- Nine by Five, for flute, oboe, clarinet, horn & bassoon
- Tri-Tribute, for piano
- Two Thoughts About the Piano, for piano
Volume 9 of Bridge's Elliott Carter Edition consists of seven works from three major periods of his career. Carter's early, neo-classical music is represented by the modal song, "Tell Me Where Is Fancy Bred" (1938) for soprano and guitar, and two ambitious vocal settings in the Americana vein, "Voyage," and "Warble for Lilac Time" (both composed in 1943 and orchestrated in 1979). The "Piano Concerto" (1964-1965) is characteristic of Carter's middle avant-garde phase, distinguished by many layers of dissonance and complex textures that sometimes threaten to overwhelm the piano part. Carter's late works show a striving for clarity and more transparent sonorities, as typified by "Two Thoughts about the Piano" (2005-2006), and "Tri-Tribute" (2007-2008), both for solo piano, and the wind quintet "Nine by Five" (2009). Like previous volumes, this one offers a mix of ADD and DDD recordings from different dates and venues, and the roster of various artists gives it a slightly ad hoc feeling. Because Charles Rosen's performance of the "Piano Concerto" with the Basel Sinfonietta is the most substantial part of the program and the most representative of Carter's maturity, it is centrally placed. The quality of the other performances is high, though, so Bridge has performed another service for Carter's legacy by preserving music that has not yet found a secure place in the repertoire.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
In the 9th volume of Bridge Record's Elliot Carter series is an interesting collection of old and the new. The old is represented by some of Carter's works from the 1940's - two works for soprano and orchestra, plus the intimate "Tell Me Where is Fancy Bred" for soprano and guitar. All three works have the tonal American sound of Aaron Copland and Roy Harris, but the harmonies are slightly more adventuresome. The new consists of three piano works, all composed between 2005 and 2009. This is Carter at his most advanced and complex. The temporal modulations, the advanced atonal structure, and the incredibly technical challenges are all there -- and admirably handled by pianist Steven Beck. Linking these two groups is Carter's 1964 Piano Concerto, performed by Charles Rosen. When heard in order, the works on this release reveals insights about Carter, and his growth as a composer. As pleasant as they sound, one can hear the seeds of his highly personal style in the 1940's works. The piano concerto still has echoes of that earlier tonal style, and look forward to the final three piano works on the album. This is an album that rewards careful listening, and is an important addition to Elliot Carter's musical legacy.