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Music of Elliott Carter, Vol. 7
     

The Music of Elliott Carter, Vol. 7

by Fred Sherry
 
Released shortly after Elliott Carter's 95th birthday -- and more remarkably, comprising four major works written after his 90th -- this album of Carter's music demonstrates better than any other his continued vitality and creativity. If his name was once synonymous with daunting complexity, Carter's more recent works are still demanding on the listener but less

Overview

Released shortly after Elliott Carter's 95th birthday -- and more remarkably, comprising four major works written after his 90th -- this album of Carter's music demonstrates better than any other his continued vitality and creativity. If his name was once synonymous with daunting complexity, Carter's more recent works are still demanding on the listener but less forbiddingly dense. On the contrary, there's a real clarity to the orchestration in works like the Boston Concerto (2002) and the Dialogues for Piano and Chamber Orchestra (2003), which allows a sense of playfulness to come the fore. It's easy to enjoy the fascinating, shifting surfaces of this music without worrying about its technical complexity; even listeners who have trouble warming to Carter may be won over. Those two works, along with the Cello Concerto (2001), all receive their premiere recordings on this disc -- it's thus been keenly anticipated by Carter's admirers -- while the ASKO Concerto (2000) is heard in a live taping from its world premiere performance in Amsterdam. In the Cello Concerto, premiered by Yo-Yo Ma but performed with zeal here by veteran new-music champion Fred Sherry, the soundworld is more classically Carteresque. The composer's trademark fluidity of rhythm and meter is very much in evidence, creating an especially poetic sense of freedom in the Lento at the center of the seven movements. The ASKO Concerto (named for the Dutch ensemble that commissioned it) is also vintage Carter, its 16 instruments dispersed in unlikely groupings -- clarinet in duet with double bass, for example, or trumpet with violin -- and each obeying its own inner rhythmic drive. Oliver Knussen does a marvelous job conducting each of these tricky scores, conveying all the lively momentum and kaleidoscopic play of color combinations that have been enriching Carter's music for more than half a century.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Blair Sanderson
The seventh volume in Bridge's comprehensive series of the music of Elliott Carter presents four important concertos, composed in as many years by the dean of American composers, who appears vigorous, sharp-witted, and abundantly creative in his ninth decade. "Dialogues for piano and chamber orchestra" (2003), performed with crisp articulation and spontaneous energy by pianist Nicolas Hodges and the London Sinfonietta, under the direction of Oliver Knussen, is one of the most transparent of these late works by Carter, whose music in previous years was often noted and criticized for its extreme complexity and density. This piece's textural clarity is aided by the regular alternation of the piano and various subsections of the ensemble, which has rather few overlapping tutti passages. The "Boston Concerto for orchestra" (2002) is somewhat more elaborately laid out and layered, though much of this work's complexity is diffused over the course of its 13 short, distinctive sections. The BBC Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Knussen, is fastidious in its execution and expressively concentrated in this virtuoso vehicle. Carter's "Cello Concerto" (2001) is played with a plangent edge by Fred Sherry against the BBCSO's brutal but effective accompaniment, though the "ASKO Concerto" (2000) receives a more relaxed, conversational treatment by the ensemble for which the piece was composed and named. Both are conducted by the astute Knussen, who has delivered a consistent and evenly balanced album, despite having to divide his energies between three different groups in two venues over four recording sessions. This disc is highly recommended for Carter's devoted followers, but because of its clear layout and comparative comprehensibility, it is also a good introductory album for newcomers to his music.
Gramophone - Ken Smith
There are composers who get a second wind late in their career – and then there’s Elliott Carter.... Clearly Carter has started letting his musical ideas sing as well as shout.

Product Details

Release Date:
12/27/2005
Label:
Bridge
UPC:
0090404918421
catalogNumber:
9184

Related Subjects

Tracks

  1. Dialogues, for piano & chamber orchestra
  2. Boston Concerto, for orchestra
  3. Cello Concerto
  4. Asko Concerto, for orchestra

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