The London Sinfonietta plays Elliott Carter. A short programme – but not short measure.

09/09/2011

 Elliott Carter: London Sinfonietta, Hall Two, Kings Place, 8.9.2011 (MB)

Eight Pieces for Four Timpani (excerpts)
Gra
esprit rude/esprit doux
esprit rude/esprit doux II
Figment


This is a brief review for a brief concert, but size is not everything, as this collection of solo and chamber works by Elliott Carter demonstrated beyond doubt. Members of the London Sinfonietta proved sure guides in a programme that above all displayed the life-enhancing quality lying at the heart of Carter’s œuvre. Form and its interplay with time lies at the heart of these (relative) miniatures, likewise – and audibly, despite what many might tell us – those intervallic preoccupations and implications that mark one of the most intriguing musical paths beyond Webern. (Carter stands closer to his countryman Milton Babbitt than one might suspect.) Certainly having the flute soloist in esprit rude/esprit doux initially announce the Boulez motif – this is Carter’s sixtieth birthday gift to his esteemed colleague – and his clarinettist colleague the response, leaving aside the tritone as the interval that (ironically?) would ultimately unite, provided an excellent way in for the audience. esprit rude/esprit doux II followed on seamlessly, with the beguiling addition of the marimba. Gra, the composer’s clarinet tribute to Lutosławski, lived up to its (Polish) gaming title, full of risk and fun, whilst Carter’s rhythmic explorations were heard to perhaps surprisingly tuneful effect in two of the Eight Pieces for Four Timpani. Studies they may be, but so after all are Chopin’s. Finally, and in many ways the highlight, came Figment for solo cello. Here, in Carter’s eighty-fifth birthday present to himself, was a work clearly written for the instrument rather than a work written and instrumented. One inevitably thinks back to Bach in such a setting, but there was no doubt of the personal, frankly emotional voice sounded here: a highly dramatic song without words.

Mark Berry  

Comments

Comments are closed.

Recent Reviews

Season Previews

__________________________________
  • NEW! City Music Foundation July 2019 Summer Residency at The Wallace Collection __________________________________
  • NEW! Edinburgh Usher Hall 2019-2020 Orchestral Season __________________________________
  • NEW! Lyric Opera of Chicago’s 2020 Ring Cycles __________________________________
  • NEW! Roman River 2019 Festival __________________________________
  • NEW! Ex Cathedra’s 50th Anniversary Season in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • NEW! Geneva Grand Théâtre in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • UPDATED! 2019-20 at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden __________________________________
  • NEW! Bregenz Festival 17 July – 18 August 2019 __________________________________
  • NEW! City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • NEW! Musikfest Berlin 2019 from 30 August to 19 September __________________________________
  • NEW! 2019 BBC Proms 19 July – 14 September __________________________________
  • NEW! Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • NEW! Zurich Opera House in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • NEW! English National Opera in 2019-2020 __________________________________
  • NEW! Adrian Partington Introduces the 2019 Three Choirs Festival in Conversation with John Quinn __________________________________
  • NEW! ENB in 2019-2020 and Updates on their New London City Island Home __________________________________
  • NEW! Classical Music and Other Events at the Southbank Centre in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • Subscribe to Review Summary Newsletter

    Reviews by Reviewer

    News and Featured Articles

    __________________________________
  • NEW! CHORUS MASTER STEPHEN DOUGHTY IN CONVERSATION WITH ROBERT BEATTIE __________________________________
  • UPDATED! Ron Howard’s Pavarotti in Cinemas 13 July (Preview) and Nationwide (15 July) __________________________________
  • NEW! MULTI-FACETED MUSICIAN JOY LISNEY IN CONVERSATION WITH ROBERT BEATTIE __________________________________
  • NEW! English National Ballet Announces Winners of Emerging Dancer 2019 __________________________________
  • NEW! CONDUCTOR THOMAS SANDERLING IN CONVERSATION WITH GREGOR TASSIE __________________________________
  • NEW! In August Fulham Opera’s Most Ambitious Project to Date – Die Meistersinger Von Nürnberg __________________________________
  • R.I.P. IN MEMORIAM ANDRÉ PREVIN (1929-2019) __________________________________
  • NEW! CHRISTOPHE ROUSSET IN CONVERSATION WITH COLIN CLARKE __________________________________
  • CONDUCTOR ÁDÁM FISCHER IN CONVERSATION WITH MICHAEL COOKSON __________________________________
  • MAESTRO RICCARDO FRIZZA IN CONVERSATION WITH MARGARIDA MOTA-BULL __________________________________
  • A Q&A WITH GERMAN SOPRANO PETRA LANG __________________________________
  • HOW TO CONTACT SEEN AND HEARD INTERNATIONAL __________________________________
  • A Q&A WITH ITALIAN BARITONE FRANCO VASSALLO __________________________________
  • CONDUCTOR LAURENCE EQUILBEY IN CONVERSATION WITH COLIN CLARKE __________________________________
  • Search S&H

    Archives by Week

    Archives by Month