddy and Pianist Gilbert Kalish. Elliott Carter's "Sonata for Cello and Piano" (1948), in honor of the late composer's 100th birthday. Staller Center for the Arts, Stony Brook. stallercenter.com, 631-632-2787. -- Research by Judy Raia

Miss Raia needs to do some more research.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on September 05, 2008, 09:21:18 AM
That was Episode 1 of The Death of Mary Queen of Scots . . . .
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Mark G. Simon on September 05, 2008, 09:24:31 AM
The late composer's 100th birthday

Maybe Judy Raia has plans for him some time before Dec. 4.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on September 05, 2008, 09:25:17 AM
That was Episode 1 of The Death of Mary Queen of Scots . . . .

Episiode 2 will be heard on BBC 1 almost immediately ...

Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on September 05, 2008, 09:27:06 AM
I think she's dead.

— No, I'm not.

(crash)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on September 05, 2008, 09:30:07 AM
I think she's dead.

— No, I'm not.

(crash)


Lay off!
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on September 05, 2008, 09:30:53 AM
Oh, BTW, Karl, Mr. Carter's new piece for percussion sextet, Tintinnabulation, is scheduled for premiere Dec. 2 at the New England Conservatory of Music. I expect you to provide a report.   ;)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on September 05, 2008, 09:32:54 AM
Oh, BTW, Karl, Mr. Carter's new piece for percussion sextet, Tintinnabulation, is scheduled for premiere Dec. 2 at the New England Conservatory of Music. I expect you to provide a report.   ;)

Thanks for the alert! I'll be there.  (It's a Tuesday; excellent.)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on September 08, 2008, 10:13:55 AM
Just found out about this concert:

Thursday, February 5, 2009, 7:30 p.m.
Zankel Hall
Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Piano

Bach: Canons Nos. 1 and 2 from The Art of Fugue 
Carter: Two Diversions 
Bach: "Rectus Inversus" No. 12 from The Art of Fugue 
Carter: Night Fantasies 
Bach: Canons Nos. 4 and 3 from The Art of Fugue 
Carter: Retrouvailles 
Carter: Matribute 
Carter: 90+ 
Bach: "Rectus Inversus" No. 13 from The Art of Fugue 
Carter: Intermittences 
Carter: Caténaires

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on September 08, 2008, 10:39:29 AM
A Thursday. Possible, but not likely.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on September 08, 2008, 10:41:34 AM
Could be an Edward Gorey storybook: The Unlikely Thursday
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on September 08, 2008, 10:48:14 AM
And the Carter fun never stops!  Sandwiched in between its complete Mahler cycle with Barenboim and Boulez alternating as conductors, the Staatskapelle Berlin is doing this:

Monday, May 11, 2009, 7:30 p.m.
Zankel Hall

Daniel Barenboim, Piano
Members of the Staatskapelle Berlin
·· Gregor Witt, Oboe
·· Matthias Glander, Clarinet
·· Ignacio Gracía, Horn
·· Holger Straube, Bassoon
·· Claudius Popp, Cello
·· Torsten Schönfeld, Timpani

Carter: Cello Sonata 
Carter: Selections from Eight Pieces for Four Timpani 
Carter: Quintet for Piano and Winds

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on September 09, 2008, 10:00:05 AM
Weeknight! Always a weeknight!
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Mark G. Simon on September 09, 2008, 10:56:12 AM
Joe,

Love the "Schoenberg the Sailor Man" avatar.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on September 09, 2008, 10:58:59 AM
Aye, there's a composer who atesk his spinach!
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on September 09, 2008, 11:07:45 AM
You guys are terrific. I was worried nobody would think of the tune.

Bin Arnold der Fahrensmann!
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on September 09, 2008, 11:09:17 AM
Aye, there's a composer who atesk his spinach!

atesk?
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on September 09, 2008, 11:15:32 AM
atesk?

The simple past form of to eat in Popeye-speak.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: bwv 1080 on September 16, 2008, 07:58:23 AM
If anyone is curious, EC's life expectancy is another 2 years

http://www.ssa.gov/OACT/STATS/table4c6.html (http://www.ssa.gov/OACT/STATS/table4c6.html)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on September 16, 2008, 08:01:52 AM
If anyone is curious, EC's life expectancy is another 2 years

(http://www.ssa.gov/OACT/STATS/table4c6.html)

And how do we arrive at that. Cal?
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: bwv 1080 on September 16, 2008, 08:05:35 AM
And how do we arrive at that. Cal?

Fixed the link to the mortality table above
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on October 01, 2008, 06:13:21 PM
Check THIS (http://www.mdt.co.uk/MDTSite/product/NR_November08/8559614.htm) out.

Makes me wonder when they will get around to releasing the second volume of the string quartets ...
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: not edward on October 01, 2008, 06:51:57 PM
Check THIS (http://www.mdt.co.uk/MDTSite/product/NR_November08/8559614.htm) out.

Makes me wonder when they will get around to releasing the second volume of the string quartets ...
I'm wondering if these are live recordings. If so, I was in the audience for all of them. ;)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: bwv 1080 on October 02, 2008, 04:47:12 AM
Check THIS (http://www.mdt.co.uk/MDTSite/product/NR_November08/8559614.htm) out.

Makes me wonder when they will get around to releasing the second volume of the string quartets ...

that's lame- one unrecorded piece among the lot, Naxos could have done a disc purely of newer music
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: not edward on October 02, 2008, 04:52:41 AM
that's lame- one unrecorded piece among the lot, Naxos could have done a disc purely of newer music
Yes, that's what makes me think it's probably a live recording. Those were exactly the pieces played when Carter came to Toronto a couple of years ago.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on October 02, 2008, 06:07:11 AM
that's lame- one unrecorded piece among the lot, Naxos could have done a disc purely of newer music

Maybe it couldn't have. With the newer pieces, there's the question of rights and performers' privilege. First recordings are hard to do. What bugs me is that the CD seems to be so short. The four pieces together are only about thirty minutes long.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on October 02, 2008, 06:08:57 AM
Maybe it couldn't have. With the newer pieces, there's the question of rights and performers' privilege. First recordings are hard to do. What bugs me is that the CD seems to be so short. The four pieces together are only about thirty minutes long.

Oof.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on October 02, 2008, 06:28:40 AM
Oof.

My mistake. The complete program, which can be seen farther down the page, lists several other short works as padding. And you get a DVD got the big nine-pound price. Still, BWV is right. Carter deserves better.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on October 02, 2008, 07:02:31 AM
. . . several other short works as padding.

Perhaps a gymnopédie or three?
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: CRCulver on October 02, 2008, 08:12:29 AM
Yet another recording of works by performers other than the dedicatees. Anyone know where I could find "Gra" and "Scrivo in vento" performed by the musicians Carter had in mind?
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: not edward on October 02, 2008, 08:39:38 AM
Yet another recording of works by performers other than the dedicatees. Anyone know where I could find "Gra" and "Scrivo in vento" performed by the musicians Carter had in mind?
If the disc has the performances I think they are, Scrivo in vento is performed by the dedicatee, Robert Aikten (director of New Music Concerts).
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on October 02, 2008, 10:40:27 AM
Gra has been recorded five times, but not once, to my knowledge, by Roland Dury, the clarinettist who first performed it. You couldn't do better than Charles Neidich on the Bridge label.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Mark G. Simon on October 06, 2008, 08:15:52 AM
Gra has been recorded five times, but not once, to my knowledge, by Roland Dury, the clarinettist who first performed it. You couldn't do better than Charles Neidich on the Bridge label.

I heard Richard Stoltzman play it in concert. I don't know if he's recorded it, but he nailed it in the performance I heard. Of course he put his own distinctive sound in it, which is much different than Neidich or any of the other players who have played it, but he still very meticulously played what's on the page. I had just learned it myself, so I could tell.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on October 06, 2008, 09:24:51 AM
Stoltzman is not the artist on any of my recordings of Gra. Mark, I loved your performance of Esprit Rude/esprit doux. Could you put up Gra as an mp3, too?
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Mark G. Simon on October 06, 2008, 01:02:13 PM
Stoltzman is not the artist on any of my recordings of Gra. Mark, I loved your performance of Esprit Rude/esprit doux. Could you put up Gra as an mp3, too?

Well, in order to get to that page now, I'd have to update my operating system, and if I updated the operating system I'd have to upgrade to the new version of Finale, and I'm not ready to do that yet. However, I am reminded that I still owe you an improved version of the Prausnitz Double Concerto, and I could add Gra to the playlist.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on October 06, 2008, 01:52:45 PM
Well, in order to get to that page now, I'd have to update my operating system, and if I updated the operating system I'd have to upgrade to the new version of Finale, and I'm not ready to do that yet. However, I am reminded that I still owe you an improved version of the Prausnitz Double Concerto, and I could add Gra to the playlist.

That works for me.  ;)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Cato on October 08, 2008, 08:50:34 AM
With not a little trepidation,    0:)   I have decided to try Carter's Symphonia "Sum fluxae pretium spei" on my Latin II students.    :o

They will translate the Latin poem and then we will see if they agree with/tolerate/like Carter's musical interpretation.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on October 08, 2008, 08:52:29 AM
Outstanding!

I should have loved that if a teacher of mine did so!
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on October 08, 2008, 09:04:11 AM
That is very cool, and an interesting angle from which to approach the piece.  Truly, you never know what people will respond to, and I wouldn't be surprised if one or two emerge really liking it!  Do report back, however it turns out.

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on October 08, 2008, 09:24:46 AM
With not a little trepidation,    0:)   I have decided to try Carter's Symphonia "Sum fluxae pretium spei" on my Latin II students.    :o

They will translate the Latin poem and then we will see if they agree with/tolerate/like Carter's musical interpretation.

One word of advice: Have them take the movments one at a time. Each may be performed alone, as well as forming part of the whole, and there's no reason to hit them with it all at once. I'd recommend starting with the last movement, the Allegro scorrevole, which is the most overtly bubble-icious. 
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Guido on October 08, 2008, 10:18:54 AM
...the most overtly bubble-icious. 

Taken out of context who would ever marry this up to a description of Carter's music?! Great stuff.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Cato on October 08, 2008, 10:39:39 AM
Many thanks to all for the responses and the advice: it will be a few weeks before we can finish it, but I will report back on the reaction!   $:)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: not edward on October 08, 2008, 10:46:55 AM
One word of advice: Have them take the movments one at a time. Each may be performed alone, as well as forming part of the whole, and there's no reason to hit them with it all at once. I'd recommend starting with the last movement, the Allegro scorrevole, which is the most overtly bubble-icious. 
I'd agree: it's the most bubble-icious of the three movements and I'd also guess the most easily understood.

The central section of Symphonia by far my favorite.
I think it's my favourite too. It's one of the most overtly tragic pieces in Carter's oeuvre, and I think it's incredibly powerful.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on October 08, 2008, 11:50:14 AM
Taken out of context who would ever marry this up to a description of Carter's music?! Great stuff.

Guido, "Bubblicious" is a brand of chewing gum in the US. Flavors include Blue Blowout, Strawberry Splash, Watermelon Wave, and Gonzo Grape. (Gee, I wonder if this post will be moved to the Diner.)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: not edward on October 08, 2008, 11:52:08 AM
Guido, "Bubblicious" is a brand of chewing gum in the US. Flavors include Blue Blowout, Strawberry Splash, Watermelon Wave, and Gonzo Grape.
I think the finale of Symphonia is more Cherry Calvino. ;)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on October 08, 2008, 11:53:48 AM
Wuorinen, OTOH, is more Hubba Bubba.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Guido on October 08, 2008, 12:11:34 PM
Thanks for the info Jo! With names like that, sounds like I need to get me some! (Blue blowout... is that even a flavour?!)

On a side note: Are you genuinely pissed off about that thread being moved? It seems unlikely to me that people would think that you were stupid because of it.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on October 13, 2008, 07:41:24 AM
found this, upcoming complete survey of the his solo piano stuff...>> Oppens plays Carter (http://cedillerecords.org/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=356_368&products_id=1053)

Finally! Been waiting all year for this release..
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on October 13, 2008, 07:43:09 AM
Wow, does that look great.  Nice photo of Oppens on the cover, too. 

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on October 20, 2008, 10:05:30 AM
Wow, does that look great.  Nice photo of Oppens on the cover, too.  --Bruce

And it is great. I received my copy this morning and am listening to Night Fantasies at this very moment. Oppens owns this piece. Her interpretation has grown and deepened over the years, revealing ever new expressive aspects to the music. The recording is even more  more masterful than her effort from the 1990s, and it is captivating, definitive. Oppens has come far with this music in the past decade --- I would say farther than others, but I have not traced the development of other pianists in this piece. On the other hand, I have heard Oppens play the piece live several times, and she is the only artist to have recorded it twice. You also get all the newer miniature things, like Catenaires and the Matribute, that have not been recorded before, all in assured performances. (Catenaires is astonishing, but it's a stunt piece. The shorter, oddly named Matribute is more substantial, as are the Intermittances and the Diversions.)  Sound is audiophile quality, I would say: Up up close, no reverb. I cannot recommend this recording highly enough.

Oh, and Bruce, I think it's anold photo of Oppens on the cover.

Now I just have to worry whether this post is going to be moved to the recording section. I can't tell anymore. It's still a reference, people.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on October 20, 2008, 10:19:38 AM
BTW, Philadelphia's own Orchestra 2001 (http://www.orchestra2001.org/) will be performing Carter's Dialogues an ASKO Concerto on the afternoon of Nov. 15. Anyone from the five-state area care to come to town make it an occasion, with lunch or dinner and drinks and such? The program also includes Piston's Divertimento and the chamber version of Copland's Appalachian Spring, so it seems like a winner. James Freeman is a fine conductor, and Orchestra 2001 is a good group, an oasis of new music in the Philadelphia cultural desert.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on October 20, 2008, 10:31:46 AM
Ursula has recorded a CD in honor of Carter turning 100 . . . and the cover has a younger photo of her?  ::)  ;D  8)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on October 20, 2008, 10:41:55 AM
Ursula has recorded a CD in honor of Carter turning 100 . . . and the cover has a younger photo of her?  ::)  ;D  8)

Well, she seems a lot younger on the cover than in the inside photo.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Mark G. Simon on November 02, 2008, 07:48:23 PM
I was reading the Encyclopedia Britannica article on Carter and found this statement, which I thought cannot possibly be true:

The Variations for Orchestra (1954–55) marked another phase of Carter's development, leading to a serial approach to intervals and dynamics.

Surely Carter has never used serialism in any form, and surely not in this work! Is there anyone who can contradict me on this?
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on November 02, 2008, 08:33:16 PM
I'll save you! Carter is not a serialist, and anyone who says he is is either misinformed or expanding the definition of "serial" beyond all coherent meaning.

One of the themes in the Variations is a twelve-tone row, and that's about as close to serial technique as Carter ever got. The use of a single Schoenbergian technique is appropriate here, since, as Schiff says, the Variations is an overview of the compositional techniques of the period, though its real innovation is its approach to acceleration and deceleration. In writing the piece, Carter studied Schonberg's Variations, among others, but, Schiff writes, the work "is a reaction against Schoenberg's ... Schoenberg's Variations, with their invocation of the name of the name BACH, are a monument to new-found serial order; Carter's are a celebration of motion and change."
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Mark G. Simon on November 03, 2008, 04:20:21 AM
Good to have some comfirmation. I was looking for inaccuracies in Britannica's articles on music, and this one leapt out at me.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on November 03, 2008, 04:49:27 AM
Maybe there's wiggle-room in the phrase "a serial approach" . . . .
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: bwv 1080 on November 03, 2008, 05:49:50 AM
Maybe there's wiggle-room in the phrase "a serial approach" . . . .

how bout this


Carter's serial technique involved having notes follow one another sequentially in time
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on November 03, 2008, 07:18:56 AM
Good to have some comfirmation. I was looking for inaccuracies in Britannica's articles on music, and this one leapt out at me.

Any others?
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Catison on November 03, 2008, 07:23:11 AM
Good to have some comfirmation. I was looking for inaccuracies in Britannica's articles on music, and this one leapt out at me.

For reference, would you say Carter's article on Wikipedia is more or less reliable?
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on November 03, 2008, 07:34:38 AM
Maybe there's wiggle-room in the phrase "a serial approach" . . . .

In discussing Stockhausen, Al Moritz has defined total serialism as a sort of democratic process, an attempt to keep any one key, rhythm, speed, chord, pitch or dynamic from taking precedence over any of the others. This certainly expands the wiggle room of the serial approach, but even by that broad definition, I doubt that Carter qualifies as a serialist. Carter's idea of democracy in music (and he has spoken of it as such) is not complete equality, but, rather, strong individual personalities making personal contributions to the musical society. (Ives's notion of "everyone having a say" is relevant here.) In this approach, some elements of dynamics and pitch --- and certainly intervals, chords and gestures --- can and do come to the fore in the musical texture. Al, if you're reading, I'd appreciate your thoughts.

Carter has also said that he is not a serialist in so far as he does not consciously resort to serial techniques. This leaves wiggle room, of course, for unconscious and unintended use of serial techniques, but it's rather hard to imagine anyone doing what Boulez and Babbitt do unintentionally.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on November 03, 2008, 07:35:13 AM
For reference, would you say Carter's article on Wikipedia is more or less reliable?

I would say the parts I wrote are reliable.  ;)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Catison on November 03, 2008, 07:38:47 AM
In discussing Stockhausen, Al Moritz has defined total serialism as a sort of democratic process, an attempt to keep any one key, rhythm, speed, chord, pitch or dynamic from taking precedence over any of the others. This certainly expands the wiggle room of the serial approach, but even by that broad definition, I doubt that Carter qualifies as a serialist.

I would modify this to add that serialism is a systematic way of achieving democracy.  Schoenberg's initial flirtations with atonality shouldn't qualify as serialism.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on November 03, 2008, 07:42:20 AM
I would modify this to add that serialism is a systematic way of achieving democracy.  Schoenberg's initial flirtations with atonality shouldn't qualify as serialism.

Noted. It would be the grouping of various elements into sets and manipulating those sets. The wikipedia article on serialism is helpful here.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: bwv 1080 on November 03, 2008, 08:16:06 AM
I would say the parts I wrote are reliable.  ;)

And given that I posted Joe's parts in and consulted with him on the parts I wrote, I would concur
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on November 03, 2008, 08:25:09 AM
Oh, we're getting into a positively Ivesian attribution quandary here  ;)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: bwv 1080 on November 03, 2008, 09:45:27 AM
BTW, after having nothing for years, there are a whole slew of Carter videos on youtube - clips of rehersal with the Julliard quartet, the Piano Quintet film from the Quintets & Voices CDs and several individual performances including a couple by Ursula Oppens.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on November 10, 2008, 12:39:28 PM
For anyone in the New York City area, on Monday, Nov. 24, the New York New Music Ensemble is performing Carter's Triple Duo, on a program of works by Harvey Sollberger, Marina Rosenfeld and Annelies van Parys.  Information is on the NYNME website, here (http://www.nynme.org/).

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on November 24, 2008, 09:14:44 AM
A centernary article from, of all places, Women's Wear Daily. Notice the kind of music Mr. Carter writes is not discussed. And the title of the opera is wrong.

