Thursday, June 14, 2012

Elliott Carter: Three Occasions for Orchestra; Violin Concerto; Concerto for Orchestra

"Instead of one stream of musical time and texture, Carter puts several on top of each other. In his Third Quartet, the four players are split into two duos who play different music at different speeds simultaneously – which the players, have somehow to co-ordinate (listen to how the heroic Arditti Quartet do it), and in the Concerto for Orchestra, written in 1969, Carter splits the ensemble into four, each associated with a different harmony and a different kind of motion. It took Oliver Knussen's brilliant recording of the piece with the London Sinfonietta in 1992 to fully realise the Concerto's enormous poetic power. Carter was inspired by the imagery of Saint-John Perse's 1946 poem, Vents; to listen to the Concerto for Orchestra is to experience all of the drama of a seasonal year, a whole cycle of birth, death, and renewal, in a mere 20 minutes. Carter told me not far off a decade ago, when he was a mere slip of a lad approaching his 95th birthday, that he didn't know how he had the patience to write down this teemingly, ferociously compositionally demanding music. But thank goodness he did: it's music whose secrets only get richer the more you listen" (Tom Service, "A Guide to Elliott Carter's Music," The Guardian, 4/30/12).

View catalog record here!