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Carter: Early Chamber Music / Chicago Pro Musica

Release Date: 11/19/1999 
Label:  Cedille Records   Catalog #: 48   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Elliott Carter
Performer:  Barbara Haffner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Pro Musica
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 57 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

While he's considered both by institutions and his colleagues to be one of America's major living composers, Elliott Carter largely remains, at 91, a terra incognita for the general audience. The difficulty of his late music isn't a complete stranger to this situation. Focusing on Carter's crucial, crossroads period, this new CD looks like a good place to start for a mild initiation. The four works recorded here show Carter in the middle of a transformation process, evolving from a Nadia Boulanger-stamped neo-classicism to his own, richly crafted, rhythmically busy personal idiom. The idyllic Pastoral (1945) juxtaposes intense melodic clarinet lines with a more pungent piano part. The dissociation between two instruments--or rather two Read more instrumental personalities--goes a step further in the Cello Sonata from 1948, considered Carter's breakthrough piece. Though still traditional in overall shape (four classically displayed movements), the writing itself becomes more complex and rhythmically intricate than ever before. The piece doesn't lack lyricism or seduction--actually, it's just the opposite, as the complexity helps the expression to efficiently regenerate itself. The woodwind pieces experiment with all kinds of combinations, creating a collection of striking figures, from a single chord or even a note constantly changing color to audacious rhythmic overlapping and unusual instrumental effects. Thanks to Daniel Barenboim's constant advocacy of the New York-based composer, Chicago Symphony musicians, who, along with freelance pianist Easley Blackwood and cellist Barbara Haffner make up the Chicago Pro Musica, easily speak Carter's musical language. Their precision and familiarity with the music allows them to play these pieces as classics--and that's exactly what they are.

--Luca Sabbatini, ClassicsToday.com [12/27/1999]
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Works on This Recording

1. Pastorale for Clarinet and Piano by Elliott Carter
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Pro Musica
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1940; USA 
Date of Recording: 1997-99 
Venue:  WFMT Studios, Chicago, Illinois 
Length: 9 Minutes 27 Secs. 
2. Quintet for Piano and Winds by Elliott Carter
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Pro Musica
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1991; USA 
Date of Recording: 1997-99 
Venue:  WFMT Studios, Chicago, Illinois 
Length: 8 Minutes 14 Secs. 
3. Sonata for Cello and Piano by Elliott Carter
Performer:  Barbara Haffner (Cello)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Pro Musica
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1948; USA 
Date of Recording: 1997-99 
Venue:  WFMT Studios, Chicago, Illinois 
Length: 21 Minutes 6 Secs. 
4. Etudes (8) and a Fantasy for Flute, Oboe, Clarinet and Bassoon by Elliott Carter
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Pro Musica
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1949-1950; USA 
Length: 16 Minutes 18 Secs. 

Sound Samples

Pastoral: for Clarinet and Piano
Woodwind Quintet: I. Allegretto
Woodwind Quintet: II. Allegro giocoso
Cello Sonata: I. Moderato
Cello Sonata: II. vivace, molto leggiero
Cello Sonata: III. Adagio
Cello Sonata: IV. Alllegro
8 Etudes and a Fantasy: I. Maestoso
8 Etudes and a Fantasy: II. Quietly
8 Etudes and a Fantasy: III. Adagio possibile
8 Etudes and a Fantasy: IV. Vivace
8 Etudes and a Fantasy: V. Andante
8 Etudes and a Fantasy: VI. Allegretto leggero
8 Etudes and a Fantasy: VII. Intensely
8 Etudes and a Fantasy: VIII. Presto
8 Etudes and a Fantasy: Fantasy: Tempo giusto

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