The Music Man
by Michelle Edgar 
Posted Monday November 24, 2008

At the age of 100, most people would be well into their retirement and simply looking forward to a quiet old age. But composer Elliott Carter plans to work faster than ever.

“Composing is the thing I enjoy most,” says the legend, who has had a major impact on modern classical music. “There’s nothing better than waking up in the morning and figuring out what I’m going to do that day, what I hope to accomplish, what kind of music I’d like to write. Or perhaps, I will try to solve some problem in music that made itself clear to me that evening.

“I used to enjoy writing it down,” he confides, “but now, I’m getting a little tired of that, so I instead try to find things I like in my head before I write them.”

Carter completes a single composition almost every week, one of the reasons for his prodigious output throughout his career. He’s composed more than 140 works—47 in the last 10 years and nine alone in 2007.

“An old man has no memory whatsoever, so I don’t have many pieces in my head,” Carter says in his self-deprecating manner. “I get stuck with whatever piece it is I’m working on and I become a fanatic. I just want to get it down and finish it. I never stop thinking about things in the piece and what to do with them. As I’m getting older, I’m getting more impatient and want to finish pieces soon.”

Most people get birthday presents wrapped up in fancy paper, but for his centenary on December 11, Carter is being honored with concerts around the world, including one at Carnegie Hall led by James Levine of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Daniel Barenboim, pianist and former conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

Levine and the Boston Symphony will introduce Carter’s Interventions for Piano and Orchestra, along with a program that includes Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring. Barenboim will perform on the piano.

“Elliott is one of the most important composers of the last 50 years—it’s a physical phenomenon that after the age of 85, he developed a new style and I don’t even dare say it is a late style because he might find another one 20 years from now,” says Barenboim. “Many years from now, people will see his music as some of most important music written of our time.”

Several years ago, Carter completed his first one-act, 47-minute opera, What’s Next?, which revolves around a car crash. He wanted to present opera in a more modern setting and based on a topic that is current. “I wanted to write about something in modern civilization that people think about a great deal, and I thought, why not an automobile accident?” Carter says. “I realized if I were to choose a literary subject that’s well known, like The Great Gatsby or Huckleberry Finn, I would have to write music that ‘goes back in time,’ but I wanted to write music that’s about right now.”

Levine says he is especially devoted to Carter’s What’s Next?, and this past summer at the Tanglewood Music Center, Levine took on the directorship of The Festival of Contemporary Music, which was dedicated to Carter’s works. “His music is always very exciting to me—from the vocal ranges to the rhythmic and harmonic intricacies to the way the characters interact with one another—it’s a kind of contrapuntal vitality you can hear through the different textures with each of the voices creating such distinct impressions,” says Levine. “It makes me wish he would continue making more operas since there’s such a degree of vital invention as he challenges opera.”

Challenging conventions has been the main theme throughout Carter’s career, beginning with his decision to study music in the first place.

His father, who was a lace importer, did everything in his power to prevent his son from pursuing a musical career. “My parents weren’t sympathetic toward me becoming a composer. In fact, they found the idea unpleasant,” he says. “They thought, very sensibly, that you can’t make much money out of it, and my father made every effort to get me off ‘the music stuff.’ So he had me move freight cars to help his business.”

His aunt was the one who opened his ears and mind to music when he was age six, and purchased a set of records for him when he was eight. Before he was 16, Carter was studying with Charles Ives, who took him to concerts. He realized he was destined to be a composer when he was 19, and first heard Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring at Carnegie Hall in 1928. “I thought it was the greatest thing I’d ever heard and thought to myself, I’d love to write something like that.” He laughs as he adds, “I remember half of the audience walked out and that’s what I liked, too.”

“It’s rather touching for me to see the halls packed today with people because there were times when I was lucky if I could fill one row at a big concert hall,” he recalls.

In 1932, he left to study in Paris, after completing his studies at Harvard, where he received a degree in English, and a master’s degree in music. Carter honed his technique in Paris, studying with Nadia Boulanger for three years. He was never a devotee of the classical masters, however. “I thought Beethoven and Brahms were boring, and it was only after I studied with Nadia, who had me listen to the whole repertoire of music, that I realized I had different tastes,” says Carter, sitting on the sofa in his Union Square apartment in New York, the only surface not covered in sheet music.

And even though he’s met such music giants as Stravinsky, Ives and Aaron Copland, and in a moment he terms a highlight, actually sat next to George Gershwin during a performance, Mozart is a personal favorite. “Mozart developed the idea of dramatic change in musical composition—a way that music had never been experienced before. I like things that change suddenly, and go off in a new direction. I like something that seems out of the frame, yet still fits into the frame,” he says, describing variations on a theme.

Carter didn’t receive recognition as a composer until midway through his career. He never imagined during the years he struggled that he would one day meet his inspiration— Stravinsky. “He was always a very enthusiastic, lively man, and liked my music a lot, which was very flattering.

“I can say it’s only in my maturity that I began being recognized. I was in my 40s already,” adds Carter.

As his reputation spread, Carter turned to literature, poetry and even films for inspiration, and was heavily influenced by the works of Russian film director Sergei Eisenstein. “I found it very interesting the way he cut his films—the way he featured different shots from the same scenes, but from different angles of the camera,” says Carter.

Reflecting on his present success, he laughs. “I don’t know whether I’ve made it even now,” he says. “What I am certain about is that I’m going to be 100 this year. I cannot but help feel that I’m getting a lot of performances because of my age.” He smiles. “If I had these kind of performances at a time when I was not strikingly old—I would have felt I had made it.”
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on November 24, 2008, 10:07:02 AM
A centernary article from, of all places, Women's Wear Daily. Notice the kind of music Mr. Carter writes is not discussed. And the title of the opera is wrong.

And thus was born the proverbial Close enough for WWD.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on November 24, 2008, 10:07:59 AM
Is hard-copy today's issue, Joe?  One of our analysts subscribes, and I could scarf this up readily . . . .
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on November 24, 2008, 10:29:10 AM
Is hard-copy today's issue, Joe

I don't know. The link is here. (http://www.wwd.com/lifestyle-news/the-music-man-1868268?gnewsid=25cd7c74086127a8c7e06e6c093f2c87)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on November 25, 2008, 08:52:38 PM
Those of you who can't attend the concert can stream the broadcast:

James Levine, the Boston Symphony Orchestra and pianist Daniel Barenboim will premiere Elliott Carter's "Interventions" on Dec. 5 in an afternoon (1-4 p.m.) program at Symphony Hall. And, wonder of wonders, WGBH will broadcast the concert live on 89.7 FM and online at wgbh.org/classical/. The announcement:

On Friday, December 5, WGBH Radio presents the world premiere--and only broadcast--of renowned composer Elliott Carter's Interventions, live from Symphony Hall in Boston. Carter, considered one of the world's greatest living composers, has extraordinarily composed Interventions in celebration of his own 100th birthday on December 11, 2008. The broadcast can be heard from 1-4pm live in New England on WGBH 89.7 and worldwide on All-Classical WGBH, online at wgbh.org/classical.


More details here. (http://www.hubarts.com/weblog/2008/11/wgbh-to-broadcast-bsos-elliott-carter-premiere-live.html)

Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: springrite on December 03, 2008, 07:00:03 AM
Nice to see the Carter thread going 40 pages long!

So, what are people doing on Carter's 100th birthday? December 11th, if I remembered correctly. I am having a listening party at home, with a few invited friends. I will be working on the program this weekend. I will bake a cake as well. For the week I will listen to all the Carter recordings I have. I have to look and dig out a few that are in some collections so I don't miss any.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on December 03, 2008, 08:19:51 AM
Nice to see the Carter thread going 40 pages long!

So, what are people doing on Carter's 100th birthday? December 11th, if I remembered correctly. I am having a listening party at home, with a few invited friends. I will be working on the program this weekend. I will bake a cake as well. For the week I will listen to all the Carter recordings I have. I have to look and dig out a few that are in some collections so I don't miss any.

What fun!  I think inviting friends to listen at home is a fine idea (frankly, any time), and this is a momentous occasion.  Post your playlist when you decide what to listen to!

I will be at Carnegie Hall, where James Levine and the Boston Symphony Orchestra are playing Carter's new piece, Interventions, for piano and orchestra, with Daniel Barenboim as soloist.  (It premieres in Boston this weekend, I believe.)  Carter will most surely be there, and...they better have a nice cake for the guy!

PS, complete program is here (http://www.carnegiehall.org/article/box_office/events/evt_10876.html?selecteddate=12112008).

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: springrite on December 03, 2008, 08:33:04 AM
What fun!  I think inviting friends to listen at home is a fine idea (frankly, any time), and this is a momentous occasion.  Post your playlist when you decide what to listen to!

I will be at Carnegie Hall, where James Levine and the Boston Symphony Orchestra are playing Carter's new piece, Interventions, for piano and orchestra, with Daniel Barenboim as soloist.  (It premieres in Boston this weekend, I believe.)  Carter will most surely be there, and...they better have a nice cake for the guy!

PS, complete program is here (http://www.carnegiehall.org/article/box_office/events/evt_10876.html?selecteddate=12112008).

--Bruce

A Carter new piece AND Le Sacre on the same program? Now, that's one program I would not miss if I were anywhere near the US!

I will post our program next week!
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on December 03, 2008, 08:36:14 AM
I will post our program next week!

And of course, some of us would be interested in the accompanying cake, as well.  ;D

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on December 03, 2008, 11:06:34 AM
A Carter new piece AND Le Sacre on the same program? Now, that's one program I would not miss if I were anywhere near the US!
I will post our program next week!

I'm not missing it, either. I'll be attending the Carnegie Hall concert with Bruce. It would appear that my hometown, Phialdelphia, is the only major U.S. city that is ignoring the occasion.

Paul, your idea of a listening party sounds like fun. I'd be there if I were anywhere near China.  ;) I don't think I'll have time to listen to all my Carter CDs, but I think I might go back this weekend and build myself a little concert program of favorites, especially the older music, like the Cello Sonata, which I haven't heard much in a while. 

I've been in touch with Bruce about this privately, but now I'll go pubic with it: Anybody who doesn't already have one should get "Elliott Carter: A Centennial Portrait in Letter and Documents" by Anne Shreffler and Felix Meyer. Very beautiful, large-format book with lots of pictures, manuscript facsimiles (Carter's handwriting is as clear as type) and new information. Available at Amazon.

Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on December 03, 2008, 11:26:10 AM
I'm not missing it, either. I'll be attending the Carnegie Hall concert with Bruce. It would appear that my hometown, Phialdelphia, is the only major U.S. city that is ignoring the occasion.

Still overwhelmed with preparations for the 35th anniversary of the release of Rocky, no doubt  8)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on December 03, 2008, 11:34:30 AM
I've been in touch with Bruce about this privately, but now I'll go pubic with it: Anybody who doesn't already have one should get "Elliott Carter: A Centennial Portrait in Letter and Documents" by Anne Shreffler and Felix Meyer. Very beautiful, large-format book with lots of pictures, manuscript facsimiles (Carter's handwriting is as clear as type) and new information. Available at Amazon.

No, it isn't  :'(
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Mark G. Simon on December 03, 2008, 11:53:18 AM
Obviously a best-seller.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on December 03, 2008, 01:34:44 PM
Obviously a best-seller.

Apparently. Even the Amazon Marketplace copies (those from other sellers) are gone.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Wendell_E on December 03, 2008, 02:04:23 PM
Nonesuch will be releasing a four-disc Carter retrospective (recordings made between 1968 and 1985) in February:

http://nonesuch.com/albums/elliot-carter-a-nonesuch-retrospective
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: springrite on December 03, 2008, 02:09:13 PM
"To celebrate Elliott Carter’s 100th birthday, Nonesuch will release Elliott Carter: A Nonesuch Retrospective, a four-disc set, in February 2009. The discs include most of the recordings Nonesuch made of Carter’s music between 1968 and 1985, with performances by such acclaimed musicians as Paul Jacobs, Gilbert Kalish, the Composers Quartet, Jan DeGaetani, Fred Sherry, Arthur Weisberg, the Contemporary Chamber Ensemble, and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra conducted by James Levine; plus a 58-page booklet with photos, score examples, texts, an essay by Paul Griffiths, and tributes by musicians and composers."

Now, that booklet with photos make this even better! I do have most of the works on this, except the double concerto. But this compilation would make a pretty (slightly long) good program!
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: springrite on December 03, 2008, 02:19:44 PM
http://www.carter100.com/

Home of the celebration.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on December 03, 2008, 04:40:46 PM
Now, that booklet with photos make this even better! I do have most of the works on this, except the double concerto. But this compilation would make a pretty (slightly long) good program!

I have all the Nonesuch recordings. It doesn't make sense for me to buy a four-CD set just for the booklet.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on December 03, 2008, 08:36:03 PM
this is new. just found it one the Boosey Web site:

Poems of Louis Zukofsky (2008)
for clarinet and mezzo-soprano

World Premiere
12/13/2008
Avery Fisher Hall, New York, NY
Lucy Shelton, soprano/Stanley Drucker, clarinet


No other info, such as length. Didn't know anything was scheduled for Dec. 13, either. Maybe another trip to NYC is in order.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on December 03, 2008, 08:43:24 PM
More info. The Boosey site seems to have it wrong. It's not at Avery Fisher Hall. It's at the Lincoln Center/Stanley H. Kaplan Penthouse, which sounds a lot sexier than it probably is. Here is the complete program:

Elliott Carter, composer, speaker; NY Phil Musicians

2.00pm, Saturday 13 December 2008

Film: An interview with Elliott Carter hosted by Steven Stucky
Elliott Carter: Clarinet Quintet
Elliott Carter: Figment III, for solo double bass
Elliott Carter: Poems of Louis Zukofsky for soprano and clarinet (world premiere)


If anyone in or near NY  hasn't heard the Clarinet Quintet yet, I warmly recommend it.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: springrite on December 03, 2008, 10:01:30 PM
I have all the Nonesuch recordings. It doesn't make sense for me to buy a four-CD set just for the booklet.

Certainly not. I meant what a bonus.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Mark G. Simon on December 04, 2008, 04:36:42 AM

Elliott Carter: Poems of Louis Zukofsky for soprano and clarinet (world premiere)[/i]

Cool beans. I've had soprano friends with whom I'd want to perform and it's either Schubert or Spohr, or the RVW Three Vocalises. I performed the latter with a soprano who would have been fully capable of singing Carter.

This program is tempting. I may have to come up for it. Plus it's one last chance to hear the great Stanley Drucker.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on December 04, 2008, 07:39:30 AM
Nice article anout Mr. Carter here (http://www.bostonherald.com/entertainment/arts_culture/view/2008_12_04_BSO_celebrates_Elliott_Carter_centenary_with_divine_%E2%80%98Interventions_/) with a link to a Q&A with the composer. He says he's finished the Pound settings. So the question, as always, is, What next?

Mark, let me know if you decide to come up to hear Drucker's performance. Maybe we could meet.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on December 04, 2008, 08:51:08 AM
Joe, thanks for the heads-up about the concert on the 13th.  Unfortunately, I have a pretty full weekend already (3 concerts and dinner on Sunday night), so I may have to pass on this one.   But I hope you and Mark get to go.

PS, the Kaplan Penthouse is a wonderful place to hear stuff: a large room seating maybe 300 people (?), with enormous windows on all sides with views of Manhattan.  It is excellent for chamber music.

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: CRCulver on December 04, 2008, 09:13:23 AM
I'm looking forward to the Three Inventions and the Symphonia here in Helsinki next week. It's nice that Carter is finally getting some performances here.

I do worry about his recent output though. The pace at which he's working, and the fact that he has now gone almost deaf, make me concerned that he is just producing generic pieces in an established style without really developing as a composer. Granted, I haven't heard anything post-2002 yet, but I've heard others make this very complaint about e.g. the Horn Concerto.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on December 04, 2008, 09:17:25 AM
Enjoy the Three Illusions and Symphonia--all wonderful live! 

PS, off-topic, I just mentioned your excellent Amazon review of Grisey's Les espaces acoustiques in the WAYLT thread, after listening to a live recording of the piece from last spring's Munich Biennale.  Very good job, explaining how spectralism works!

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on December 04, 2008, 12:51:26 PM
I'm looking forward to the Three Inventions and the Symphonia here in Helsinki next week. It's nice that Carter is finally getting some performances here.

I do worry about his recent output though. The pace at which he's working, and the fact that he has now gone almost deaf, make me concerned that he is just producing generic pieces in an established style without really developing as a composer. Granted, I haven't heard anything post-2002 yet, but I've heard others make this very complaint about e.g. the Horn Concerto.

I think you mean Three Illusions. I'm not aware of any piece called Three Inventions. As for your fear that Mr Carter might not be developing as a composer, there are a couple of points to make. First, he's a hundred years old. There's no reason he should continue to develop. It took him sixty years to stake out his territory, and if he continues to mine it, well, that's his prerogative. As I said earlier in this thread --- specifically about the Horn Concerto --- he's got nothing left to prove. We should all be so stagnant when we're ninety-nine.

Second, some of his recent short pieces, such as Catenaries and Sound Fields, are not typical of his earlier work and have surprised some of us both with their directness and by the way they build substantial structures out of simple premises.

Third, even if the bigger pieces are not breaking new ground, they are still  fine examples of Mr. Carter's maturity --- clear views from the summit, as it were. I don't know how much, say, Brahms's late Clarinet Quintet furthered his development as a composer, but it is a beautiful piece. I think of Brahms because Bruce and I heard Carter's own late Clarinet Quintet last January, and it is also a very beautiful piece.

Not that I'm arguing with you, CR. As you can probably tell, I've thought a lot about the kind of questions you raise, but Mr. Carter's situation is unique. No composer has ever remained so active so long. There is nothing and no one to compare him to, and we cannot make any informed statements about how an artist should be developing at his age. To ask more from him than what he has in fact been doing is, I think, unreasonable.

Back in 1983, when he turned 75, I spoke with Mr. Carter briefly at the Kennedy Center. When we shook hands, I ended with, "And keep going." He laughed and said, "We do what we can." Well, he has granted my wish. I can only be grateful.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on December 04, 2008, 01:05:57 PM
I think you mean Three Illusions. I'm not aware of any piece called Three Inventions.

Oops!   :-[  Interesting: I read "inventions" and thought "illusions," then typed "inventions."  Maybe I need a vacation...

Nice mentioning Brahms and Carter in the same sentence, by the way. 

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on December 04, 2008, 01:06:34 PM
Oops!   :-[  Interesting: I read "inventions" and thought "illusions," then typed "inventions."  Maybe I need a vacation...

If you need my approval, Bruce, I'll sign right off.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on December 04, 2008, 01:07:46 PM
If you need my approval, Bruce, I'll sign right off.

 ;D

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on December 05, 2008, 06:30:40 AM
Excellent interview with Mr. Carter in the Boston Globe (http://www.boston.com/ae/music/articles/2008/12/05/the_composer_in_cambridge_carter_looks_back/?page=1) today. It has a different focus: Mr. Carter's years at Harvard.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on December 05, 2008, 07:23:16 AM
Matthew Guerrieri, the author of the Globe article, has also written ablog post (http://sohothedog.blogspot.com/2008/12/tempo-e-tempi.html) containing some information he couldn't fit into the paper. Carter tells a funny story about meeting Reagan. And it turns out he was for Obama, which makes me happy.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Mark G. Simon on December 05, 2008, 08:33:28 AM
I've bought my ticket to the Carter concert on Dec. 13.

