Saturday, July 11, 2009

A Source Of Wonder

The plentiful harvest of Elliott Carter’s recent output has been a source of wonder for those composers of my generation who were deeply affected in our formative years by the successive appearances—four years apart—of his three masterpieces of the 1960’s (Double Concerto, Piano Concerto, Concerto For Orchestra). That these phenomenally detailed yet immediately dramatic scores were the result of the painstaking development of a richly multi-leveled musical language—but one based on the simplest of building blocks—was evident to anyone who took the trouble to trace the evolution of that language from the Piano Sonata (1946) through the Cello Sonata (1948), the first two String Quartets (1951, 1959) and the Variations For Orchestra (1955).

Oliver Knussen (1999)

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