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Thread: Elliott Carter

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    Default Elliott Carter

    Last week, at the Philharmonic concert, we heard Elliott Carter's "Holiday Overture". It was all new to me and quite enjoyable. I am almost embarrassed to say I'd never heard of Elliott Carter. Where have I been? I just did a search of the web and discovered that, last December 11, Elliott Carter was still living and composing at age 103! Will he be celebrating 104?

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/deceptiveca...mposing-at-103

    Can anyone tell me other really good recordings of Elliott Carter compositions? Thank you.

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    Senior Member Jeremy Marchant's Avatar
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    The Holiday overture comes from 1945, rather a long time ago, though of course Carter's compositional style was fully mature then. I was rather taken with the piano sonata, roughly contemporaneous with the overture, when I reviewed a recording for Fanfare.

    Bridge Records is recording a lot (all) of Carter's music and that series is generally very well received.

    I can attest to the quality of this CD by London Sinfonietta/Oliver Knussen of the concertio for orchestra, violin concerto and Three occasions for orchestra

    45079.JPG

    Carter can be technically difficult to play and is, at the same time, nowhere near being a cult so, in my experience, people who record his music generally do so because they are committed to it and are disinclined to make fools of themselves by doing it badly. So, you're likely to find good perfomances whatever you choose.

    There's a surpsing amount on Spotify (just search on "elliott carter")
    Last edited by Jeremy Marchant; Sep-02-2012 at 16:42.
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    Thank you, Jeremy. I have noted this so I can talk sense with the man at Archivmusic when he returns. That will be Tuesday since Monday is a "race down the highways to your doom" day. Labor Day, in other words. I often wonder why it is called "Labor" Day when no one labors.

    I truly look forward to more of Elliott Carter and hope I read about his 104th birthday celebration.

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    Well done, Jeremy. You've covered enough to encourage @Hazel to investigate.

    Carter is a 'one-off', @Hazel. There are several posts/threads on TC about the guy and his music, but your own ears have precedence.
    Experience teaches you to recognize a mistake when you've made it again.
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    It is nice to follow the oft-paraphrased philosophy "I don't know much about ... (fill in your own words) ... but I know what I like. Good to be that way because I can then create my own environment. Nothing worse than putting a book on the coffee table that you'd never read just because "everyone has read it".

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    His music from the 1940s-50s is far easier for many people to handle than his more recent music...from the 70s onward.
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    Senior Member Jeremy Marchant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kontrapunctus View Post
    His music from the 1940s-50s is far easier for many people to handle than his more recent music...from the 70s onward.
    That's true, but his most recent music eases off on the complexity front to some extent.
    However, I never feel that the difficulty in some of his scores is (a) gratuitous, (b) unpalatable. When I listen to Babbitt, I have a really hard time to be honest, whereas Carter's complexity is, at the very least, exhilarating.

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    Elliott Carter wrote more compositions since he was ninety than he did in the first ninety years of his life!

    His clarinet concerto is very fun and enjoyable. I recommend this:

    Last edited by ComposerOfAvantGarde; Sep-04-2012 at 14:45.
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    Senior Member Jeremy Marchant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ComposerOfAvantGarde View Post
    His clarinet concerto is very fun and enjoyable. I recommend this:

    I agree. I couldn't find it on ArkivMusic or MDT so didn't mention it. Worth picking up s/h if you find it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ComposerOfAvantGarde View Post
    Elliott Carter wrote more compositions since he was ninety than he did in the first ninety years of his life!

    His clarinet concerto is very fun and enjoyable. I recommend this:

    I found a number of them at Archiv but I'm not sure they are the complete work since other artists are also named. That is always a mystery to me - being sure I get the complete work and not just one movement or a few phrases.

    http://www.arkivmusic.com/classical/...rter&sa=Search

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hazel View Post
    I found a number of them at Archiv but I'm not sure they are the complete work since other artists are also named. That is always a mystery to me - being sure I get the complete work and not just one movement or a few phrases.