I'm taking a clarinet lesson immediately afterwards, so any socializing will probably have to take place before the concert. My teacher tells me he's participating, along with Drucker, in that evening's concert performance of Elektra.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: not edward on December 05, 2008, 08:36:32 AM
This would appear to be the sole Carter centenary event here in Toronto: http://www.newmusicconcerts.com/New_Music_Concerts/Concerts_Events/Entries/2008/12/15_Celebrating_Elliott_Carter.html

I envy you guys in NYC and Boston!
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on December 05, 2008, 09:28:36 AM
I envy you guys in NYC and Boston!

I'm lucky to be so near NYC, since nothing, absolutely nothing, is happening in Philadelphia.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on December 05, 2008, 09:35:03 AM
This would appear to be the sole Carter centenary event here in Toronto: http://www.newmusicconcerts.com/New_Music_Concerts/Concerts_Events/Entries/2008/12/15_Celebrating_Elliott_Carter.html

That actually looks pretty fun!  (I wish they'd list what they're playing, though.)  Are you going? 

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on December 05, 2008, 10:02:57 AM
Just finished listening to Interventions on the live stream. It should dispel any suspicion Mr. Carter is just coasting at this point in his life. Really a very appealing work with some striking sonorities for the orchestra. I especially like the string writing, which consists of those long lines that so impressed me in the Boston Concerto, and the way the music for the piano seems to grow out of the preceding orchestral passages --- and vice versa. The piano seems to take up not just the music, but the sonority of the orchestra and run with it. The term "Interventions" describes the structure of the music, which is threefold. In the program notes, quoted in the webcast, Carter writes that it consists fundamentally of the music for strings, with the piano "intervening" at various points, and in turn, the winds and percussion intervenes with the piano. As usual, the orchestral music is very colorful. There is a striking phrase for flute just before the end, and some oddball percussion instrument produces a kind of ringing, whooshing sound --- I'm guessing a Chinese bowl  with a pestle drawn around the rim, like a finger circling a musical glass --- somewhere near the middle. It appears first by itself, and then later with the piano. It's a memorable effect, since the sounds of piano and percussion seem to blend. Interesting, too, how some of the piano writing derivesfor techniques found initially in the smaller solo pieces. Some of the passages reminded me of Catenaires, though I'd have to hear them again to be sure.

A lovely work (even with the diminished sound quality of the computer stream). It will be a pleasure to hear it live next week.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Homo Aestheticus on December 06, 2008, 06:22:53 AM
Joe and other Carter enthusiasts,

A nice piece in today´s Guardian:

Boulez describes Carter's career as a "résumé of the century" and contrasts its arc with that of Messiaen, who was born just one day before him: while Messiaen established his approach early in his career and then, albeit in highly imaginative ways, largely stuck to it, Carter rediscovered his "compositional voice" in his 50s and "became quite adventurous. Today," Boulez continues, "he is more flexible, inventive, less complicated and easier to perform as a consequence. I am amazed . . . everybody is amazed that he still composes and creates so many new works."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2008/dec/06/elliott-carter-classical-music
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on December 06, 2008, 07:37:20 AM
It is a nice article. Thanks, Eric.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: springrite on December 08, 2008, 08:06:08 PM
Thought I had Night Fantasy on one of the Carter CDs I have. But as I prepare my program, I can not find it. Does this mean I never had it? Or did someone (once again) borrowed it and not returned?

I was going to schedule it was the closing piece. Instead, it will be the Cello Sonata.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on December 09, 2008, 07:10:00 AM
Thought I had Night Fantasy on one of the Carter CDs I have. But as I prepare my program, I can not find it. Does this mean I never had it? Or did someone (once again) borrowed it and not returned?

I was going to schedule it was the closing piece. Instead, it will be the Cello Sonata.

The cello sonata is a wonderful piece. It will do just as well as night fantasies, though it's odd you misplaced the CD, Paul. The Night Fantasies has been recorded 10 times. I'd think you'd have it lying around somewhere.

Today, Dec. 11, lovers of modern music everywhere — and we do exist — will celebrate the 100th birthday of Elliott Carter, one of the few classical composers of truly international stature America has produced. Concerts of Mr. Carter’s music are being presented this week on both U.S. coasts and several European capitals, and the tributes will continue well into next year.
Centennial commemorations are commonplace in the world of classical music, where any anniversary ending in a zero is sufficient excuse for a festival. In 2006, we heard performances in honor Mozart’s 250th birthday. Leonard Bernstein’s 90th is being observed this year, and in 2009, I’m sure, we’ll be hearing a lot of the music of Haydn to mark the 200th anniversary of that composer’s death.
What makes the Carter centenary unique is that the object of the fuss is still with us, still sharp and still writing music that sounds as fresh as ever. Many of the programs on tap this week include world premieres and recent work in addition to established masterpieces. 
I’ve heard it said that as people are living longer, 50 has become the new 30. In one case, at least, 100 is the new 75.
If you haven’t guessed it already, I’m a fan, and anyone who is a fan of anything, from Frank Sinatra to Monty Python’s Flying Circus, can understand the impulse, if not the thing itself. Mr. Carter’s music has been described, accurately and not always sympathetically, as difficult. Atonal is a good word for it. Dense is another. It has also been called dry, cerebral, academic and too European, though I disagree with all those assessments. As with most artistic movements of the 20th century, critical opinion is sharply and often acrimoniously divided. When Aaron Copland, composer of “Appalachian Spring” and the high priest of American musical populism, first heard Mr. Carter’s Third String Quartet back in the early 1970s, he famously remarked, “If that’s music, I don’t know what music is anymore.” (And the two men were lifelong friends.) On the other hand, rockers like Frank Zappa and Warren Zevon were great admirers. Phil Lesh, former bass player for the Grateful Dead, loves Mr. Carter’s work so much he financed a recording of it
So, yes, it’s tough stuff, but it’s like strong coffee or spicy food. The taste must be acquired, but once it is, much else seems bland in comparison. For me, Mr. Carter provides the same sense of discovery, of the breaking down of barriers, that older masters such as Beethoven, Stravinsky and Carl Nielsen do. Music, like any other stimulant, needs to get stronger as time goes on, or the effect is lost. Rock got louder and gnarlier over the years, and the same Third Quartet that made Copland doubt his senses is one of my all-time favorite pieces.
We all pay for our obsessions, however, and I’ve paid for mine. For one thing, it has priced me out of the romance market. Mr. Carter’s music is not something you discuss to impress dates. You don’t drag a woman to an all-Carter concert and expect her to return your calls, ever. Like the revelation that insanity runs in your family, you shouldn’t even bring it up until you know the relationship is secure.
Yet thanks to Mr. Carter’s music, and the timely appearance of the Internet, I have friends all over the world. Some I’ve met in online chat rooms. Others have e-mailed me after reading my reviews of Carter CDs at Amazon.com. One e-pal of several years’ acquaintance, a lawyer — or barrister, as they say — in Manchester, England, regularly sends me CDs he burned from BBC broadcasts of Mr. Carter’s music, keeping me abreast of new pieces that have not yet been recorded commercially. A second, who lives in Beijing, tells me he’s planning a listening party at his home Thursday with some friends. If I ever travel to China, I know whom to look up.
Still a third lives in lower Manhattan — just a block away from an apartment on West 12th Street Mr. Carter has owned since 1945 —  and we’ll be getting together at Carnegie Hall Thursday to listen to the centenarian’s latest piano concerto.
I’ll return to New York on Friday evening and again Saturday afternoon for further chamber programs. In addition to all the performances, there have also been a number of new CD releases, many newspaper articles and interviews and even a handsome coffee-table book of letters, photos and manuscript facsimiles. It’s been like waking up every morning to find a new present under the tree.
Indeed, I can’t help thinking this is what Christmas was meant to feel like, back in the day when it was actually about something other than shopping, and the visits and gift-giving lasted for a week or more.
I met Mr. Carter for the first time in 1976, when he was young man of 67, and have chatted briefly with him on several occasions since. Usually, I’ve felt tongue-tied around him — how many times can you tell a man you like what he does? — but once, I managed to make him smile. It was in 1983, after a recital at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. I was thinking of Groucho Marx, another of my heroes, who wrote in his memoirs that the nicest thing anyone ever said to him was, “Don’t ever die. Just go on living.” Trying to make a similar impression, I shook Mr. Carter’s hand and told him yet again I like what he does.
 “And keep going,” I said.
 He chuckled and replied, “We do what we can.”
Twenty-five years later, he has granted that wish many times over.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on December 09, 2008, 08:47:33 AM
Great tribute, Joe!  Thanks for the mention, too, and can't wait for the big party on Thursday. 

PS, speaking of the Cello Sonata, recently I heard a young cellist, Victoria Bass, play it about as well as I've ever heard.  She performed it as if it were her favorite sonata in the world, and yet more evidence of the increasing technical capabilities of many of today's young musicians.  Here (http://www.victoriabass.com/) is her website.

* PS, just found out that on Friday, Dec. 12 on The Today Show (for non-U.S. readers, a popular morning television show), Willard Scott will mention Carter's 100th birthday.  Every week Scott mentions 7 or 8 people around the country who are 100 years old or more, but I don't recall ever hearing him cite anyone of Carter's stature.

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on December 09, 2008, 09:40:35 AM
A cello player named Bass? You just blew my mind.  :o
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on December 09, 2008, 09:41:53 AM
* PS, just found out that on Friday, Dec. 12 on The Today Show (for non-U.S. readers, a popular morning television show), Willard Scott will mention Carter's 100th birthday.  Every week Scott mentions 7 or 8 people around the country who are 100 years old or more, but I don't recall ever hearing him cite anyone of Carter's stature.

I'll bet Mr. Carter now regrest his longevity. I wonder if Willard even know who he is, or is just mentioning him because somebody told him there's aguy in New York who's turning a hundred.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on December 09, 2008, 01:08:04 PM
On his blog called listen (here (http://listen101.blogspot.com/)), composer Steve Hicken has been making Carter posts in the last few days, commenting on the Carter works that he likes the best.  It's quite a good series.

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on December 09, 2008, 01:27:48 PM
On his blog called listen (here (http://listen101.blogspot.com/)), composer Steve Hicken has been making Carter posts in the last few days, commenting on the Carter works that he likes the best.  It's quite a good series.

--Bruce

it is good, but it reads more like program notes than Steve's own impressions of the music. I'd like to hear what he has to say.

My friend Jerry Kuderna (http://www.sfcv.org/2008/12/02/in-the-sound-fields-of-elliott-carter/), a pianist, recently posted some thoughts of his own about Carter online, too.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on December 09, 2008, 01:43:07 PM
it is good, but it reads more like program notes than Steve's own impressions of the music. I'd like to hear what he has to say.

Quote from: Steve Hicken
Many readers of this blog know how important Elliott Carter’s music has been to me, and as we approach the composer’s 100th next week, I began thinking about which of his pieces have meant the most to me, and why. Naturally, that thinking has led to a list. So, beginning today and running through the 11th, the composer’s birthday, I’ll post an annotated list of the ten Carter pieces that have meant the most to me over the years. Some of them because of what I’ve learned from them, others because I heard them at the right time, and all of them because I just like them as music.

From this post. (http://listen101.blogspot.com/2008/12/carter-at-100-part-1.html)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on December 09, 2008, 04:57:03 PM
Many readers of this blog know how important Elliott Carter’s music has been to me, and as we approach the composer’s 100th next week, I began thinking about which of his pieces have meant the most to me, and why. Naturally, that thinking has led to a list. So, beginning today and running through the 11th, the composer’s birthday, I’ll post an annotated list of the ten Carter pieces that have meant the most to me over the years. Some of them because of what I’ve learned from them, others because I heard them at the right time, and all of them because I just like them as music.

Yeah but that's only one brief graph and says nothing about the individual pieces. I like them all as music, too. ;)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: springrite on December 09, 2008, 09:00:23 PM
I have found the Night Fantasy on an Ursula Oppens compilation CD. The party has been moved up to today. I am baking the birthday cake. I will report back tomorrow.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Steve Hicken on December 10, 2008, 05:34:04 AM
Thanks for all of the hits on my blog. It's good to find this place.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on December 10, 2008, 05:50:27 AM
Welcome, Steve!
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on December 10, 2008, 07:12:07 AM
Thanks for all of the hits on my blog. It's good to find this place.

Hi Steve!  Welcome to GMG! 

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on December 10, 2008, 08:02:35 AM
More info. The Boosey site seems to have it wrong. It's not at Avery Fisher Hall. It's at the Lincoln Center/Stanley H. Kaplan Penthouse, which sounds a lot sexier than it probably is. Here is the complete program:

Elliott Carter, composer, speaker; NY Phil Musicians

2.00pm, Saturday 13 December 2008

Film: An interview with Elliott Carter hosted by Steven Stucky
Elliott Carter: Clarinet Quintet
Elliott Carter: Figment III, for solo double bass
Elliott Carter: Poems of Louis Zukofsky for soprano and clarinet (world premiere)


If anyone in or near NY  hasn't heard the Clarinet Quintet yet, I warmly recommend it.

Well, heck, I just bit the bullet and got a ticket for this on Saturday!  It's a busy weekend, but hey, EC only turns 100 once, so might as well experience as much as possible.  If anyone else is going, P.M. me...

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on December 10, 2008, 08:41:48 AM
Word, Steve! This place will drive you crazy ...
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on December 10, 2008, 05:05:06 PM
Elliott Carter on Charlie Rose tonight? Lisa Hirsch (http://irontongue.blogspot.com/2008/12/elliott-carter-on-charlie-rose.html) says its true!
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: springrite on December 10, 2008, 09:05:45 PM
We had a wonderful Carter Birthday party last night!

We started with Esprit Deux (sorry if any of the spelling is not correct!), then went on to:

String Quartet #2
Night Fantasy
String Quartet #3
Clarinet Concerto
Symphonia
Cello Sonata
90+

I would have loved to play A Mirror on Which to Dwell, but we did not fit that one in.

Of course, we listened to some other music as well, including final scene of Salome, Crumb Cello Sonata, etc. The party ended about an hour past midnight (we have to because we started it a day early. It needs to end ON his birthday at least!) I was still so excited that I could not sleep. So I stayed up reading the Nadia Boulanger (Carter's teacher) biography.

All in all, a very enjoyable evening. The group decided to have gathering every 2 to 3 weeks, alternating between Music Nights (non-vocal) and Night at the Opera. (The Night at the Opera should make Effeviking <or was it Brunhilde?> very happy!)


PS: The banana nut birthday cake was delicious as well!
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Mark G. Simon on December 11, 2008, 05:25:47 AM
Sounds like fun. I'm glad you were able to work in two clarinet works.  :)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on December 11, 2008, 08:34:37 AM
We had a wonderful Carter Birthday party last night!

We started with Esprit Deux (sorry if any of the spelling is not correct!), then went on to:

String Quartet #2
Night Fantasy
String Quartet #3
Clarinet Concerto
Symphonia
Cello Sonata
90+

I would have loved to play A Mirror on Which to Dwell, but we did not fit that one in.

Of course, we listened to some other music as well, including final scene of Salome, Crumb Cello Sonata, etc. The party ended about an hour past midnight (we have to because we started it a day early. It needs to end ON his birthday at least!) I was still so excited that I could not sleep. So I stayed up reading the Nadia Boulanger (Carter's teacher) biography.

All in all, a very enjoyable evening. The group decided to have gathering every 2 to 3 weeks, alternating between Music Nights (non-vocal) and Night at the Opera. (The Night at the Opera should make Effeviking <or was it Brunhilde?> very happy!)


PS: The banana nut birthday cake was delicious as well!


Sounds like a swell party!  Like the mix, adding Richard Strauss and Crumb...and how great that it spawned future get-togethers. 

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on December 11, 2008, 08:50:26 AM
Nice radio portrait of Mr. Carter here. (http://www.here-now.org/shows/2008/12/20081210_17.asp) I recognize the recording of the Variations used. It's the Prausnitz version with the New Philharmonia Orchestra, and I know this because somebody coughs near the end.

Paul, you get together sounded wonderful, but I'm confused. Just what is this Cello Sonata by Crumb of which you speak? I didn't know he ever wrote anything called a "sonata."

Happy Carter Day to the world!
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: springrite on December 11, 2008, 08:55:14 AM

Paul, you get together sounded wonderful, but I'm confused. Just what is this Cello Sonata by Crumb of which you speak? I didn't know he ever wrote anything called a "sonata."


After the Ancient Voice of Children and Microkosmos, it is probably one of Crumb's most famous and most frequently performed and recorded pieces. I have no less than 4 recordings of it and have attended about the same number of performances.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on December 11, 2008, 09:11:40 AM
After the Ancient Voice of Children and Microkosmos, it is probably one of Crumb's most famous and most frequently performed and recorded pieces.

I'm feeling really dull here. Are we talking about Voice of the Whale?
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: springrite on December 11, 2008, 09:17:41 AM
I'm feeling really dull here. Are we talking about Voice of the Whale?

No, it is the smaller four-legged kind.

Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on December 11, 2008, 09:37:17 AM
And, of course, from the geriatric (http://www.newsweek.com/id/173346) point of view.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: springrite on December 11, 2008, 09:58:05 AM
Sounds like fun. I'm glad you were able to work in two clarinet works.  :)

Actually, three. Forgot to mention a Karl Henning piece featuring the clarinet was also in the mix!
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on December 11, 2008, 09:59:12 AM
Actually, three. Forgot to mention a Karl Henning piece featuring the clarinet was also in the mix!

Honored, I am sure!
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: DavidW on December 11, 2008, 10:01:35 AM
On the radio this morning they said that it was Carter's 100th birthday.  They played his Elegy and I enjoyed it, very romantic sounding and not just cacophony of strange dissonant noises. >:D
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on December 11, 2008, 10:03:04 AM
I could use some strange dissonant noises this afternoon, actually . . . .
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: DavidW on December 11, 2008, 10:05:02 AM
I could use some strange dissonant noises this afternoon, actually . . . .

Oh?  You should invite the Pink Harp over then (or whatever he's called these days)! ;D
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: springrite on December 11, 2008, 10:05:51 AM
I could use some strange dissonant noises this afternoon, actually . . . .

Another advantage of having Kimi aounrd at a very vocal yet non-verbal stage!  ;D
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on December 11, 2008, 10:56:09 AM
On the radio this morning they said that it was Carter's 100th birthday.  They played his Elegy

Yeah, that's about what I expect from radio programmers

This afternoon, before departing for New York, I've listened to the Fourth String Quartet, with the Composers Quartet, and the Reflexions (live broadcast recording). Both very attractive works. The Fourth Quartet is kind of gnarly, perhaps, but the central adagio is really very beautiful, and the ending, with the alternating pp and f, corda-senza corda, is one of Carter's most memorable stretched of music. The Composers' recording, long out of print, is my favorite of the three that have been done. I'm lookng forward --- and forward, and forward --- to the Pacifica release.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: DavidW on December 11, 2008, 11:33:01 AM
Well Joe, your review (on amazon) has convinced me to order the Pacifica Quartet's recording of SQs 1 and 5. :)

I don't think I've ever heard #5, before it was #1-4 performed by the fuddy duddy Juilliard.  I think I liked #2 best, but it's been so long since I've heard them I don't even remember.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on December 11, 2008, 11:51:38 AM
Well Joe, your review (on amazon) has convinced me to order the Pacifica Quartet's recording of SQs 1 and 5. :)

Just bought it about a half-hour ago.  I've heard No. 5 several times live by the Arditti Quartet, but not this recent recording, and in addition to Joe's fine review, others have been glowing.

