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Carter: Quintets And Voices / Oppens, Arditti Sq, Et Al

Release Date: 12/09/2003 
Label:  Mode   Catalog #: 128   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Elliott Carter
Performer:  Graeme JenningsDov ScheindlinUrsula OppensIrvine Arditti,   ... 
Conductor:  Jeffrey MilarskyStefan Asbury
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Arditti String QuartetEnsemble Sospeso
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 19 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

A entertaining collection of recent Carter: a nonagenarian with plenty still to say

It’s most unusual for a contemporary work to have three recordings issued within a year or so: and while the piano piece Retrouvailles (2000) is not Carter at his most demanding – a tribute for Boulez’s 75th birthday, it lasts less than two minutes – Ursula Oppens’s performance comes at the end of one of the most substantial and well-varied Carter programmes on disc.

Pride of place goes to Syringa (1978), an intricate exploration of the relation between words and music in which Carter combines a poem about Orpheus by John Ashbery (for soprano) with extracts from ancient Greek texts (baritone). With a rich instrumental
Read more accompaniment in which the opposite extremes of guitar and trombone are prominent, Syringa offers fascinating insights into Carterian aesthetics.

The Quintet for Piano and Wind (1991) was written for Heinz Holliger and friends, but the Mode team has nothing to fear from the comparison. Oppens’s playing is as emotionally responsive as it is rhythmically precise, even though the recorded sound (generally adequate) does the piano few favours.

The other vocal work, Tempo e Tempi (1998) – settings of Italian texts for soprano and four instruments – is warmly moulded, if less clearly articulated than in the (unconducted) performance on Bridge sung by Susan Narucki. But, with the Arditti Quartet on hand to begin the programme with a gripping account of the far-from-casual Fragment II (1999), the CD has much of distinction to offer.

The DVD adds a performance of the Quintet with strings, and a 40-minute conversation, filmed in February 2000. Though this is probably less informative than separate interviews would have been, it contains some interesting exchanges, and Carter’s ability to summarise his objectives in clear and simple terms, as in his comments on Syringa, remains remarkable. The Quintet performance takes place with the camera in constant motion, and while the close focus (more on faces than fingers) and dramatic lighting match the intensity of the music, and underline the different performance styles – the Arditti team cool and collected, Oppens anxiously watchful – there’s a danger of being distracted from the tersely eventful music by the restlessness of the camera-work.

-- Arnold Whittall, Gramophone [Awards Issue 2004}
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Works on This Recording

Quintet for Piano and Strings by Elliott Carter
Performer:  Graeme Jennings (Violin), Dov Scheindlin (Viola), Ursula Oppens (Piano),
Irvine Arditti (Violin), Rohan de Saram (Cello)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Arditti String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1997; USA 
Date of Recording: 12/07/1998 
Venue:  Purchase College, SUNY Univ., New York 
Length: 14 Minutes 56 Secs. 
Fragment for String Quartet by Elliott Carter
Performer:  Irvine Arditti (Violin), Rohan de Saram (Cello), Graeme Jennings (Violin),
Dov Scheindlin (Viola)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Arditti String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1994; USA 
Date of Recording: 02/20/2000 
Venue:  St Peter's Church, New York City 
Length: 4 Minutes 31 Secs. 
Quintet for Piano and Winds by Elliott Carter
Performer:  Ursula Oppens (Piano), Frank Morelli (Bassoon), William Purvis (French Horn),
Stephen Taylor (Oboe), Charles Neidich (Clarinet)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1991; USA 
Date of Recording: 12/20/2000 
Venue:  Academy of Arts & Letters, New York City 
Length: 22 Minutes 8 Secs. 
Syringa by Elliott Carter
Performer:  André Solomon-Glover (Bass), Lucy Shelton (Soprano)
Conductor:  Jeffrey Milarsky
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Sospeso
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1978; USA 
Date of Recording: 10/1999 
Venue:  Concordia College 
Length: 19 Minutes 11 Secs. 
Language: English 
Tempo e tempi by Elliott Carter
Performer:  Mark Menzies (Violin), Robert Ingliss (Oboe), Wendy Sutter (Cello),
Marianne Gythfeldt (Bass Clarinet), Lucy Shelton (Soprano), Marianne Gythfeldt (Clarinet),
Robert Ingliss (English Horn)
Conductor:  Stefan Asbury
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Sospeso
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1999; New York, USA 
Date of Recording: 02/22/2001 
Venue:  Episcopal Church of Good Shepherd, NYC 
Length: 16 Minutes 6 Secs. 
Language: English 
Retrouvailles by Elliott Carter
Performer:  Ursula Oppens (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 2000; USA 
Date of Recording: 12/20/2000 
Venue:  Academy of Arts & Letters, New York City 
Length: 1 Minutes 51 Secs. 

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