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Elliott Carter's final works premiered in international tribute

(May 2013)

Elliott Carter's final works are receiving first performances, including Instances for chamber orchestra in Seattle in February and his last chamber work, Epigrams, at the Aldeburgh Festival in June.

The works of Elliott Carter’s final years are receiving premieres around the world in tribute to the great composer who died last November aged 103. His last completed orchestral work, Instances, was premiered by the Seattle Symphony in February conducted by Ludovic Morlot with performances in Europe planned next season.

The Seattle Times described how the eight-minute score for chamber orchestra “spans a wide array of orchestral colours, from the highest instrument in the orchestra (piccolo) to the deepest (contrabassoon)… there are flowing, fluttering wind choirs, and some conversational interplay between the piano and brass. The piece ends with a quieter, wistful string passage that sounded, rather appropriately, like a farewell.”

Carter’s last completed work was a 12-minute piano trio entitled Epigrams, receiving its first performances at the Aldeburgh and Tanglewood Festivals this summer with Pierre-Laurent Aimard at the keyboard. In Aldeburgh the work is part of a Carter tribute concert on 22 June also including the UK premieres of the String Trio and Dialogues II with the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group conducted by Oliver Knussen. The same forces gave the UK premiere of Double Trio in March and this work is travelling widely, often paired in programmes with the earlier sextet Triple Duo.

The late output of Carter was dominated by a sequence of works for voice and ensemble or chamber orchestra, demonstrating his perceptive responses to 20th century poetry. His setting of e. e. cummings texts, A Sunbeam’s Architecture (2010), received its European premiere on 9 April with tenor Rolando Villazón – his first foray into contemporary music – and the Staatskapelle Berlin conducted by Daniel Barenboim. Other late song-cycles include In the Distances of Sleep (2006) on poetry by Wallace Stevens, On Conversing with Paradise on Ezra Pound (2008) and What are Years? (2009) on Marianne Moore.


> Weitere Informationen zum Werk: Instances

Photo: Meredith Heuer

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