    The two Carter Clarinet Concerto recs that I'm familiar with, are the aformentioned on DG, and Nouvel Ensemble Moderne on Atma. Both contain all Carter material, and each work is complete.

    I also suggest (all Carter material, and each work is complete): Boston Concerto, Cello Concerto, etc., with Knussen et al, on Bridge; Piano Concerto, etc.. with Oppens/Gielen et al, on Arte Nova; String Quartets 1 - 5, with Pacifica Qt. on Naxos.

    Enjoy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vaneyes View Post
    The two Carter Clarinet Concerto recs that I'm familiar with, are the aformentioned on DG, and Nouvel Ensemble Moderne on Atma. Both contain all Carter material, and each work is complete.

    I also suggest (all Carter material, and each work is complete): Boston Concerto, Cello Concerto, etc., with Knussen et al, on Bridge; Piano Concerto, etc.. with Oppens/Gielen et al, on Arte Nova; String Quartets 1 - 5, with Pacifica Qt. on Naxos.

    Enjoy.
    I have the Bridge one noted. Also his Holiday Overture. I definitely want that one. I'm waiting to hear from Archiv. I need a reply to a question I sent them - which they are always so good to provide. Thank you much. I find ArchivMusic very dependable when it comes to purchasing.

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    Hazel,

    Mr. Carter's style changed radically during the 1950s and 60s, when he became one of the world's most repsected avatn-gardists. Much of his mature work does not sound at all like the Holiday Overture, and it might not be to your taste. However, he wrote a lot of music during his earlier, neo-classical phase that I'm sure you'd enjoy. The Piano Sonata has already been mentioned. I would look into his Symphony No. 1, his Elegy for Strings (which also has a number of other arrangements), the Pastorale for clarinet and piano, the delightful Wind Quintet of 1948, the ballet Pocahantas, and his two Dickinson settings or chorus, "Musicians Wrestle Everywhere" and "Heart Not So Heavy as Mine." If you're feeling a little more adventurous, I would also recommend the Cello Sonata form 1948, the Sonata for Flute, Oboe, Cello and Harpsichord (1952) and the Eight Etudes and a Fantasy for Woodwind Quartet.

    Moving forward, you could explore the the String Quartet No. 1 (1951) and the Variations for Orchestra (1954) - and then all the other stuff that everyone else here has recommended.

    I do hope you look into more of Mr. Carter's work. I know most of his music and have found it very rewarding over the years.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JoeBarron View Post
    Hazel,

    Mr. Carter's style changed radically during the 1950s and 60s, when he became one of the world's most repsected avatn-gardists. Much of his mature work does not sound at all like the Holiday Overture, and it might not be to your taste. However, he wrote a lot of music during his earlier, neo-classical phase that I'm sure you'd enjoy. The Piano Sonata has already been mentioned. I would look into his Symphony No. 1, his Elegy for Strings (which also has a number of other arrangements), the Pastorale for clarinet and piano, the delightful Wind Quintet of 1948, the ballet Pocahantas, and his two Dickinson settings or chorus, "Musicians Wrestle Everywhere" and "Heart Not So Heavy as Mine." If you're feeling a little more adventurous, I would also recommend the Cello Sonata form 1948, the Sonata for Flute, Oboe, Cello and Harpsichord (1952) and the Eight Etudes and a Fantasy for Woodwind Quartet.

    Moving forward, you could explore the the String Quartet No. 1 (1951) and the Variations for Orchestra (1954) - and then all the other stuff that everyone else here has recommended.

    I do hope you look into more of Mr. Carter's work. I know most of his music and have found it very rewarding over the years.
    Thank you. I'll see what You Tube brings up. Or, B&N may have some I can listen to. Hazel

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hazel View Post
    Thank you. I'll see what You Tube brings up. Or, B&N may have some I can listen to. Hazel
    Oh, I doubt Barnes and Noble would have any Carter.

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