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Bogey on December 11, 2008, 05:01:35 PM
Carter featured on NPR this evening:

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=98081089&ps=bb1
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: DavidW on December 11, 2008, 05:35:39 PM
Carter featured on NPR this evening:

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=98081089&ps=bb1

Yeah that's what I heard on the radio. :)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: jwinter on December 12, 2008, 07:01:21 AM
From today's New York Times:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/12/arts/music/12carter.html?_r=1&hp (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/12/arts/music/12carter.html?_r=1&hp)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on December 12, 2008, 10:16:01 AM
Wonderful concert last night. Carnegie Hall was full, despite the cold and driving rain. I won't get into a detailed review of the performance of Interventions, since the piece is still new to me, and I certainly didn't grasp it all. Some impressions, though: First, the exotic whirring, ringing sound I detected in the live stream was nothing more than a pair of maracas. I loved the openness of the string line. As I said to Bruce afterward, the orchestral writing had a spaciousness that I can best describe as Coplandesque --- in feeling, if not in the actual sound. Interventions may be Carter's prairie piece. (It took me a few minutes to adjust to the Rite of Spring, which followed Interventions, because the sound worlds are so different. Early Stravinsky seemed much more concentrated than late Carter.) At one point, there was a beautiful interval played by pair of flutes embedded in the string line. It lasted only a moment, but it was memorable. As in much of Carter's late orchestral writing, a large number of percussion instruments are used to provide tone color. For the most part, they are played softly, though there are a few solid thumps here and there. Toward the end, I  thought I detected in the piano part the sort of scurrying, chirdless runs out of which Carter constructed Catenaires, which would make sense, since Catenaires was completed just before Interventions was begun. In all, a bright, attractive piece that made a lasting impression on a powerhouse program. 

One other note: Carter had based his music, philosophically, on the notion that time is in constant flux and nothing ever repeats, but it struck me last night that things do come around again. Mr. Carter was inspired to become a composer when he heard the BSO play the Rite of Spring at Carnegie Hall, and here he was, 84 years later, listening to the same orchestra play the same music in the same place. I first met Mr. Carter in 1974, and here I was, 34 years later, watching him take a bow on his 100th birthday.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on December 12, 2008, 10:21:10 AM
"Nothing ever repeats" is contrary to most of our experiences, isn't it?
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Mark G. Simon on December 12, 2008, 11:40:12 AM
A picture of Carter, seated in Carnegie Hall, was briefly run on the front page of the New York Times website last night, with a caption mentioning his 100th birthday and the premier of his Interventions.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on December 12, 2008, 11:47:38 AM
here is the rose interview

A conversation with Elliott Carter, Daniel Barenboim and James Levine (31'45)
>> http://www.charlierose.com/view/interview/9774

Not bad, actually. I liked much of what Barenboim had to say. When Rose addressed Carter, he reminded me of a waitress serving an old man in a diner: he spoke loudly and slowly amnd repated himself.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on December 12, 2008, 01:16:40 PM
It was a marvelous evening in so many ways.  If nothing else--and there was much else--just to see a packed Carnegie Hall standing and cheering Carter was heartwarming.  And PS, during the concert, Carter was listening as intently as someone a quarter of his age.  (In contrast, several people near me were dozing, including one audibly snoring.) 

Joe has already given the piece some nice words, and I agree: it's hard to grasp in one hearing.  Sometimes the orchestra seems to make clouds of notes that rush by like schools of fish, with the piano then duplicating some of the orchestral textures--except when the piano "intervenes" with its own ideas.  Lots of fascinating textures appear, then vanish.

After Inverventions, when Carter came to the stage, Levine led the orchestra in "Happy Birthday," with many in the audience joining in.  And then they wheeled out this huge cake (about 7 tiers) with a sparkler on top, which Carter eventually blew out to more applause.

More Carter tonight and tomorrow, with a world premiere at each concert.  I am convinced that writing music is one of the things that is keeping him vital.  Of course, there are other factors, but he definitely seems unusually sharp given the universe of 100-year-olds. 

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on December 12, 2008, 01:27:53 PM
(In contrast, several people near me were dozing, including one audibly snoring.) 

How could anyone doze during Beethoven, Carter or Stravinsky?
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on December 12, 2008, 01:36:48 PM
Beethoven is certainly cozy-making.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on December 12, 2008, 01:42:26 PM
How could anyone doze during Beethoven, Carter or Stravinsky?

Believe me, I was a bit shocked, too, but there you go.

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on December 12, 2008, 01:46:22 PM
Beethoven is certainly cozy-making.

Odd that people think of Beethoven's music as relaxing. As Paul Griffith's has pointed out, when it was new, his orchetral music was --- outside of thunder and ordnance --- the loudest sound a person could hear hear.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on December 12, 2008, 02:58:37 PM
yea i have to agree after watching him on charlie rose, he seems very lively for guy who's 100.

Although his interviews have become sterotyped. he tends to say the same thing over anf over, though I expect that's what happens when you're 100 and you've been asked the same questions fro decades. He did seem to be having a good time. It was also interesting how, toward the end, Levine and Barenboim took over the interview and left Rose out of it.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on December 12, 2008, 04:32:41 PM
oh i wouldn't know this, im not an obsessive Carter-buff like you.

Help me.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on December 13, 2008, 05:59:55 AM
Odd that people think of Beethoven's music as relaxing. As Paul Griffith's has pointed out, when it was new, his orchetral music was --- outside of thunder and ordnance --- the loudest sound a person could hear hear.

It's gotten louder since.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on December 13, 2008, 03:21:27 PM
What a great three days it has been.  Just returned from the final Carter concert, an afternoon by members of the New York Philharmonic, with a great new set of songs, Poems of Louis Zukofsky (2008) with Lucy Shelton singing and Stanley Drucker on clarinet.  As usual, Carter seems to respond to poetry with unusual sensitivity.  Jon Deak on double bass offered Figment III (2007), and the musical portion ended with the Clarinet Quintet (2007) which Joe and I heard last spring at the Focus! festival.  Drucker did a great job with a piece that really deserves a fine recording as soon as possible.

The afternoon began with an excellent interview: Carter talking with Matias Tarnopolsky (VP, Artistic Planning for the Philharmonic), who began by asking Carter, "Did you compose today?" and the answer, "yes."  The first half continued with a very fine film of Carter talking with composer Steven Stucky, who asked about some of the composer's recent works, the poets he admires, and many other subjects. 

About 300 people were there.  I was also delighted to meet Mark G. Simon as well, who joined Joe and me and a few others for the concert.  Still can't believe Carter is in such good shape at 100, and in such a fertile creative mode.

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Dundonnell on December 13, 2008, 03:41:42 PM
I feel that I ought to say that although I am not on Carter's wavelength and can make very little of his music(apart from the early Symphony from 1942) I respect and honour his magnificent achievement in reaching this wonderful age while still remaining active as a composer.

I simply don't understand an attitude which says in effect I don't understand or appreciate a composer's music so ipso facto it is not 'good music'. I don't 'get Carter' anymore than I 'get' early Penderecki, or late Lutoslawski or Boulez or Stockhausen. Doesn't mean these composers should not merit all the praise they deserve from their admirers :)

So...belated Hapy Birthday, Mr. Carter. God bless your endeavours!
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on December 13, 2008, 03:50:06 PM
I wish everyone were able to comment on composers whom they don't care for with such tolerance!  :D

My not-so-secret confession: it took me years to warm up to Carter's music.  Despite being a big fan of other living composers, and of contemporary music general, I just never had that "it" moment when I "wanted to hear a given piece again" (which IMHO is an important thing to pay attention to).  I took a short piece, Espirit Rude/Esprit Doux (for flute and clarinet), and listened to it over and over--not hard to do since it's only four minutes long.  But that didn't seem to work. 

But eventually the moment came when I heard a piece that did it for me, the Variations for Orchestra (Levine's recording with the CSO), and now I'm exploring lots of his other stuff.

But Carter's longevity, and productivity in old age, is quite unprecedented.  I wouldn't be surprised if he's around for at least another five or even ten years.

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on December 13, 2008, 04:19:34 PM
My not-so-secret confession: it took me years to warm up to Carter's music.  Despite being a big fan of other living composers, and of contemporary music general, I just never had that "it" moment when I "wanted to hear a given piece again" (which IMHO is an important thing to pay attention to).  I took a short piece, Espirit Rude/Esprit Doux (for flute and clarinet), and listened to it over and over--not hard to do since it's only four minutes long.  But that didn't seem to work.

But eventually the moment came when I heard a piece that did it for me, the Variations for Orchestra (Levine's recording with the CSO), and now I'm exploring lots of his other stuff.

I'll take up the "what was it like when you first 'met' Carter" talking-stick . . . .

For me, Carter was one among a long list of 20th-c. composers with whose music I was first made acquainted in my Music History sequence at Wooster.  I first went to Wooster with the intent to major in clarinet performance, but was encouraged by my first-year Music Theory professor to consider a double-major, perhaps in composition . . . the idea of actually studying composition ignited me (I had tried writing the odd bit before then, an experience which most of all made me feel I needed something more, in order to be adequate to the task).  In all events, some of the music we had played in various bands which most fired me up, were 20th-c. pieces written by people who to me were nothing more than names.  Then, as we were taught a survey of modern music, my ears just drank everything in, it was all so new and wonderful.  The first Carter piece I ever heard was the Double Concerto, and of course, I did not understand a note of it, but it was a thrill to listen to:  I knew I liked it, and I wanted to get to know it better.

Anyway, I've since listened to about six discs' worth of Carter's music (and have heard some three pieces of his live in Symphony Hall . . . I uploaded a facsimile of his autograph here (http://henningmusick.blogspot.com/2008/12/happy-birthday-mr-carter.html)), and I do like most of it, and some of it very well indeed.  It's not the sort of music I write, myself, but then, I'm also crazy about the music of Vaughan Williams, which is pretty much unlike the way I write my own music, too.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Dundonnell on December 13, 2008, 04:42:06 PM
"Had We But World Enough And Time" ;D :)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on December 13, 2008, 05:13:05 PM
Not if the music sucks ...it's necessary to distinguish.

It is; pity you're incapable of it.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Mark G. Simon on December 13, 2008, 09:06:17 PM
It was a pleasure to meet Bruce and Joe for the first time. I had hoped to meet them before the concert, but traffic into the Lincoln Tunnel was inching along bumper to bumper all the way back to the New Jersey Turnpike, and I was just glad to get to Lincoln Center by 2:00. There were 2 grand old men there at the concert: Carter, of course, but also Stanley Drucker, 1st clarinet of the New York Philharmonic since about the same time Carter started writing metric modulations. Both of them are in excellent shape and still going strong.

Carter walks slowly, stooped over with a cane, but his mind is as sharp as a tack. He was interviewed twice, once live and once on film. He talked about his views on modern poetry and the musical setting thereof, and about writing for voice. He said he was tempted to write an opera on Much Ado About Nothing, but then he figured Berlioz had already done it.

For the Zukofsky songs, I found myself following the clarinet line, listening to how Drucker handles the various notes in different registers, and how he reacts to the quick changes in mood. The music is hard, even for him, though he only got the part 2 weeks ago. I didn't even try to absorb the vocal line. I found the Clarinet Quartet totally engrossing, from the opening "Beethoven's 5th" figure to the abrupt pauses at the close (topped off with a wistful clarinet doo-dad). The drama inherent in Carter's music comes out stronger in live performance than on records. A lot of the rapid interplay between instruments went by so fast, I wanted at many points to stop and do an instant replay in slow motion, as they do in Football games on TV. As it was, they had enough time when it was finished, that they could have played it again and still been out of the hall by 4:00. I really wanted to hear the piece a second time, so I could catch more details.



Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on December 14, 2008, 06:31:59 AM
It was a pleasure to meet Bruce and Joe for the first time. I had hoped to meet them before the concert, but traffic into the Lincoln Tunnel was inching along bumper to bumper all the way back to the New Jersey Turnpike, and I was just glad to get to Lincoln Center by 2:00. There were 2 grand old men there at the concert: Carter, of course, but also Stanley Drucker, 1st clarinet of the New York Philharmonic since about the same time Carter started writing metric modulations. Both of them are in excellent shape and still going strong.

Carter walks slowly, stooped over with a cane, but his mind is as sharp as a tack. He was interviewed twice, once live and once on film. He talked about his views on modern poetry and the musical setting thereof, and about writing for voice. He said he was tempted to write an opera on Much Ado About Nothing, but then he figured Berlioz had already done it.

For the Zukofsky songs, I found myself following the clarinet line, listening to how Drucker handles the various notes in different registers, and how he reacts to the quick changes in mood. The music is hard, even for him, though he only got the part 2 weeks ago. I didn't even try to absorb the vocal line. I found the Clarinet Quartet totally engrossing, from the opening "Beethoven's 5th" figure to the abrupt pauses at the close (topped off with a wistful clarinet doo-dad). The drama inherent in Carter's music comes out stronger in live performance than on records. A lot of the rapid interplay between instruments went by so fast, I wanted at many points to stop and do an instant replay in slow motion, as they do in Football games on TV. As it was, they had enough time when it was finished, that they could have played it again and still been out of the hall by 4:00. I really wanted to hear the piece a second time, so I could catch more details.

Fabulous, Mark.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on December 14, 2008, 06:46:13 AM
Well, this is disturbing. I just tried to post a very long review, and it's disappeared. Bastard.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Mark G. Simon on December 14, 2008, 07:38:27 AM
Elliott Carter at 100 plus 2 days:
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Mark G. Simon on December 14, 2008, 07:45:05 AM
Carter is amused:
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on December 14, 2008, 11:08:41 AM
OK  let's try this thing again:

The Clarinet Quintet sounded lush in the intimacy of the penthouse, but there was a problem with balance. Sometimes the string players overwhelmed the soloist, a result, perhaps, of having Drucker stand in the middle. (Everyone was standing except the cellist.) At the premiere in January, Neidich sat off to the side, and the Juilliard probably prepared more thoroughly than the Philharmonic musicians. There was also glitch at the end. According to he program notes,  the quintet concludes with "a final wistful flourish in the clarinet alone." But yesterday, the last gesture came from the violist, Irene Breslaw. Maybe she was lost, or maybe the momentum just carried her forward for an extra note. In any case, I agree with Mark: I would have liked to hear it again. In fact, the whole musical portion of the program could have been repeated, and it would still have been over by 4:30.

Shelton and Drucker played the four Zukofsky songs Carter has completed. He said in his interview he wanted to write about ten of them, and he had worked on one of them that morning, though he hadn't completed it. With all the excitement of the past few days, he said, he had slept late.

While Mark was concentrating on the instrumental part, I was taken with the sonority the instrument and soprano produced together. In the last song, on the word "glory," the two voices produced a tight harmony that made my  ears ring. I'm sure there's an acoustical term for the way the sound waves blended, but it was beautiful effect. Unfortunately, it would probably never happen again in any other venue.

A word "late style," which Bruce, his friend Jim and I discussed over a drink at O'Neal's after the concert. Jim raised the example of Falstaff as an example of a composer producing an atypical masterpiece (Verdi's only comic opera) late in life. But Falstaff was a one-off. Mr. Carter has written as much music in the past fifteen years as he wrote in the previous eighty-five. In his case, the late style is the style, and more representative of his work than the big, mid-period masterpieces. I used to think the best introduction to Carter's music was the cello and harpsichord sonatas and the Variations. Now I'm thinking a better approach is to start at the end and work backwards. The Enchanted Preludes, the Boston Concerto, and the Clarinet Quintet (which has got to be recorded) are the places to start.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Guido on December 15, 2008, 09:18:14 AM
I recently attended a lecture given by the great musicologist and academic Robin Holloway on Carter's life and music - truly fascinating insights on a composer that he clearly admires a lot. He had lots of kind words to say about many works and thinks that he is almost certainly one of 'The Masters', but thinks that Carter has gradually been drying up over the last 20 years - with two notable exceptions - The Opera What Next? which he thought was great (though he described the libretto as pretentious tosh and expressed surprise that such an intelligent, knowledgable and well read man as Carter would have settled for it) and also the incredible Symphonia: sum fluxae pretium spei. I disagree to an extent, as far as the works I have heard from the late period - I love the cello concerto and Boston concerto too as well as very much liking the clarinet concerto. But it's interesting to hear a dissenting opinion on the late music especially from someone who is so knowledgable and generally insightful. I wish I could remember more of the lecture - but it is now over two weeks ago and I haven't been around. Maybe I'll ask him stuff in the new year.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on December 15, 2008, 09:29:40 AM
I, too, have to disagree with Mr. Holloway. Mr Carter has produced some very string music in his extended chamber pieces, which he still writes from time to time. I like the Oboe Quartet, the Piano Quintet and the Trilogy for Oboe and Harp and the Fifth String Quartet, especially. I'd need to hear the Clarinet Quintet a couple more times to put in that company, but I think its certanly an attractive piece. I also like the works for large ensemble, like the Asko Concerto and Reflexions, and the short piano works. Drying up?  I don't think so, but the character of the new music is certainly different from the work of the 60s and 70s, and it might not be to the taste of some hard core Carterians. I expect the controversy about which is the real or best Carter will continue and grow, like trying to pick the best Beatles album or Sinatra's best period: an endless source of discussion with no conclusions reached.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Mark G. Simon on December 15, 2008, 09:55:21 AM
I might have said something similar before last Saturday. I always figured it was because my head only had enough room for so many Carter pieces. The Clarinet Quintet has convinced me that I need to make more room.

I remember hearing a lecture by Robin Holloway, around 1981 when I was still at Cornell. He was talking about his own music. He was starting to write multi-stylistic pieces, as were many composers at that time. I think it was his Second Concerto for Orchestra he was talking about. I recall some gnarly and complex music, and also a sudden full-orchestral outburst of "Arrivaderci, Roma". I don't remember anything of what he said about it.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Guido on December 15, 2008, 01:23:16 PM
I'm looking to get a recording of a mirror on which to dwell and both of these CDs look appealing as I don't have the couplings of either of them. Is one more recommendable than the other? The oboe concerto looks intriguing, but then I know nothing about the other vocal works either.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Carter-Concerto-Espirit-Mirror-Penthode/dp/B00005MO9P/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1229375979&sr=1-3
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Carter-Vocal-Works-IMPORT/dp/B000003GI9/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1229376084&sr=1-1
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on December 15, 2008, 01:30:36 PM
I have the second recording, with Christine Schadeberg singing Mirror, and it's excellent.  I also think Syringa is one of his best works as well and the performance here is quite good. 

Since I've heard the other recording is also very recommendable, it might come down to whether you're more in the mood for a bunch of vocal works or for chamber music.

