xyl/glsp/SC/2tom-t/susp.cym/timp/2wdbl/4bongos/cowbell;2metal blocks (very high & med high)/4tpl.bl/3susp.cyms(high,med,low)/tom-t/2cowbells;vib/BD/4bongos/2tom-toms(med & low)/2wood blocks/SD/2susp.cyms(med & low);vib/glsp/mar/tam-t/SD/susp.cym/BD/2bongos/wood dr (log dr)/gavel/2tom-t-harp-pft-strings
World premiere complete4/25/1998
Bridgewater Hall, Manchester
BBC Symphony Orchestra / Oliver Knussen CBE
A symphony beyond symphonies, this was an astoundingly and hearteningly massive achievement for a composer in his mid-eighties. The invention is consistently alert, the execution masterful and the development typically nimble. Thinking of a Latin poem by the seventeenth-century English poet Richard Crashaw, Carter adopts the viewpoint of a bubble floating above human affairs, observing, in the three movements, the games people play, the tragedies they endure, and the life that goes on fizzing through them. These movements may be performed separately and were separately commissioned, Partita by the Chicago Symphony, Adagio tenebroso by the BBC and Allegro scorrevole by the Cleveland Orchestra. But it is when they are played together that the full breadth of this extraordinary work stands revealed.
- Program Note by Paul Griffiths
This programme note can be reproduced free of charge in concert programmes with a credit to the author