Elliott Carter: Double concerto for harpsichord & piano with two chamber orchestras

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Click for availability and more information Double concerto for harpsichord & piano with two chamber orchestras, by Elliott Carter

One of the most esteemed American composers of the last half of the 20th Century, Elliott Carter is still plying his trade in his hundredth year. This piece was completed in 1961, and reflects the maturation of Carter's theories on "metrical modulation", where rhythmic continuity is maintained despite the cumulative change in tempo imparted by altering the note values played by individual instruments. I'm not sure this particular innovation had much bearing on my appreciation for the composition, which was visceral rather than analytical. What struck me repeatedly was the sheer beauty of texture and line; reminiscent, to my mind, of Edgar Varese's Arcana, although on a smaller scale. Indeed, this recording was recommended by a friend familiar with my enthusiasm for the Varese.
The disc also comprises Carter's Sonata for flute, oboe, cello & harpsichord (1948) and Sonata for cello and piano (1952). The former rivals the Double concerto for my affections for the same reasons cited above. The latter was a little more astringent; not surprising, given its sparser instrumentation, but still arresting. All told, this CD represents an investment of time I'm very glad I made.
-David

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This page contains a single entry published on February 2, 2009 8:00 PM.

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