Joe probably has both... ;D

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on December 15, 2008, 01:47:35 PM
I do, in fact, have both. As for Mirror, the Bridge recording is preferable. You also get Syringa, which is Carter's greatest vocal score.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Guido on December 15, 2008, 01:55:56 PM
Cheers Joe, I have ordered the latter CD. Good to know that the other pieces are worth hearing too - looking forward to Syringa.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Homo Aestheticus on December 15, 2008, 06:42:55 PM
Joe and other Carterians,

From the  Daily Telegraph  last week:

Aaron Copland, creator of the acceptable, populist face of American art music, was cool about his younger colleague's music.

"He didn't mention me in his book about American music, which hurt a little," says Carter. "Later he came round to my music, but only after Leonard Bernstein recorded it."

But what's wrong with Copland's idea that music should be comprehensible to a broad public? "Well, I did believe that for a while, and wrote several pieces in that style. But then I realised the public stayed indifferent whatever I did, so that gave me the freedom to say to hell with them and do what I really wanted to do."


http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/music/3563923/Elliott-Carter-Adventures-of-an-American-legend.html
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on December 15, 2008, 07:19:54 PM
Quote
"He didn't mention me in his book about American music, which hurt a little," says Carter. "Later he came round to my music, but only after Leonard Bernstein recorded it."

There, I feel better about Lenny already  ;D
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on December 16, 2008, 11:47:32 AM
. . .  the character of the new music is certainly different from the work of the 60s and 70s, and it might not be to the taste of some hard core Carterians.

You've got to allow the artist to go where he chooses.  Debussy complained that the debussystes were killing him.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brünnhilde forever on December 16, 2008, 04:29:15 PM
I had posted this link at a Boulez thread, it applies to Elliot Carter as well:

http://www.mdt.co.uk/MDTSite/product//3078398.htm

This afternoon I spent an hour and a half in the company of this marvelous, talented, loving and of course outstanding composer. An in-depth film by Frank Scheffer filled with interviews, performances, rehearsals and long walks. Highly recommend it. It is available as a single DVD also.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brünnhilde forever on December 16, 2008, 07:03:52 PM
: HAPPY 100TH BIRTHDAY!

Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Catison on December 17, 2008, 05:37:55 AM
Listening to the fourth quartet, I had a thought.  It is possible to say that this quartet is not atonal?  There always seems to be a bit of that open Copland-esque tonality hanging behind the notes.  I love this piece.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on December 17, 2008, 06:12:59 AM
I still need to make the acquaintance of the Third & Fourth Quartets.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: not edward on December 19, 2008, 10:40:06 AM
Starting in 20 minutes on BBC Radio 3, a Carter centenary concert including the Horn, Cello and Boston concertos, plus the UK premieres of Sound Fields and Mad Regales and the world premiere of Wind Rose.

Listen at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio3/index.shtml?logo
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Homo Aestheticus on December 20, 2008, 08:33:24 PM
ELLIOTT CARTER AT 100 You could say that Elliott Carter has worked his whole life within the box of the musical and academic establishment. Still, his ingenious, formidably complex music has always presented outside-the-box challenges, with comparable rewards to listeners willing to follow him on his visionary journey. On Dec. 11, his 100th birthday, Mr. Carter was celebrated at Carnegie Hall with a performance of his new work for piano and orchestra, “Interventions,” with James Levine conducting the Boston Symphony and Daniel Barenboim as soloist.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/21/arts/music/21tomm.html?ref=music

Will Anthony Tommassini ever drop ... "formidably complex music"... in connection with Carter's music ? 

What does that phrase ultimately mean ?
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on December 21, 2008, 04:33:57 PM
Will Anthony Tommassini ever drop ... "formidably complex music"... in connection with Carter's music ? 

What does that phrase ultimately mean ?

This is not directly its meaning, but: How easily can one follow the piece in its entirety on a single hearing?
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Guido on December 21, 2008, 04:46:14 PM
ELLIOTT CARTER AT 100 You could say that Elliott Carter has worked his whole life within the box of the musical and academic establishment. Still, his ingenious, formidably complex music has always presented outside-the-box challenges, with comparable rewards to listeners willing to follow him on his visionary journey. On Dec. 11, his 100th birthday, Mr. Carter was celebrated at Carnegie Hall with a performance of his new work for piano and orchestra, “Interventions,” with James Levine conducting the Boston Symphony and Daniel Barenboim as soloist.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/21/arts/music/21tomm.html?ref=music

Will Anthony Tommassini ever drop ... "formidably complex music"... in connection with Carter's music ? 

What does that phrase ultimately mean ?

The phrase means that Carter's music is formidable in its complexity. I'm guessing that the phrase irks you because you would reserve it for only three pieces by a certain composer. Surely you do not need us to enumerate the ways in which a piece of music might be complex, especially Carter's scores?
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: not edward on December 21, 2008, 06:00:15 PM
Excellent, thanks. I was frustrated that I didn't get to listen to much of the broadcast when it was live as it kept cutting out; I'm glad they've put it up as on-demand streaming audio now.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on December 22, 2008, 06:16:27 PM
well, i just finished listening to that and I have to say none of it was particularly good....sounds as if he's having a bit of an identity crisis...i.e. sound fields, wind rose (yawn)....or he's just sort-of recycling but more sparse...

Well, I just finished reading that, and I have to say it isn't particularly good.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Homo Aestheticus on December 22, 2008, 07:12:46 PM
Joe, Edward, others

More on Carter this past Sunday:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2008/dec/21/elliott-carter-vingt-regards


 
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Mark G. Simon on December 22, 2008, 10:08:43 PM
Quote
Wind Rose (2008), a BBC commission for 24 wind instruments. After playing it once, Knussen dispatched it a second time, arguing that we might never see so many clarinets - eight - on stage again, though he might have said the same for the seven flutes.... So often underpinning all is the low growl of that hulking St Bernard of the orchestra, the contrabass clarinet.

Now that's something I've got to hear! And Knussen wasn't afraid to play it a second time.

Thanks, Eric.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Mark G. Simon on December 24, 2008, 05:26:40 AM
Cool beans.

Boy, this does not sound like your usual Carter piece. (Wind Rose) If someone had asked me to guess the composer, I don't know who I would have said, but it wouldn't be Carter. I admit, I kept waiting for the moment when it would get more active and do the usual Carter stuff with multiple tempos  and the like. Next time I'll be able to listen to it just for what it is.

One thing this piece is is a study in sonorities and chord voicings. Many of the harmonies are spread out over a wide range, some of them are densely clustered together. The wind sonorities give them a metallic sheen, like one of those Frank Gehry buildings.

Some of Carter's chamber works have moments like this, where activity falls away leaving shifting sustained sonorities. This is the only piece I've heard where this goes on for the whole piece.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: not edward on December 24, 2008, 09:07:49 AM
Cool beans.

Boy, this does not sound like your usual Carter piece. (Wind Rose) If someone had asked me to guess the composer, I don't know who I would have said, but it wouldn't be Carter. I admit, I kept waiting for the moment when it would get more active and do the usual Carter stuff with multiple tempos  and the like. Next time I'll be able to listen to it just for what it is.

One thing this piece is is a study in sonorities and chord voicings. Many of the harmonies are spread out over a wide range, some of them are densely clustered together. The wind sonorities give them a metallic sheen, like one of those Frank Gehry buildings.

Some of Carter's chamber works have moments like this, where activity falls away leaving shifting sustained sonorities. This is the only piece I've heard where this goes on for the whole piece.
You might wish to listen to Sound Fields near the start of the same broadcast then; it is almost a companion piece to this one, but even more minimal in texture and for string orchestra. (Sound Fields was written first, and Oliver Knussen requested a similar work for winds, hence Wind Rose.)

I see the first Fragment for string quartet, written back in 1994, which arguably does some of the same thing for most of its duration, as a possible ancestor for these pieces. For Sound Fields, I also hear something of The Unanswered Question and perhaps late orchestral Feldman (For Samuel Beckett seems to me to be a relevant point of comparison, particularly harmonically).
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on December 24, 2008, 10:03:24 AM
I think there is a precedent for Wind Rose in Carter's output, and that's the Eight Etudes and a Fantasy for Woodwind Quartet (1950), especially Etude VII, which is a study on one note, with an emphasis on "color and dynamic shapes," in Schiff's words. Wind Rose isn't an exact reproduction, but it does have some of the same feel. Mark talks about sonorities and chord voicings, and those are exactly the concerns of the Etudes.

On first two hearings, though, it reminded me of Ligeti's Atmospheres. I could piicture Dave Bowman's little pod passing through the star gate.

An attractive little piece. May it and all new Carter works be recorded soon, so that sins may be forgiven.  >:D
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: not edward on December 24, 2008, 10:56:47 AM
I think there is a precedent for Wind Rose in Carter's output, and that's the Eight Etudes and a Fantasy for Woodwind Quartet (1950), especially Etude VII, which is a study on one note, with an emphasis on "color and dynamic shapes," in Schiff's words.
Very good point. I'd forgotten about that work as I've not listened to it for a long time. I guess I'll have to give it a whirl again.

What's more shocking is that Knussen apparently commissioned and encouraged Carter to write something like this??? again, i dont like any of it..I recently heard Interventions for piano & orchestra and that was better then any of these works, unmistakably Carter....still, I look forward to hearing the Clarinet Quintet & Flute Concerto  ...
I'm guessing Knussen liked Sound Fields. However, I'm certainly wanting to hear Interventions and the other two works; even if I don't think Carter's work is at the same consistently high standard that it was at his peak, much of what he writes I still find illuminating.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on December 24, 2008, 11:34:34 AM
even if I don't think Carter's work is at the same consistently high standard that it was at his peak, much of what he writes I still find illuminating.

Some are. Some aren't. I think the Cello and Boston concertos, both from his 90s,  are as good as anything he's written, and the Oboe Quartet and Piano Quintet are major works, to my mind. (Or is this what ou meant by "consistently" high?) Much else seems small, true, but maybe the smallness and the intimacy are the point.

The notes to Oppens recording of the piano music make an illuminating comparison to the pianio music of Brahms, who, like Carter, wrote big sonatas early in his career, turned to the extanded variation form in the middle (rather analogous to the free-form Night Fantasies), and ended with a series of small, short pieces. I don't know if Brahms's late pianio music is as "great" as his bigger, earlier work, but I prefer it.

Just listened again to the BBC broadcast of the Mad Regales, which no one else has mentioned yet. Beautiful settings, in their way the equal of the early Dickinson pieces for chorus, which were also only four to five minutes each. The sustained, high chords in "At North Farm" i,pressed me particularly.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: not edward on December 24, 2008, 11:43:08 AM
I guess I think of Carter's peak as being the '50s and '60s: the first two quartets, the three concerti from the '60s and the Variations for Orchestra...which, at least for me, is a distinctly elevated standard to compare against. ;)

Mad-Regales I need to hear again, and preferably in better sound than webcast quality. I know I didn't get all I could from it on one listen.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: UB on December 24, 2008, 12:40:36 PM
I can remember getting into all kinds of trouble on an about 10 years ago when I suggested on another board that his Symphonia was all surface glitter with no depth. After listening to it just now, I still hear it that way. To me Carter has written so much music that he can basically do it in his sleep and no matter what the quality it will get played by major orchestras.

I think Copland got it right. He reached a point where he decided that he had nothing new to say and no new way to say what had been said before so he just stopped composing.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on December 25, 2008, 06:37:59 PM
again, i dont like any of it...

And again . . . and again . . . and again . . . and again . . . and again . . . and again . . . and again . . . and again . . . and again . . . and again . . . and again . . . and again . . . and again . . . and again . . . and again . . . .
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on December 26, 2008, 09:08:18 AM
Mad-Regales I need to hear again, and preferably in better sound than webcast quality. I know I didn't get all I could from it on one listen.

It also helps to follow the words, which I still have in the Tanglewood program.

Quote from: author=UB
I can remember getting into all kinds of trouble on an about 10 years ago when I suggested on another board that his Symphonia was all surface glitter with no depth. After listening to it just now, I still hear it that way. To me Carter has written so much music that he can basically do it in his sleep and no matter what the quality it will get played by major orchestras.

I think Copland got it right. He reached a point where he decided that he had nothing new to say and no new way to say what had been said before so he just stopped composing.

To reiterate: Some of Mr. Carter's recent music is as good as it gets. I certainly can't say I wish he would follow Copland's example. And I don't remember you getting into all kinds of trouble. (Nor was it ten years ago. I've been posting online for less than eight.) I do remember disagreeing with you about Carter's "surface glitter." As I recall, I stated that metrical modulation and such gave the surface of Carter's music a fluidity that I found more attractive than the regular, lockstep rhythms of someone like Sessions, and you took that to mean a lack of depth. I can't think of the "Adagio tenebroso" as superficial, and I think it says a lot that the "Allegro scorrevole" is pretty: that's an achievement, especially for a modernist whose music has been called thorny (even recently on the BBC), astringent and cerebral. As I've said, Mr. Carter can't win: the music isn't pretty enough for Eric, and it's too pretty for UB.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on December 26, 2008, 10:14:50 AM
I haven't yet sought out Sessions's music, but it's no good dismissing Carter for failing to be like Sessions, any more than for failing to be like Ligeti's.

. . . I can't think of the "Adagio tenebroso" as superficial, and I think it says a lot that the "Allegro scorrevole" is pretty: that's an achievement, especially for a modernist whose music has been called thorny (even recently on the BBC), astringent and cerebral.

Hear, hear.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on December 26, 2008, 10:35:17 AM
I haven't yet sought out Sessions's music, but it's no good dismissing Carter for failing to be like Sessions, any more than for failing to be like Ligeti's.

Conversely, I wasn't dimissing Sessions, whose music I like. It's just that I find Carter's music more attractive. I also find it more dramatic than Babbitt's, whose music I also like. If attractiveness and drama are evidence of superficiality, then so be it.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Mark G. Simon on December 26, 2008, 11:34:06 AM
The thing about Copland was that he had Alzheimer's. In his later years he had trouble remembering where he lived, never mind how to put a piece of music together. He himself described his decision to stop composing as "it was as if a faucet had turned off". I see no reason not to applaud Carter for having his marbles intact even into his second century and to continue using his faculties to keep turning out new works. I'm sure that composing every day is what has allowed him to live as long as he has. And if a few of these works are up to the standards of his greatest works, then the effort is fully worthwhile for all of us.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on December 26, 2008, 12:00:32 PM
The thing about Copland was that he had Alzheimer's. In his later years he had trouble remembering where he lived, never mind how to put a piece of music together. He himself described his decision to stop composing as "it was as if a faucet had turned off". I see no reason not to applaud Carter for having his marbles intact even into his second century and to continue using his faculties to keep turning out new works. I'm sure that composing every day is what has allowed him to live as long as he has. And if a few of these works are up to the standards of his greatest works, then the effort is fully worthwhile for all of us.

To quote the great Karl Henning, hear hear.

And again, I like Wind Rose.  ;)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on December 26, 2008, 12:20:53 PM
Oh, the book of letters and documents is back at Amazon, (http://www.amazon.com/Elliott-Carter-Centennial-Portrait-Documents/dp/1843834049/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1230322757&sr=1-2) and it's pretty darn cheap. Anyone who cares at all about Carter should have this book. It's packed with photos and information.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Homo Aestheticus on December 26, 2008, 02:40:34 PM
Guido,

The phrase means that Carter's music is formidable in its complexity.

Actually, mine was more a rhetorical question.... And 'formidable complexity' in reference to music gets pretty trite. (Or perhaps it's just me getting tired of Tommassini's style)

Quote
I'm guessing that the phrase irks you because you would reserve it for only three pieces by a certain composer.

Are you kidding me ?  My adoration of certain of Debussy's works has  nothing  to do with whether I or others perceive it as 'complex'. As a matter of fact those favorite works of mine are not really complex.

(And for the record, my tastes range very wide, from Machaut to Richard Strauss to Messiaen to 1980's pop music)

Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Homo Aestheticus on December 26, 2008, 03:43:13 PM
Joe, Bill, Mark, Edward and others,

A review from the  Telegraph:

This concert, devoted entirely to the music of Elliott Carter, was not good news from the box-office point of view, but the BBC Symphony Orchestra would have been remiss not to acknowledge a composer who continues to expound bold ideas and to challenge any notion that at the age of 100 he has any thoughts of calling it a day...

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/culturecritics/geoffreynorris/3812323/BBC-Symphony-Orchestra-with-Oliver-Knussen-at-the-Barbican---review.html
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on December 26, 2008, 04:02:24 PM
Oh, the book of letters and documents is back at Amazon, (http://www.amazon.com/Elliott-Carter-Centennial-Portrait-Documents/dp/1843834049/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1230322757&sr=1-2) and it's pretty darn cheap. Anyone who cares at all about Carter should have this book. It's packed with photos and information.

Excellent news, Joe!
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on December 26, 2008, 04:03:51 PM
My adoration of certain of Debussy's works has  nothing  to do with whether I or others perceive it as 'complex'. As a matter of fact those favorite works of mine are not really complex.

Eric, we've got to say this, even though it will crush you.

This thread isn't yet another thread about you.  It's about Elliott Carter's music.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Homo Aestheticus on December 26, 2008, 04:27:44 PM
Eric, we've got to say this, even though it will crush you.

This thread isn't yet another thread about you.  It's about Elliott Carter's music.

Excuse me but I would never have brought this up had Guido not addressed this in the first place.

And didn't you notice that my post was followed by a Carter review ?

What is your problem ?

Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Guido on December 28, 2008, 05:51:48 AM
Are you kidding me ?  My adoration of certain of Debussy's works has  nothing  to do with whether I or others perceive it as 'complex'. As a matter of fact those favorite works of mine are not really complex.


I apologise unreservedly.  :-[
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Homo Aestheticus on December 28, 2008, 02:36:16 PM
Joe,

(Your message from last night is gone)

First, I think you know that the music of Carter does not speak to me in any way, however his life story as a centenarian composer and the ongoing assessment by the musical public  does fascinate me. I will stop posting the links if it annoys you that much.

Second, when and where have you seen any troll-like behavior lately in this thread or forum ?
 
I am neither seeking validation nor being 'nice'.
 
Bws

Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Homo Aestheticus on December 28, 2008, 02:37:09 PM
I apologise unreservedly.  :-[

No need to apologize Guido.    :)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on December 28, 2008, 05:33:30 PM
I have to admit: I wish I had loaded some Carter onto my Sansa Fuze!

Next time!
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Guido on December 29, 2008, 09:30:50 AM
On this entry of the Alex Ross' blog it says that the library of congress has got pages of Carter's first string quartet and the cello sonata online. I can't seem to find the place on the site he links to, nor on the library of congress site itself. Hmm. http://www.therestisnoise.com/2008/12/dancing-on-the.html

Can anyone else work it out?
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: DavidW on December 29, 2008, 10:03:40 AM
I have to admit: I wish I had loaded some Carter onto my Sansa Fuze!

Next time!

I thought you were talking about a fancy sofa, and then I realized that you meant your mp3 player! :D
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Mark G. Simon on December 29, 2008, 10:27:21 AM
On this entry of the Alex Ross' blog it says that the library of congress has got pages of Carter's first string quartet and the cello sonata online. I can't seem to find the place on the site he links to, nor on the library of congress site itself. Hmm. http://www.therestisnoise.com/2008/12/dancing-on-the.html

Can anyone else work it out?

