Elliott Carter: two new song-cycles premiered in 103rd birthday month
Two new song-cycles by Elliott Carter were premiered in New York concerts to celebrate his 103rd birthday in December.
As the New York Times reported from its premiere in December during Elliott Carter's 103rd birthday month, Three Explorations is “a substantial new song-cycle, built on stanzas from T S Eliot’s Four Quartets”, scored for baritone, winds and brass, and “couched in a rugged but inviting harmonic language. Usually it is hard to say exactly how or where Mr Carter has rounded the edges of what was once a forbidding style, but here it is clear: the vocal line, though chromatic, is supple and shapely, and responsive to Eliot’s involved, introspective text.”
A birthday concert at the 92nd Street Y, organised by cellist Fred Sherry with a top-notch roster of musicians, included the world premiere of A Sunbeam’s Architecture. Commissioned by the Berlin Staatskapelle and Daniel Barenboim, the European premiere is planned for 2013. The New York Times described the work as “an inventive, urgent 12-minute work for tenor and a 19-piece instrumental ensemble, which sets six poems by e e cummings, offering Mr Carter’s astute take on the elusive, seemingly fanciful words… At the end Mr Carter basked in an ovation and listened as the musicians played and sang Happy Birthday, with some interpolated bursts of Carterian instrumental complexity.”