Carter: String Quartets Nos. 1 & 5

Carter: String Quartets Nos. 1 & 5

by Pacifica Quartet
     
 

Elliott Carter holds the distinction not only of being one of the most prolific composers of the twentieth (and indeed twenty first) century, but also one of the longest living. Born in 1908, the release of this 2008 album marks the beginning of his 100th year as an active member of the musical community. What better way to celebrate such an achievement than with a… See more details below

Overview

Elliott Carter holds the distinction not only of being one of the most prolific composers of the twentieth (and indeed twenty first) century, but also one of the longest living. Born in 1908, the release of this 2008 album marks the beginning of his 100th year as an active member of the musical community. What better way to celebrate such an achievement than with a strong performance of two of his most significant contributions to chamber music: the first and fifth string quartets. The first quartet, composed in 1951, marks Carter's first true venture into his own compositional language without regard for past conventions or the technical difficulties of the work. Following on the heels of his cello sonata, it's no wonder this quartet should open with an extended cello solo. The members of the Pacifica Quartet deftly handle all of Carter's demands and do so while maintaining the work's sense of musicality rather than transforming it into a mere technical exercise. The same could be said of the "Fifth Quartet"; written more than four decades later, it is Carter's self-proclaimed "farewell" to the explorations of the previous four. Its 12 movements require players to quickly change moods and characters while maintaining the flow from movement to movement, each of which lasts less than two minutes. The Pacifica Quartet's exceptional musical and technical skills again give listeners a highly satisfying, cohesive performance of this complex work that is often as difficult for listeners as it is for musicians.

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Editorial Reviews

Gramophone - Richard Whitehouse
The sound has ideal clarity and warmth, and there are revealing notes from Bayan Northcott and the composer. If the second disc maintains such a level, this will certainly be the Carter quartet cycle to have.
Philadelphia Inquirer - David Patrick Stearns
1/2 An excellent introduction to this great American composer.
Dallas Morning News - Lawson Taitte
[Grade: A] The Bottom Line: Likely to prove the best recording to date of one of the most influential quartet cycles of the 20th century.
The Guardian - Andrew Clements
A wonderful bargain, and the best possible introduction to Carter's music.

Product Details

Release Date:
01/29/2008
Label:
Naxos American
UPC:
0636943936221
catalogNumber:
8559362
Rank:
127636

Tracks

  1. String Quartet No. 1  - Elliott Carter  -  Pacifica Quartet  - Gasparo da Salò
  2. String Quartet No.5  - Elliott Carter  -  Pacifica Quartet  - Gasparo da Salò

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