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Elliott Carter - A Nonesuch Restrospective


Release Date: 02/24/2009 
Label:  Nonesuch   Catalog #: 510893   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Elliott Carter
Performer:  Paul JacobsJan DeGaetaniJoel KrosnickHarvey Sollberger
Conductor:  Gerard Schwarz
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Chamber SymphonyLos Angeles Chamber Orchestra
Number of Discs: 4 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This chronological four-disc survey of what we have come to think of as Elliott Carter’s middle period, from his mid thirties to his early seventies, is not comprehensive: there is a long gap between the Double Concerto (1961) and Night Fantasies (1980), during which he composed his Piano Concerto, Concerto for Orchestra, String Quartet No. 3, A Symphony of Three Orchestras and other substantial pieces. Nor is it entirely drawn from Nonesuch’s own back catalogue: James Levine’s recording of the Variations for Orchestra (1955) with the Chicago SO has been brought in from DG. Even more oddly, Carter’s Duo for Violin and Piano (1974), of which Nonesuch did release the first recording, has been excluded for some reason. That said, there is some Read more valuable material here – not least from two much admired artists cut off far too soon. Jan DeGaetani’s intimate mezzo is only to be heard in the slightly cute pair of Robert Frost settings from 1942 in Carter’s early Americanist manner. But Paul Jacobs’s accounts of the pandiatonic Piano Sonata (1946) and the darkly troubled Night Fantasies (1980) offer convincing alternatives to the sweep of Charles Rosen’s definitive readings – less grand, perhaps, but more thoughtfully nuanced. Included, too, are the fine recordings of the Cello Sonata (1948), and the volatile Sonata for Flute, Oboe, Cello and Harpsichord (1952). These intent and finely focused readings of the first two string quartets (1951 and 1959) by The Composer’s Quartet, also played a vital part in extending Carter’s reputation when they first appeared around 1970 with extensive sleeve notes of his own – though now challenged by The Pacifica Quartet’s well-characterised Grammy-Award-winning two-disc cycle of all five Carter quartets on Naxos. Of the orchestral scores, Gerard Schwartz offers the only recording to date of the complete score of Carter’s Stravinskian ballet The Minotaur (1947) – a third longer than the occasionally performed suite, but annoyingly recycled here at a lower dynamic level than the rest of the disc. Still, Levine’s account of the Variations for Orchestra has the sweep of conviction, and Weisberg’s handling of the intricate Double Concerto is as finely detailed as any. The recording of the mercurial Triple Duo (1982) preserves the liveliness of the long-gone Fires of London (for once, not playing music by its director Maxwell Davies), while Carter’s turbulent Robert Lowell cycle In Sleep, In Thunder under Oliver Knussen remains strong as ever.

Performance: 4 (out of 5), Sound: 4 (out of 5)

-- Bayan Northcott, BBC Music Magazine Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Sonata for Piano by Elliott Carter
Performer:  Paul Jacobs (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1945-1946; USA 
2.
Three Poems of Robert Frost: Dust of Snow by Elliott Carter
Performer:  Paul Jacobs (Piano), Jan DeGaetani (Mezzo Soprano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1943; USA 
3.
Three Poems of Robert Frost: The Rose Family by Elliott Carter
Performer:  Jan DeGaetani (Mezzo Soprano), Paul Jacobs (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1943; USA 
4.
The Minotaur by Elliott Carter
Conductor:  Gerard Schwarz
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Chamber Symphony,  Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1947; USA 
5.
Elegy for String Quartet by Elliott Carter
Conductor:  Gerard Schwarz
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Chamber Symphony,  Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1946; USA 
6.
Sonata for Cello and Piano by Elliott Carter
Performer:  Joel Krosnick (Cello), Paul Jacobs (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1948; USA 
7.
Quartet for Strings no 1 by Elliott Carter
Performer:  Joel Krosnick (Cello)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1950-1951; USA 
8.
Sonata for Flute, Oboe, Cello and Harpsichord by Elliott Carter
Performer:  Harvey Sollberger (Flute), Joel Krosnick (Cello)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1952; USA 
9.
Variations for Orchestra by Elliott Carter
Conductor:  Gerard Schwarz
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Chamber Symphony,  Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1954-1955; USA 
10.
Quartet for Strings no 2 by Elliott Carter
Performer:  Joel Krosnick (Cello)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1959; USA 
11.
Double Concerto for Harpsichord and Piano by Elliott Carter
Performer:  Paul Jacobs (Piano)
Conductor:  Gerard Schwarz
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Chamber Symphony,  Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1959-1961; USA 
12.
Night Fantasies by Elliott Carter
Conductor:  Gerard Schwarz
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Chamber Symphony,  Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1980; USA 
13.
Triple Duo by Elliott Carter
Performer:  Joel Krosnick (Cello), Paul Jacobs (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1982-1983; USA 
14.
In Sleep, In Thunder by Elliott Carter
Conductor:  Gerard Schwarz
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Chamber Symphony,  Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1981; USA 

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