This four-disc retrospective documents some of Elliott Carter's most essential works, recorded for Nonesuch between 1968 and 1985. The compilation includes convention-defying, breakthrough pieces, like Carter's Cello
Sonata and String Quartet No. 1, "a large experiment in polyrhythms of all kinds," Carter has said.
Carter demanded as much from the intrepid listeners who embraced his rhythmically and
theoretically complex works as from the musicians who played them. He was often a polarizing figure, who provoked and confounded as
many as he influenced and encouraged.
Carter has said he considered "change, process,
evolution as music’s prime factor." Time was a constant obsession; he experimented boldly with tempo and often looked beyond
traditional Western sources for inspiration.
As liner note writer Paul Griffiths explains, Nonesuch, then helmed by creative director Teresa Sterne, "played a conspicuous role
in carrying his music to a wide audience...bringing him the acclaim that encouraged him to go on, with undiminished vigor, into a
'late period' that has lasted more than thirty years. Nonesuch was not only the first label to give Carter's music international distribution
and continuing support, it also placed his work in an appropriate context of discovery and adventure." From the Label