From Ross' site, click the link on the text "hundreds of pages of sketches" and that will take you to a page on LC's website called "the way it goes along, a tribute to Elliott Carter". On the left side of this page is a box labeled "see also" and it has links to the sketches of the cello sonata and 1st string quartet.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on December 29, 2008, 10:34:23 AM
Thanks, Mark!
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Guido on December 29, 2008, 10:35:30 AM
Thank you very much!
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on December 29, 2008, 07:16:32 PM
Alex Ross has areview of the Carter centenary in this week's New Yorker. Not a very insightful or even interesting article, but I am mentioned:

"Once 'Interventions' began, the novelty of Carter’s longevity receded, and the music became the most interesting thing. Since the early nineties, Carter has backed away from the extreme density that marked his scores of previous decades. He has by no means disavowed atonality, as an Internet hoax proposed. (It had convinced composers in China, I discovered on a visit to Beijing last year.)"
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Mark G. Simon on December 29, 2008, 08:17:09 PM
Interview with Carter in German published in Das Magazin. The journalist who interviewed him was seen spending a lot of time with Carter after the Saturday concert on Dec. 13. I was photographing Carter and the journalist happened to be in the picture. He later spoke to me and gave me the link to the article:

http://dasmagazin.ch/index.php/und-was-jetzt/

(What he'd probably really like is the picture I took of him with Carter. I ought to send it to him).
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on December 30, 2008, 08:57:20 AM
Interview with Carter in German published in Das Magazin. The journalist who interviewed him was seen spending a lot of time with Carter after the Saturday concert on Dec. 13. I was photographing Carter and the journalist happened to be in the picture. He later spoke to me and gave me the link to the article:

http://dasmagazin.ch/index.php/und-was-jetzt/

(What he'd probably really like is the picture I took of him with Carter. I ought to send it to him).

Thanks, Mark. it might take me a little while to read this, but I'll get to it.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on December 30, 2008, 02:17:44 PM
Here is a wide ranging and very fun piece on Mr. Carter in, of all places, The National Review. (http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=YjhkNGE0ZTA5Mzk3MmJhNjVmZGMyYjE4Zjc4NzJkMTU=)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: not edward on January 13, 2009, 10:41:45 AM
Good news for Carter fans: the Pacifica recording of the remaining quartets (2, 3 and 4) is to be issued in February.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on January 13, 2009, 11:52:08 AM
Thanks, Edward!
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on January 14, 2009, 07:19:50 AM
Hearing more Carter tomorrow night:

January 15, 2009
Merkin Concert Hall
Da Capo Chamber Players
Guest artists:
Lucy Shelton, soprano
Robert Ingliss, oboe

Elliott Carter: Tempo e tempi
Elliott Carter: Enchanted Preludes
Elliott Carter: Four Zukovsky Songs
Elliott Carter: Esprit rude/Esprit doux
Pierre Boulez: Sonatine
Olivier Messiaen: Quatuor pour la fin du temps

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Wendell_E on January 21, 2009, 04:52:41 AM
Good news for Carter fans: the Pacifica recording of the remaining quartets (2, 3 and 4) is to be issued in February.

And it's now available for pre-order: http://www.amazon.com/Elliot-Carter-String-Quartets-Nos/dp/B001NZA04M/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1232538585&sr=1-2
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Lilas Pastia on January 22, 2009, 08:13:56 PM
Just purchased a disc which contains Carter's cello sonata (http://www.arkivmusic.com/graphics/covers/full/90/902947.jpg), only to realize I already had it (Rohan de Saram). Well, it becomes mandatory to compare the two. No need to add I hadn't listened to it in a while  ::)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Peregrine on January 22, 2009, 11:51:27 PM
Good news for Carter fans: the Pacifica recording of the remaining quartets (2, 3 and 4) is to be issued in February.

Excellent, the first disc they did was a real winner, really looking forward to the next one...
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on January 23, 2009, 05:52:29 AM
Just purchased a disc which contains Carter's cello sonata (http://www.arkivmusic.com/graphics/covers/full/90/902947.jpg), only to realize I already had it (Rohan de Saram). Well, it becomes mandatory to compare the two. No need to add I hadn't listened to it in a while  ::)

The Cello Sonata is a work which, I think, you will not mind having more than one copy of, André!

(Funny how often Hopper's Night Hawks turns up . . . .)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Lilas Pastia on January 23, 2009, 07:28:47 PM
Thanks, Karl ! reacquainting myself with Carter's music after a long hiatus is one of my priorities!
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Guido on January 24, 2009, 09:20:03 AM
Hi Lilas - I have never seen that CD before, but I would be very curious to hear what the Copland was - he never composed anything for the instrument himself, so I wonder what this is a transcription of. Similarly for the Gerwshin, though I'm going to guess its the three preludes for piano transcribed for violin, arranged for cello!
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Lilas Pastia on January 24, 2009, 08:57:37 PM
Hello, Guido, here's a content list of that  disc:

- Copland: Waltz and Celebration from 'Billy the Kid'  (arr'd by composer for cello and piano)
- Ernest Bloch: 'From Jewish Life' : Three Songs
- Lukas Foss: 'Capriccio'
- Gershwin: 'Short Story' (from what I've gathered it was a violin-piano work)
- Carter: Cello Sonata
- Barber: Sonata for cello and piano, op. 6

Soloists are Tanya Prochazka and Stephane Lemelin
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Guido on January 25, 2009, 05:18:50 AM
Cheers! I had forgotten about that Billy the Kid arrangement actually. Does either the Gershwin or Copland work well?
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Lilas Pastia on January 25, 2009, 09:37:48 AM
I'll let you know when I've listened to it  ;). I'm taking this disc and a few others in the car for the week.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: bwv 1080 on March 02, 2009, 01:47:51 PM
The Pacifica recording of SQ 2-4 is out, just downloaded it from the Zune Marketplace
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: sul G on March 02, 2009, 01:52:58 PM
Cheers! I had forgotten about that Billy the Kid arrangement actually. Does either the Gershwin or Copland work well?

I have the score to Short Story (the Gershwin) somewhere. Haven't seen it for years, but IIRC it's a real git, technically. Though that might only be the impression it made on a teenager who didn't know better...

I'll try to find it for you.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Guido on March 02, 2009, 03:57:00 PM
I have the score to Short Story (the Gershwin) somewhere. Haven't seen it for years, but IIRC it's a real git, technically. Though that might only be the impression it made on a teenager who didn't know better...

I'll try to find it for you.

Cheers! It's been recorded by Maria Kliegel on a 'virtuoso cello encores' album, so I can more than believe that!
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: bwv 1080 on March 03, 2009, 09:48:26 AM
(http://www.classicsonline.com/images/cds/others/8.559363.gif)

So listened through the 3rd quartet last night with the score in hand, would say that this recording lacks the overall dramatic conception of the Julliard quartet, but brings out the details of the piece better.  There is much more of an even balance between the duos and the texture therefore seems thicker.  The Pizzicato passages are really well done
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on March 03, 2009, 09:58:30 AM
Most interesting, thanks, Steve!
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on March 03, 2009, 10:27:51 AM
(http://www.classicsonline.com/images/cds/others/8.559363.gif)

So listened through the 3rd quartet last night with the score in hand, would say that this recording lacks the overall dramatic conception of the Julliard quartet, but brings out the details of the piece better.  There is much more of an even balance between the duos and the texture therefore seems thicker.  The Pizzicato passages are really well done

I agree with this, but it must be noted that the Pacifica's sound is glorious. I never thought I'd be able to describe any of the middle Carter middle quartets as "gorgeous," but there it is. Even the Third, the densest and most confrontational of the lot, seems tamed, and the Fourth, the often overlooked poor stepsister of the cycle, is lovely here. This is a beautiful recording, and the beauty more than compensates for any loss of drama. These performances prove that Carter's quartets, like Beethoven's, are deep and mulifacted enough to sustain a variety of approaches, much as Boulez' second recording of Le Marteau revesled the beauty inherent in that score. They vindicate the Carter's faith in his life's work.

Atonality: it isn't just for angst anymore.

Bravo.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on March 05, 2009, 12:43:53 PM
 :(
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on March 05, 2009, 12:53:20 PM
Joe? What's a matter?
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Catison on March 06, 2009, 08:00:02 AM
I agree with this, but it must be noted that the Pacifica's sound is glorious. I never thought I'd be able to describe any of the middle Carter middle quartets as "gorgeous," but there it is. Even the Third, the densest and most confrontational of the lot, seems tamed, and the Fourth, the often overlooked poor stepsister of the cycle, is lovely here. This is a beautiful recording, and the beauty more than compensates for any loss of drama. These performances prove that Carter's quartets, like Beethoven's, are deep and mulifacted enough to sustain a variety of approaches, much as Boulez' second recording of Le Marteau revesled the beauty inherent in that score. They vindicate the Carter's faith in his life's work.

Atonality: it isn't just for for angst anymore.

Bravo.

I guess I am weird because that poor stepsister is my favorite.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on March 06, 2009, 08:38:40 AM
I guess I am weird because that poor stepsister is my favorite.

I'd say the Second is mine. The Fourth is great, too, I think, but for some reason it gets overlooked, at least in terms of critical opinion. It's not the breaktrough that either the First or Second is, it's not as witty and approachable as the Fifth, and it's not as extreme and extroverted as the Third (which, in David Schiff's phrase, has become something of a crowd pleaser). It also seems to be regarded as the most difficult, even though it has the most sustained, closely argued, single-mood movements of any of the quartets besides the First, a beautiful adagio, and an unforgettable ending.

Karl, it just seems like I get no responses in this thread.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on March 06, 2009, 08:42:31 AM
Some of us are lurking, and our listening is lagging just a little behind you!  I just recently got the first Pacifica CD (with Nos. 1 and 5) and am still digesting that one.  (And it's just great, by the way, so I'm very much looking forward to the new release.)

"Atonality: it isn't just for for angst anymore."   Like that...  0:)

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on March 06, 2009, 08:45:50 AM
Karl, it just seems like I get no responses in this thread.

I haven't snapped up the second Pacifica Quartet disc yet, but 'tis only a matter of time.

Really enjoying the Mosaic/Dialogues/&c. disc (don't take this amiss, I pray, but Mosaic was my 'drifting-off' music last night).  Haven't watched the DVD yet, will probably wait to do that together with my mom-in-law.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on March 06, 2009, 10:08:41 AM
I haven't snapped up the second Pacifica Quartet disc yet, but 'tis only a matter of time.

Really enjoying the Mosaic/Dialogues/&c. disc (don't take this amiss, I pray, but Mosaic was my 'drifting-off' music last night).  Haven't watched the DVD yet, will probably wait to do that together with my mom-in-law.

Yes, I always found Carter's music is a good way to bond with relatives ...

The Naxos disk is very attractive, which surprised me, since it consists mostly of small pieces that have been recorded before. And I'd like to take this opportunity to remark what a wonderfully appropriate  title "Scrivo in Vento" (I write in air) is for a flute solo.

I've watched Naxos DVD, which was OK, though the sound quality wasn't as good as the CD, and in Mosiac, the director kept playing wth his new toy, an unnecessary kaleidoscope effect. I guess he was looking for a visual analogue to the Mosaic idea, but it was distracting and amateurish --- a shame, since the perfomance was so good. The Dialogues was well done, though, and of course, the Carter interview was interesting and charming, as all Carter interviews are. I can't remember if it was Aitken or Certer who compared the pedal work in Mosaic's harp music to driving a car.

My Carter buddy Colin of Manchester recommends the new CD called "Happy Birthday Elliott Carter: New Chamber Works," which I've ordered. He says he prefers the performance of Mosaic to the Naxos version, and the disk also includes some new short pieces, such as HBHH for solo oboe. that are not available elsewhere.

Let's also not forget Usula Oppens' recording of the piano music, which is terrific, and my favorite of all the recent releases. 

I still need to get around to reviewing these things at Amazon.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on March 06, 2009, 10:26:50 AM
Yes, I always found Carter's music is a good way to bond with relatives ...

Well, I think that the added visual element will be a 'help' to Mom (Irina), and that the novelty of the music will be engaging for her.

Keep in mind, that Maria genuinely enjoyed the Horn Concerto, which is a great gain over her dislike of the Symphonia some years before . . . I must be musically charitable with my near & dear ones.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on March 06, 2009, 10:39:33 AM
Keep in mind, that Maria genuinely enjoyed the Horn Concerto, which is a great gain over her dislike of the Symphonia some years before . . . I must be musically charitable with my near & dear ones.

I remember Maria being surprised that I flew all the way to Boston to hear these 13 minutes of music. Of course, there were the added bonuses of the Mahler first and the pleasant company. The BSO plans to present the Flute Concerto in 2010. I'd come up for that, too, but I doubt I'll be able to afford it then.

Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on March 06, 2009, 10:53:01 AM
I remember Maria being surprised that I flew all the way to Boston to hear these 13 minutes of music. Of course, there were the added bonuses of the Mahler first and the pleasant company. The BSO plans to present the Flute Concerto in 2010. I'd come up for that, too, but I doubt I'll be able to afford it then.

If you can get here, we'll be going, and we should be able to wrangle a ticket for you.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on March 06, 2009, 12:26:33 PM

Quote from: Brett
I guess I am weird because that poor stepsister is my favorite.

I'd say the Second is mine. The Fourth is great, too, I think, but for some reason it gets overlooked, at least in terms of critical opinion. It's not the breaktrough that either the First or Second is, it's not as witty and approachable as the Fifth, and it's not as extreme and extroverted as the Third (which, in David Schiff's phrase, has become something of a crowd pleaser). It also seems to be regarded as the most difficult, even though it has the most sustained, closely argued, single-mood movements of any of the quartets besides the First, a beautiful adagio, and an unforgettable ending.

One reason I am keen to fetch in Pacifica disc 2 is, I haven't yet heard nos. 3 or 4. (Don't be hatin' on me . . . .)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on March 06, 2009, 12:32:21 PM
I agree with this, but it must be noted that the Pacifica's sound is glorious [. . .] This is a beautiful recording, and the beauty more than compensates for any loss of drama. These performances prove that Carter's quartets, like Beethoven's, are deep and mulifaceted enough to sustain a variety of approaches . . . .

To briefly indulge in a tangent, Carter’s, Beethoven’s . . . and Bartók’s and Shostakovich’s.  I wonder if some of the tendency to ‘recording-chauvinism’ viz. the latter two composers, isn’t simply fixating on one approach to pieces which happily dwell in a larger sphere.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on March 06, 2009, 01:12:06 PM
One reason I am keen to fetch in Pacifica disc 2 is, I haven't yet heard nos. 3 or 4.

I am eager to hear what you think of them, especially the Third.

And, well, Shostakovich, yes, and Bartok, certainly. And I guess Haydn and Mozart and Brahms, too. The point I was making was about Carter, viz., that his music is not the dry, cynical, sterile, theoretcial exercise that [upcoming weasel-word alert] some critics (including those on this board) would have it. Like the SQ's of other great composers, including all those named, they work on a human level. Performances like the Pacifica's remind us of that humanity.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on March 06, 2009, 01:17:05 PM
I am eager to hear what you think of them, especially the Third.

And, well, Shostakovich, yes, and Bartok, certainly. And I guess Haydn and Mozart and Brahms, too. The point I was making was about Carter, viz., that his music is not the dry, cynical, sterile, theoretcial exercise that [upcoming weasel-word alert] some critics (including those on this board) would have it. Like the SQ's of other great composers, including all those named, they work on a human level. Performances like the Pacifica's remind us of that humanity.

Certamente.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on March 06, 2009, 01:50:27 PM
So I almost forgot, I'm hearing more Carter next Tuesday night at Carnegie, a piece I don't know at all, Réflexions (and the rest of the program is pretty glorious, too).

Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Pierre Boulez, Conductor Emeritus

Stravinsky: Symphony in Three Movements 
Stravinsky: Four Studies for Orchestra 
Carter: Réflexions (NY Premiere)
Varèse: Ionisation 
Varèse: Amériques

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on March 06, 2009, 01:55:49 PM
Magnificent program, Bruce!
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Guido on March 07, 2009, 03:16:51 AM
I got that Oppens recording of all the Carter piano music, which is great as Joe says. I cannot get into Night Fantasies though - I find it to be the most impenetrable work of his that I have heard - even more so than the gloriously jungle like piano concerto. I just find that there is absolutely nothing to latch onto... The other pieces are great though. I think I marginally prefer the playing of Peter Lawson in the piano sonata, though one can of course learn to love several approaches to such a great work.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Guido on March 07, 2009, 03:27:32 AM
Next step - Third string quartet. I got the Pacifica Quartet recording so will listen to that soon. I did notice that the Pacifica take 28 minutes in the fourth quartet, and the Arditti recording I have of the same was something like 20 minutes as far as I can remember... a huge disparity in timings... A I remembering correctly?
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on March 07, 2009, 09:30:42 AM
Next step - Third string quartet. I got the Pacifica Quartet recording so will listen to that soon. I did notice that the Pacifica take 28 minutes in the fourth quartet, and the Arditti recording I have of the same was something like 20 minutes as far as I can remember... a huge disparity in timings... A I remembering correctly?

OK, let's compare:

Quartet No 1
Juilliard: 42:03
Arditti: 40:03
Pacifica: 39:41
Composers: 38:01

No. 2:
Juilliard: 23:26*
Arditti: 20:08
Pacifica: 24:34
Composers: 20:01

No. 3
Juilliard: 21:21*
Arditti: 20:12
Pacifica: 21:53
Composers: 19:19

No. 4
Juilliard: 29:00
Arditti: 20:47
Pacifica: 27:48
Composers: 24:36

No. 5
Arditti: 20:26
Pacifica: 21:11

Widest range of variation is the Fourth, from 20 for the Arditti to 29 minutes for the the Juilliard. There seems to be a  difference of opinion about how fast to take the Presto and how slowly to take the Lento. Pacifica also has the longest times for the Second and Third, which I attribute to their luxuriant approach. It certainly can't be said they haven't mastered the fast sections. same for the Juilliard's Fourth.

* From the Sony box recording. Juilliard has recorded the Third twice and the Second three times.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on March 07, 2009, 09:33:58 AM
Bruce, Reflexions is a very attractive 10-minute piece, much in the vein of the Asko Concerto. (I have a broadcast recrding.) I think some of Carter's best music of late has been in these little chamber symphonies.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: haydnguy on March 07, 2009, 11:13:40 AM
is, I haven't yet heard nos. 3 or 4. (Don't be hatin' on me . . . .)

You haven't heard 3 or 4? :o :o :o

  :D ;D
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on March 07, 2009, 12:44:07 PM
You haven't heard 3 or 4? :o :o :o

Well . . . I've wanted to . . . .
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on March 08, 2009, 08:10:19 AM
Well, you know, unlike many of us, Karl has a real life, writing music of his own.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Guido on March 08, 2009, 08:54:13 AM
No. 4
Juilliard: 29:00
Arditti: 20:47
Pacifica: 24:34
Composers: 24:36


Widest range of variation is the Fourth, from 20 for the Arditti to 29 minutes for the the Juilliard, and the Composers and Pacifica together in the middle with only a two-second difference. (Interesting that those two are my favorite recordings of the piece. The Composers version, which is out of print, is great.)  Maybe there was some difference of opinion about how fast to take the Presto and how slowly to take the Lento. Pacifica also has the longest times for the Second and Third, which I attribute to their luxuriant approach. It certainly can't be said they haven't mastered the fast sections.

Is this a typo? By my reckoning the Pacifica take 28:44, movements taking 7:20, 6:31, 6:49, 7:04 respectively. Anyway, I should listen to both and see for myself why the difference is there!

Are there any plans to record Reflections?
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Wendell_E on March 08, 2009, 12:21:24 PM
Is this a typo? By my reckoning the Pacifica take 28:44, movements taking 7:20, 6:31, 6:49, 7:04 respectively.

Those timings add up to 27:44, which is about what it says on the back cover of the recording (27:48).  Joe's 24:34 is the timing of the 2nd.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Guido on March 08, 2009, 05:16:05 PM
Oops... my typo then, sorry! At least I was slightly closer! Thanks for sorting it out.  :-[ :)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on March 09, 2009, 07:40:15 AM
My bad, as they say. Timing corrected in my original post. The Fouirth remains the one with the greatest amount of variation. Even more so, given the Pacifica's timing of 27:48 (given on the back cover of the disk), which is just about midway between Juiliard and Composers.

I know of no plans to record Reflexions --- or the Clarinet Quintet, or Interventions, or Soundings, or Sound Fields or Mad Regales or the Three Illusions or In the Distances of Sleep or any other of the great music Mr. Carter has written in the past three-plus years.

But if you have the bandwidth, you can still hear Reflexions at Tanglewood TV. (http://www.bso.org/bso/mods/toc_01_gen_noSubCat.jsp;jsessionid=Q322REGXXS5UACTFQMGSFEQ?id=bcat12990004) Click on "launch WebTV." It's the fourth link from the left.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Guido on March 09, 2009, 08:13:46 AM
Ok cheers! I guess these will all get recorded eventually...
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Cato on May 21, 2009, 07:56:27 AM
So today, finally, my 8th-Grade Latin students, who translated parts of the Latin poem "The Bubble" by the 17th-century Englishman Richard Crashaw heard the opening of Elliot Carter's Symphonia Sum Fluxae Pretium Spei.

They have heard various things in my room, from Gregorian Chant through Bruckner to Carl Orff, but of course nothing like the style of Carter, which, of course, to the uninitiated ear can sound like an orchestra falling down a long flight of stairs.  8)

The reaction was interesting, ranging from "It sounds like Tom and Jerry cartoons" (and hats off, therefore, to Scott Bradley for anticipating the oeuvre of Carter) to one rather enthusiastic girl (whose name is Hope, and since the title is "I am the preciousness (or prize) of flowing hope," her ears perked up) who said: "It sounds like everything you would hear in a forest, birds and all kinds of animals scurrying away."

One of the boys said he could find no connection to the text, but a few others thought they could hear impressions of the wind and air mentioned in the text.

And of course one wiseguy says: "I'm going to download that for my ring-tone!"   0:)

Tomorrow I will play parts of the last two movements. The CD is from DGG with Oliver Knussen and the BBC Symphony.  The Clarinet Concerto is included.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on May 21, 2009, 07:59:52 AM
Molto bene, Cato!
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on May 21, 2009, 08:00:48 AM
"Bravo" to you for playing this for your students.  (I wish I'd heard some Carter in 8th grade!)  Interesting reactions, and I'll bet that some of them are still thinking about what they heard.  

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: snyprrr on May 21, 2009, 08:57:14 AM
(I wish I'd heard some Carter in 8th grade!)

Not if it had been the Brass Qnt. as it was with me. You could have picked something better, Prof. Hough! He even played it for us (he was in the Annapolis Brass Qnt.), and the sight of these five red puffed faces squelching out the anguished tones of one of Carter's most uncompromising works certainly did not help the giggle factor at the time. Perhaps the Cello Sonata would have been better. I like Carter just fine now, but the Brass Qnt. is still one of his toughest pieces. Anyone concur?
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on May 21, 2009, 09:40:03 AM
Not if it had been the Brass Qnt. as it was with me. You could have picked something better, Prof. Hough! He even played it for us (he was in the Annapolis Brass Qnt.), and the sight of these five red puffed faces squelching out the anguished tones of one of Carter's most uncompromising works certainly did not help the giggle factor at the time. Perhaps the Cello Sonata would have been better. I like Carter just fine now, but the Brass Qnt. is still one of his toughest pieces. Anyone concur?

The Brass Quintet is a favorite of mine. An underrated, overlooked piece, in my opinion, that is to the Third Quartet what the Harpsichord Sonata is to the First--- a sort of divertimento written quicky after a breakthrough quartet that took a great deal of effort. I love the bell-like chorales and the sudden disruptions. Something about the sound of brass makes me think of dusk in a great city.

Cato, I was happy to read your post. I have nothing to add, but I did enjoy the kids' reactions. We may have a few new Carterphiles on our hands. 

In eighth grade, I was a soprano in the boys' choir at Resurrection of Our Lord Roman Catholic Church. We sang a lot of kitsch, even some selection from Jesus Christ Superstar, as I recall. (Webber wasn't too bad in those days, but Tim Rice can't write a lyric to save his life. "Ho-sanna hey sanna sanna sanna ho sana hey sanna ho sanna." Jeez.) I remember, too, going down to the gym one afternoon to hear a group of visiting opera singers perform Menotti's "Telephone." Nothing adventurous, but credit the nuns with trying to teach us something. The Ode to Joy showed up as a hymn at Mass with new, awful lyrics. No wonder I fled to atheism.

Carter and Ives I had to discover on my own.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Cato on May 21, 2009, 10:05:37 AM
brass makes me think of dusk in a great city.

Cato, I was happy to read your post. I have nothing to add, but I did enjoy the kids' reactions. We may have a few new Carterphiles on our hands. 

 The Ode to Joy showed up as a hymn at Mass with new, awful lyrics. No wonder I fled to atheism.

Carter and Ives I had to discover on my own.

I have heard several versions of Beethoven's theme with fairly awful lyrics attempting to imitate a decent hymn!   0:)

Thanks to all for the comments: I will give you part II tomorrow!
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on May 21, 2009, 10:16:28 AM
I have heard several versions of Beethoven's theme with fairly awful lyrics attempting to imitate a decent hymn!   0:)

Come, sing a song of joy for peace shall come, my bro-o-ther.
Come, sing a song of joy for men shall love each o-o-ther.


It was a form of child abuse.

By the way, I should mention, for the record, that the Symphonia is Carter's one big orchestral piece that I am still grappling with --- like snyyprr with the Brass Quintet. At this point i like the Boston Concerto much more, and few things, still, can compare with the Concerto for Orchestra or the Symphonia of Three Orchestras for sheer orchestral kickassedness.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on May 21, 2009, 10:42:25 AM
Come, sing a song of joy for peace shall come, my bro-o-ther.
Come, sing a song of joy for men shall love each o-o-ther.


It was a form of child abuse.

Henry van Dyke's text earned Ludwig van the № 8 spot in the 1958 edition of The Pilgrim Hymnal:

Joyful, joyful, we adore thee, God of glory, Lord of love;
hearts unfold like flowers before thee, opening to the sun above.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on May 21, 2009, 10:43:15 AM
Thread duty:

I wish I had had a teacher who would have played us Carter in eighth grade, too.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on May 21, 2009, 11:02:25 AM
Thread duty:
I wish I had had a teacher who would have played us Carter in eighth grade, too.

I just wish we had a teacher who would have introduced us to great music as it was written, rather than in the watered down hymn version we got in those "We Sing and Pray" books. 

Our choir nun proabably could have done it, but she didn't. She was quite knowledgable about music and played piano and organ very well. When I was in college, I ran into her at the Philadelphia performance of the Mahler Eighth. At choir practice, I recall, she would face us and accompany herself backwards: that is, with one hand behind her on the keyboard. Impressive woman  --- and attractive, in a hardfaced, dominatrix kind of way. I don't doubt she proabably knew of Carter's music. But, it wasn't church approved, so there you go.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Cato on May 22, 2009, 07:20:20 AM
Today's report on playing excerpts of the last two movements of Carter's Symphonia Sum Fluxae Pretium Spei for my 8th Grade Latin classes.

For the darker, slower second movement the reaction was:

"It sounds like you're being chased through a forest."

"There's a struggle between day and night, like the first movement was the day, and now it's night, but the day tries to come through."

"The structure was easier to follow."  (!!!   :o   !!!)

"I kept thinking about squirrels hiding in a forest."

And for the third movement:

"It sounds like birds and butterflies!"

"There's a battle between the first two movements, and the first movement wins, but maybe, because of the way it ends, maybe it died and went to heaven."  (This is a Catholic school after all!   0:)   )

And keeping that last thought in mind there was this astonishing comment from my best student:

"I'd say the whole work is supposed to be the sound of human consciousness."   :o    :o    :o

When I asked him to explain this in more detail, he said that it seems to have every emotion, from the monsters that have to be controlled to wild happiness and everything in between.

And then something even more astonishing!!!

I had not told them the title of the poem which inspired Carter ("Bulla" i.e. "The Bubble" by Richard Crashaw) and turned the exercise into a guessing game: what is the poet referring to, and what is the composer describing with his music?

One of the dimmer bulbs in the lamp, however, raised his hand and said: "I kept thinking (during the 3rd movement) of that scene from Willy Wonka where they're inside of a bubble: is that it maybe?"   :o    :o    :o

So there you have it!  The Collective (Un)(Sub)Consciousness has linked Elliot Carter to Willy Wonka!   0:)

To quote W.C. Fields:

"It baffles science!"
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on May 22, 2009, 07:24:50 AM

One of the dimmer bulbs in the lamp, however, raised his hand and said: "I kept thinking (during the 3rd movement) of that scene from Willy Wonka where they're inside of a bubble: is that it maybe?"   :o    :o    :o

So there you have it!  The Collective (Un)(Sub)Consciousness has linked Elliot Carter to Willy Wonka!   0:)

To quote W.C. Fields:

"It baffles science!"

The point is, he understood the bubble reference. I like the comparison to birds and butterflies.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on May 22, 2009, 07:35:07 AM
I'm confusing photos of Gene Wilder and Carter all the time.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on May 22, 2009, 07:45:41 AM
I'm confusing photos of Gene Wilder and Carter all the time.

Really? I always confused Carter with Burgess Meredith. And let's not  make fun of the kid. When you are asked what you get out of a piece of music, there are no right or wrong answers, or even smart or dumb answers, any more than there are in word association (unless, of course, they saying something egnuinely stupid like George Crumb just writes sound effects). He was giving an honest reaction, and I admire him for that.

And I admire Cato for (1) introducing children to challenging modern music and (2) proving, or at least suggesting, that all forms of artistic expression are valid as long as you are exposed to them early enough. The idea that tonal music is somehow more "natural" than atonal music is a learned response.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on May 22, 2009, 07:50:34 AM
Really? I always confused Carter with Burgess Meredith.

You're right; I was fibbing with the Gene Wilder tie-in.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Cato on May 22, 2009, 04:36:01 PM
You're right; I was fibbing with the Gene Wilder tie-in.

I showed the classes the picture of Elliot Carter from the CD, where he is wearing a Roy Rogers shirt!   $:)  I suspect the picture is from 10 years ago, when he was a young 90.

The girls reacted with delight: "OH!  He's so cute!"  "He looks like a little elf!"  "Look at him!  He's like a grandpa doll!"

There you have it!  If you compose music, girls can still find you cute at 90!   8)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on May 22, 2009, 06:02:51 PM
I've got some hope to hold onto!
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on May 23, 2009, 04:49:47 AM
He's like a koala. He's cute, but he does bite.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Homo Aestheticus on May 23, 2009, 04:56:49 AM
Joe,

The idea that tonal music is somehow more "natural" than atonal music is a learned response.

But does this mean that it's just a matter of time before atonal music is as widely embraced as tonal ?  
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on May 23, 2009, 05:10:10 AM
Joe,

But does this mean that it's just a matter of time before atonal music is as widely embraced as tonal ?  

If all teachers were like Cato, probably.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Homo Aestheticus on May 23, 2009, 05:11:41 AM
If all teachers were like Cato, probably.

Damn, I admire your optimism !

:)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Cato on May 23, 2009, 07:23:12 AM
If all teachers were like Cato, probably.

Well, thank you, but that is most likely overstated!   :D

In Psychology there are "unthinkable experiments," i.e. experiments one would like to do on human beings, but obviously cannot.

I have always wondered what would happen, if one took a child from birth on up and isolated them from all music except Schoenberg and friends after 1920: no tonal music whatsoever, only dodecaphony.

Would the child's brain, upon being exposed to tonal music at a later age (12?  16?), wrinkle his nose and shake his head at the odd sounds?
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on May 23, 2009, 09:11:22 AM
I have always wondered what would happen, if one took a child from birth on up and isolated them from all music except Schoenberg and friends after 1920: no tonal music whatsoever, only dodecaphony.

Would the child's brain, upon being exposed to tonal music at a later age (12?  16?), wrinkle his nose and shake his head at the odd sounds?

Or you might just create a serial killer.  ;)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on May 30, 2009, 03:44:03 AM
Joe, are you thinking of coming to Boston for any of the Carter events at Symphony?

Mosaic Saturday 3 Oct 09
Dialogues Thursday-Saturday 28-30 Jan 10
Flute Concerto (American premiere, BSO co-commission) Thursday-Friday 4-5 Feb 10; Tuesday 9 Feb 10
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Homo Aestheticus on May 30, 2009, 04:03:17 AM
Cato,

Would the child's brain, upon being exposed to tonal music at a later age (12?  16?), wrinkle his nose and shake his head at the odd sounds?

No, are you serious ?  The notion that someone would wince at all upon hearing tonal music ?

Undoubtedly they'd embrace it with unalloyed wonder and joy...
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on May 30, 2009, 04:06:15 AM
No, are you serious ?  The notion that someone would wince at all upon hearing tonal music ?

Rest easy, Eric; Cato was being a little wry.

Quote from: Alert: Whinge Approaching
Undoubtedly they'd embrace it with unalloyed wonder and joy...

Crikey, you come straight from the cutting-room floor of Bambi, don't you?
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on May 30, 2009, 04:28:21 AM
Joe, are you thinking of coming to Boston for any of the Carter events at Symphony?

Mosaic Saturday 3 Oct 09
Dialogues Thursday-Saturday 28-30 Jan 10
Flute Concerto (American premiere, BSO co-commission) Thursday-Friday 4-5 Feb 10; Tuesday 9 Feb 10

I have recordings of Mosaic and Dialogues, so there is no reason to travel for them. I would like to hear the Flute Concerto, but it will be impossible if I don't find a supplementary source of income.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Homo Aestheticus on May 30, 2009, 04:29:25 AM

Rest easy, Eric; Cato was being a little wry.

Wry ?

It didn't seem that way. His two previous sentences:

In Psychology there are "unthinkable experiments," i.e. experiments one would like to do on human beings, but obviously cannot. I have always wondered what would happen, if one took a child from birth on up and isolated them from all music except Schoenberg and friends after 1920: no tonal music whatsoever, only dodecaphony.

He sounded serious to me.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on May 30, 2009, 04:32:19 AM
 ::)

No Pelleas spam, Eric.

To the point:  There is no reason why all ages should not embrace atonality with unalloyed wonder and joy.  Many of us here, have.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on May 30, 2009, 04:37:40 AM
And from my viewpoint, the "unthinkability" of the experiment is not any matter of having children exposed to atonality;  but that perforce the world is full of tonal music.  The "unthinkable" element is in the caging which would be necessary to "shield" the developing person from non-atonal musics, which would also interfere with the child's normal social development.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Homo Aestheticus on May 30, 2009, 04:45:21 AM
To the point:  There is no reason why all ages should not embrace atonality with unalloyed wonder and joy.  Many of us here, have.

But I find it very odd that WQXR, the classical station of New York, did not play a single major work of Carter on his 100th birthday.

Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Cato on May 30, 2009, 04:46:40 AM
And from my viewpoint, the "unthinkability" of the experiment is not any matter of having children exposed to atonality;  but that perforce the world is full of tonal music.  The "unthinkable" element is in the caging which would be necessary to "shield" the developing person from non-atonal musics, which would also interfere with the child's normal social development.

Right!  Thank you, Karl!

And to the Unreconstructed Pelleastrian, like bread with Limburger cheese, I was being a little wry!   0:)

To soften the experiment, would children raised in a musically experimental house with e.g. Carter , Boulez, Ligeti, Stockhausen, etc. on the old Victrola find anything "odd" about them in relation to e.g. Haydn ?

One thinks of Chuckie Ives and his father...   0:)


Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on May 30, 2009, 05:15:23 AM
But I find it very odd that WQXR, the classical station of New York, did not play a single major work of Carter on his 100th birthday.

I don't find it odd at all. I find it disgraceful.

To address the serious posters, Karl and Cato, I think the whole thing about raising children in a multi-music environment may be overstated. This is just a thought experiment, but if kids were exposed to tonal and atonal music, I think the majority would gravitate to tonal, but the majority of those would gravitate toward the sort of pop pablum we are force fed on commercial radio. They wouldn't love Haydn and Mozart any more than they would love Schoenberg or Boulez. (Eric wouldn't be pleased with the results of the experiment, either.) In music education, the distinction between tonal and atonal is something of a red herring. The question is, can kids be helped to appreciate any art music if they are introduced to it early enough? I think they can, but the change would only be within a few percentage points. Instead of eight percent classical sales in this country, we might bump up to twelve percent. It would be a wonderful development, but certainly not enough to do away with top 40.

When I was a kid, I had not yet made the transition to atonality. I knew no Schoenberg or Webern, and was just beginning to explore Carter. But I took a lot of crap for liking Beethoven. Beethoven, mind you. The fact that he wrote tonal music made no difference to anyone. The fight wasn't between tonalists and atonalists. The fight was between good old masculine rock (as embodied by the likes of David Bowie and Queen*) and those classical faggotized tunes. For teenagers, everything comes down to sexual politics.

Schoenberg and Carter will probably always be a minority taste, but that fact alone in no way negates their achievement. Beethoven will also be always a minority taste---just a slightly bigger minority. It's hard to argue about natural vs. unnatural approaches to music when the margins are so small.

*For the record, I never tire of Bohemian Rhapsody.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on May 30, 2009, 05:16:03 AM
But I find it very odd that WQXR, the classical station of New York, did not play a single major work of Carter on his 100th birthday.

Just for the record, Eric, if all you've got to contribute to this thread is how much you don't like Carter (or atonality, or whatever), you'll do everyone a public service by simply posting elsewhere.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on May 30, 2009, 05:22:06 AM
To address the serious posters, Karl and Cato, I think the whole thing about raising children in a multi-music environment may be overstated. This is just a thought experiment, but if kids were exposed to tonal and atonal music, I think the majority would gravitate to tonal, but the majority of those would gravitate toward the sort of pop pablum we are force fed on commercial radio. They wouldn't love Haydn and Mozart any more than they would love Schoenberg or Boulez. (Eric wouldn't be pleased with the results of the experiment, either.) In music education, the distinction between tonal and atonal is something of a red herring.

Yes.  Tangentially, not long ago I read the book in the 33 1/3 series devoted to Captain Beefheart's Trout Mask Replica.  Not surprisingly (and in ways similar to casual misuse of the terms here at GMG), the author's use of the terms atonal and serial is careless, vague, and at times simply ridiculous.  Most of the album being discussed, even at its most difficult, is perfectly tonal.

Quote from: Joe Barron
The question is, can kids be helped to appreciate any art music if they are introduced to it early enough? I think they can, but the change would only be within a few percentage points. Instead of eight percent classical sales in this country, we might bump up to twelve percent. It would be a wonderful development, but certainly not enough to bump top 40.

When I was a kid, I had not yet made the transition to atonality. I knew no Schownberg or Webern at all, and was just beginning to explore Carter. But I took a lot of crap for liking Beethoven. Beethoven, mind you. The fact that he wrote tonal music made no difference to anyone. The fight wasn['t between tonalists and atonalists. The fight was between good old masculine rock (as embodied by the likes of David Bowie and Queen*) and those classical faggotized tunes. For teenagers, everything comes down to sexual politics.

Schoenberg and Carter will probably always be a minority taste, but that fact alone in no way negates their acheivement. Beethoven will also be always a minority taste---just a slightly bigger minority. It's hard to argure about natural vs. unnatural approaches to music when the margins are so small.

Much of my experience in high school was similar;  and your observations are all sound, Joe.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Homo Aestheticus on May 30, 2009, 05:51:02 AM
Joe,

The question is, can kids be helped to appreciate any art music if they are introduced to it early enough?

Seriously, I don't believe timing or age has anything to do with it. After having been surrounded with only 1980's pop music throughout childhood/early adolescence, I discovered opera (Wagner first) very much 'by accident' at age 15.  

People are either born with the the aesthetic sensitivity for Western art music or they are not... And it has nothing to do with elitism.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on May 30, 2009, 06:10:48 AM
Seriously, Eric, what Carter pieces do you like?
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on May 30, 2009, 06:12:01 AM
People are either born with the the aesthetic sensitivity for Western art music or they are not... And it has nothing to do with elitism.

We are still waiting for researchers to isolate the Western-art-music-sensitivity gene ...
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Homo Aestheticus on May 30, 2009, 06:19:15 AM
We are still waiting for researchers to isolate the Western-art-music-sensitivity gene ...

Joe, my point was that no one (i.e. teacher, critic, student, composer, guy on the street) can really do anything that would make someone go home in delight and cuddle up with a piece of music.

Eric, unless you have something to say directly about Carter's music, I ask that if you wish to discuss the aesthetics of modern music you do so in a thread of your own creation, for example, Eric's Thread on P & M. IIRC, that is one of the topics there, is it not?
Thanks,
Gurn 8)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on May 30, 2009, 06:22:18 AM
Joe, have you seen the DVD of the Naxos 100th anniversary release? What did you think?
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Homo Aestheticus on May 30, 2009, 06:29:35 AM
Joe, my point was that no one (i.e. teacher, critic, student, composer, guy on the street) can really do anything that would make someone go home in delight and cuddle up with a piece of music.

Eric, unless you have something to say directly about Carter's music, I ask that if you wish to discuss the aesthetics of modern music you do so in a thread of your own creation, for example, Eric's Thread on P & M. IIRC, that is one of the topics there, is it not?
Thanks,
Gurn 8)

Certainly.

:)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Homo Aestheticus on May 30, 2009, 06:31:00 AM
Seriously, Eric, what Carter pieces do you like?

None unfortunately.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on May 30, 2009, 06:35:35 AM
From Carter's notes to the aforementioned Naxos disc:

Quote from: EC
Rhapsodic Musings (1999) for solo violin.
Rhapsodic Musings is a present to Robert Mann on his eightieth birthday. It is a small tribute to his extraordinary, devoted advocacy of contemporary music. As is well-known, with other members of the Juilliard Quartet he gave such pioneering and commanding performances of quartets by Bartók, Schoenberg, and many others, including my own, that many of these works became part of the performers' repertory. His teaching and other activities brought these scores to the attention of students. Using his initials R.M. in the title of this short violin solo and in its main motive —  re, mi (D, E) — this piece tries to suggest some of his remarkable human and artistic qualities. It was composed in June, 2000, in Southbury, Conecticut.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on May 30, 2009, 06:41:23 AM
Joe, have you seen the DVD of the Naxos 100th anniversary release? What did you think?

I posted the following thoughts back in March on this very thread:

I've watched Naxos DVD, which was OK, though the sound quality wasn't as good as the CD, and in Mosiac, the director kept playing with his new toy, an unnecessary kaleidoscope effect. I guess he was looking for a visual analogue to the Mosaic idea, but it was distracting and amateurish --- a shame, since the perfomance was so good. The Dialogues was well done, though, and of course, the Carter interview was interesting and charming, as all Carter interviews are. I can't remember if it was Aitken or Certer who compared the pedal work in Mosaic's harp music to driving a car.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on May 30, 2009, 06:49:05 AM
Thanks, Joe.  I guess the non-necessity of that gimmick is a given, but it didn't bother me.

Noticing a peculiarity here (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,85.msg314151.html#msg314151), I noted it there (http://henningmusick.blogspot.com/2009/05/mere-curiosity-to-be-sure.html).
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on May 30, 2009, 07:28:25 AM
Noticing a peculiarity here (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,85.msg314151.html#msg314151), I noted it there (http://henningmusick.blogspot.com/2009/05/mere-curiosity-to-be-sure.html).

Oh, I see. It was trick question.

Boosey (http://www.boosey.com/cr/music/Elliott-Carter-Rhapsodic-Musings/15892) gives the pub date of Rhapsdic Musings as 2001, so 2000 seems the a more likely composition date.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on May 30, 2009, 11:28:55 AM
Just today discovered Carter's Violin Concerto (1990), and can already tell it will become one of my favorites of his output.  The performance is electrifying: Rolf Schulte, with Justin Brown and the Odense Symphony Orchestra (on Bridge).  I realize I have a second performance of the piece I haven't listened to yet, with Ole Böhn, Oliver Knussen and the London Sinfonietta, on an EMI reissue that I got for the Concerto for Orchestra.

Any comments comparing the two performances of the Violin Concerto?  (Apologies if this has already been discussed.) 

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on May 30, 2009, 02:35:47 PM
Argh, the Knussen recording of the Vn Cto, Bruce, is a disc I let go once on a time.  I remember lliking the Concerto, though.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on May 30, 2009, 02:38:52 PM
I'd say the Second is mine. The Fourth is great, too, I think, but for some reason it gets overlooked, at least in terms of critical opinion. It's not the breaktrough that either the First or Second is, it's not as witty and approachable as the Fifth, and it's not as extreme and extroverted as the Third (which, in David Schiff's phrase, has become something of a crowd pleaser). It also seems to be regarded as the most difficult, even though it has the most sustained, closely argued, single-mood movements of any of the quartets besides the First, a beautiful adagio, and an unforgettable ending.

Reminds me that I need to spend more time with the second Pacifica Quartet disc.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on May 31, 2009, 01:39:28 PM
Just would like to thank Bruce (again) for putting the Labyrinth of Time DVD on my radar.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on May 31, 2009, 03:28:54 PM
Another request for a performance comparison. Oh, dear God, no.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on June 01, 2009, 02:30:25 AM
Gnarlier in Carter's case, if anything  ;D
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on June 01, 2009, 03:29:00 AM
maybe God is just keeping Elliott Carter alive so long to make up for his unforgivable atonal sins  :o

Had to repeat this joke, though there are some here who will take it for Gospel  0:) ;D
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on June 01, 2009, 06:00:13 AM
maybe God is just keeping Elliott Carter alive so long to make up for his unforgivable atonal sins  :o

Well, if the sins are unforgivable, there can be no making up for them, can there?
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on June 01, 2009, 06:03:42 AM
Well, if the sins are unforgivable, there can be no making up for them, can there?

Right, the only questions are how soon the punishment starts, and with what severity . . . .
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on June 01, 2009, 06:12:47 AM
Right, the only questions are how soon the punishment starts, and with what severity . . . .

Christianity is such a beautiful religion ...  0:)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on June 01, 2009, 06:14:06 AM
Christianity is such a beautiful religion ...  0:)

It is; the religion under advisement is The One True Tonality, though  0:)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Catison on June 03, 2009, 11:13:55 PM
It is; the religion under advisement is The One True Tonality, though  0:)

Atonal and atonement are such close words.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on June 04, 2009, 05:42:39 AM
Atonal and atonement are such close words.

And both apparently involve some form of blood sacrifice ...
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on June 12, 2009, 05:05:37 AM
Can't leave this thread dangling from that last post . . . .
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on June 12, 2009, 10:30:23 AM
Well, Karl, it appears there are some nonmusical matters we don't agree on. But I still love ya, bro.  ;)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on June 12, 2009, 10:42:56 AM
T'anks!
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: bobby quine on June 14, 2009, 12:36:09 PM
Did anyone else happen to see the Berlin Philharmonic with Emmanuel Pahud perform Carter's Flute Concerto Saturday night?! Barenboim conducted. (It was the last concert of the season being broadcasted by the "Digital Concert Hall", and will probably show up any day now in their archive).

I quite liked it - typical Carter, with some surprisingly lyrical passages thrown in.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on June 15, 2009, 05:19:16 AM
Did anyone else happen to see the Berlin Philharmonic with Emmanuel Pahud perform Carter's Flute Concerto Saturday night?! Barenboim conducted. (It was the last concert of the season being broadcasted by the "Digital Concert Hall", and will probably show up any day now in their archive).

I quite liked it - typical Carter, with some surprisingly lyrical passages thrown in.

I didn't hear it, but appreciate the reminder to do so online.  (And Pahud is worth hearing in anything.)  Amazing that Carter is continuing to work--at 100 years old--and turning out excellent work, to boot. 

Thanks!

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on June 15, 2009, 06:54:21 AM
bobby, Thanks so much for the reminder! I did find the link. (http://dch.berliner-philharmoniker.de/#/en/liveconcerts/2009/6/c19) Unfortuantely, it requires flash, which I cannot download onto my office computer. And my home computer is too slow. So I guess I'll have to wait. I'm glad to hear it's a successful piece.

Carter's new song cycle, On Conversing with Paradise, on cantos by Ezra Pound, will debut Saturday at the Aldebuurgh Festival. (http://www.aldeburgh.co.uk/whatson/conversing-paradise) Talk about a golden old age! My middle age isn't this interesting.

And of course, the big question on everyone's mind whenever there's a new premiere is,  "Well, now that that's finished, what else is he working on?"

A few years ago, Carter joked that maybe when he was 100, he would write a sixth string quartet. We should hold him to that. The Pacifica has been so good to him over the years that they deserve the favor.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on June 15, 2009, 07:05:18 AM
Joe, thanks for that Aldeburgh link, and man, I just have to reprint the concert, since the whole thing looks quite fine:

Birmingham Contemporary Music Group
with Royal Academy of Music Manson Ensemble*
Oliver Knussen conductor
Leigh Melrose baritone

Oliver Knussen: Coursing
Helen Grime: New work (world premiere)
Elliott Carter: On Conversing with Paradise (world premiere – Aldeburgh commission)
Stockhausen: Tierkreis (Zodiac) for orchestra*

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: bobby quine on June 16, 2009, 12:11:03 AM
Amazing that Carter is continuing to work--at 100 years old--and turning out excellent work, to boot.

I was lucky to be able to attend the European premiere of his Horn Concerto at the Concertgebouw early last year. You're right, it really is amazing - he's indeed living proof that it's possible to keep a razor sharp intellect going... (or maybe he's just on autopilot and he could probably turn out excellent stuff in his sleep...)  ;)
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on June 16, 2009, 01:26:23 AM
That Horn Concerto is a fun piece;  and it was a musical turning-point for my wife viz. Carter, for whose music she had not at all cared before.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on June 16, 2009, 06:52:16 AM
That Horn Concerto is a fun piece;  and it was a musical turning-point for my wife viz. Carter, for whose music she had not at all cared before.

Has she come to like anything else since?
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on June 16, 2009, 08:03:41 AM
Has she come to like anything else since?

Specifically of Carter's, you must mean?  There hasn't been any occasion.  I plan to spring the DVD on the girls at some point, but timing will be everything.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on June 16, 2009, 09:28:20 AM
Specifically of Carter's, you must mean? 

Yes.

And what DVD is being sprung on the girls?
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on June 16, 2009, 09:28:51 AM
Labyrinth in Time
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on June 16, 2009, 10:01:34 AM
Labyrinth in Time

Not the greatest documentary I've seen ...
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on June 16, 2009, 10:10:40 AM
Not the greatest documentary I've seen ...

Well, be fair: not every documentary can be This Is Spinal Tap
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on June 16, 2009, 10:20:32 AM
Well, be fair: not every documentary can be This Is Spinal Tap

 ;D

Very true, but still, I could have lived without the intrusive camera work in Labyrinth. How much do we need to see the speeded up traffic on the Hudson, or the East River, or whatever it was. And more context — ie., a narration — would have helped.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on June 17, 2009, 10:15:22 AM
Just got word via Tim Rutherford-Johnson's great blog, The Rambler, that more of Elliott Carter's compositional sketches are now online at the Library of Congress, here (http://lcweb2.loc.gov/diglib/ihas/search?query=%2BmemberOf:carter&view=thumbnail&sort=titlesort&label=Elliott%20Carter%20Manuscripts).  A few works are incomplete, but they expect them to be finished soon.

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on June 17, 2009, 10:19:59 AM
Just got word via Tim Rutherford-Johnson's great blog, The Rambler, that more of Elliott Carter's compositional sketches are now online at the Library of Congress, here (http://lcweb2.loc.gov/diglib/ihas/search?query=%2BmemberOf:carter&view=thumbnail&sort=titlesort&label=Elliott%20Carter%20Manuscripts).  A few works are incomplete, but they expect them to be finished soon.

--Bruce

You beat me to it, Bruce. I was just about to post the link. :D
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on June 18, 2009, 10:11:07 AM
An answer to the perennial question, what is Mr. Carter working on now?

From the The Birmingham Post (http://www.birminghampost.net/life-leisure-birmingham-guide/birmingham-culture/music-in-birmingham/2009/06/18/conversing-with-a-modern-day-great-65233-23914542/):

In fact, he was just putting the finishing touches to his latest composition, a piece for soprano and chamber ensemble with texts by the poet Marianne Moore, when we shared a conversation from his home in New York’s Greenwich Village little more than a week ago.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on June 18, 2009, 10:15:23 AM
Interesting!  Glad to hear of another song cycle, since his are generally very strong.

FYI, slightly off-topic, but on the apartment building across the street from mine, there is a small plaque with Marianne Moore's dates--apparently she lived there for some time. 

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on June 18, 2009, 11:46:43 AM
Interesting!  Glad to hear of another song cycle, since his are generally very strong.

FYI, slightly off-topic, but on the apartment building across the street from mine, there is a small plaque with Marianne Moore's dates--apparently she lived there for some time. 

--Bruce

Manahattan is truly a village.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on June 22, 2009, 11:37:33 AM
Upcoming Carter broadcast on BBC 3, the The Independent:

Carter’s new work, ‘On Conversing with Paradise’, is an 11-minute setting of some fragments of Ezra Pound which express the poet’s despair at not having written the perfect poem. Under Oliver Knussen’s incisive baton, baritone Leigh Melrose and Birmingham Contemporary Music Group evoked a timelessly simple and savage world which made the Maltings rafters ring. Modal rather than tonal, and grounded in thudding and throbbing percussion, it delineated a view of heaven from hell with unassailable authority. Radio 3’s ‘Hear and Now’ will broadcast these and other Aldeburgh events on July 11 and 18.

Broadcasts are streamed on the BBC 3 webstie and reamin available on line for one week after the broadcast date.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on June 23, 2009, 10:59:20 AM
Lovely blog post (http://classical-iconoclast.blogspot.com/2009/06/elliott-carter-100-12-at-aldeburgh.html) about Carter's appearance at the Aldeburgh Festival.

He is now a hundred and a half.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on July 06, 2009, 06:58:57 AM
TTT
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on July 06, 2009, 07:17:10 AM
TTT

To the top?
Tim Tang test?
Third Tier Toilet?
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: greg on July 06, 2009, 05:26:33 PM
No, Tic Tac Toe.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on July 07, 2009, 02:37:06 AM
. . . but still, I could have lived without the intrusive camera work in Labyrinth. How much do we need to see the speeded up traffic on the Hudson, or the East River, or whatever it was. And more context — ie., a narration — would have helped.

Another film or two of "firmer" documentary character will certainly be welcome.  I have no quarrel with the 'vignette' aspects of style in Labyrinth, though.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on July 07, 2009, 06:01:09 AM
No, Tic Tac Toe.

Which means what, exactly, in this context?
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on July 08, 2009, 06:28:07 AM
Nice two-part interview with Mr. Carter here (http://www.dw-world.de/dw/episode/0,,4277497,00.html) and here (http://www.dw-world.de/dw/episode/0,,4277498,00.html).
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: UB on July 08, 2009, 08:03:35 AM
This coming Saturday's Hear and Now on R3 features the Carter's 5th String Quartet and the premiere of two of his short piano pieces. Also there is a premiere of a major vocal work by Harrison Birtwistle. You can listen to the program on Saturday or anytime for a week after.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: karlhenning on July 09, 2009, 02:22:25 AM
Nice two-part interview with Mr. Carter here (http://www.dw-world.de/dw/episode/0,,4277497,00.html) and here (http://www.dw-world.de/dw/episode/0,,4277498,00.html).

Thanks for these (and thanks, Bill).
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: greg on July 10, 2009, 03:20:25 PM
Which means what, exactly, in this context?
Yo mama.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Joe Barron on July 12, 2009, 05:09:10 AM
Channel 12.2, one of Philadelphia three digital public TV stations, presented an excellent program of Carter's music this week, all played by students at the Curtis Institute of music. Program consisted of A Mirror on Which to Dwell, Gra, the Cello Sonata and a tribute piece by a young Curtis composer I had not heard of. All the pieces seemed to be well-performed -- I say seemed because the inferior quality of my TV speakers made a full appreciation impossible. But I was especially impressed with the young soprano in Mirror and the cellist in the Sonata: just watching his fingers move on the neck of the instrument was exciting. Carter has said that when it was new, the Cello  Sonata was considered unplayable by all but the greatest virtuosi, and now it's taught in conservatories. It makes me happy (as it did at Tanglewood) to see how young musicians take to this music.

Program repeats this evening, Sunday, 7-12, at 7 p.m. Unfortunately, I have not been able to find any Web source for it.
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: DavidW on July 17, 2009, 07:37:10 AM
When I first heard Carter in his orchestral music I wasn't ready for him, it's been a few years and I've revisited his music.  Now I really enjoy his string quartets, and feel that I want to dip into his orchestral music.  Where is a good place for a newbie to start?
Title: Re: The Carter Corner
Post by: Brewski on July 17, 2009, 07:47:36 AM
You might try the Concerto for Orchestra (1969, below, with the Violin Concerto and Three Occasions), or one of my faves, the Variations for Orchestra (1955).  The latter is on at least two recordings, one with Gielen/Cincinnati on an all-Carter CD, and a second with Levine/Chicago with works by Cage, Babbitt and Schuller.  My hunch is that you might prefer the Gielen, which also has Ursula Oppens in a smashing performance of the