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

09/09/2011

United KingdomUnited Kingdom  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

__________________________________
  • UPDATED ONLINE NEWS! IMPACT OF CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) PANDEMIC __________________________________
  • NEW! English Music Festival’s 2020 online series of concerts and talks __________________________________
  • NEW! Glyndebourne 2020 cancelled and looking to the future __________________________________
  • NEW! Opera Philadelphia announces Digital Festival O __________________________________
  • NEW! The Singapore Symphony in 2020-2021 __________________________________
  • NEW! Musikfest Berlin 2020 __________________________________
  • NEW! Berlin’s Staatsoper Unter den Linden 2020-2021 __________________________________
  • NEW! 2020-2021 at Dresden’s Semperoper __________________________________
  • NEW! Zurich Opera in 2020-2021 __________________________________
  • NEW! London’s Southbank Centre in 2020-2021 __________________________________
  • NEW! The Met: Live in HD in 2020-2021 __________________________________
  • NEW! 2020-2021 at London’s Barbican __________________________________
  • NEW! Birmingham Royal Ballet in 2020-2021 __________________________________
  • NEW! Carnegie Hall’s 2020-2021 season __________________________________
  • NEW! London’s Wigmore Hall in 2020-2021 __________________________________
  • Subscribe to Free Review Summary Newsletter

    Search S&H

    News and Featured Articles

    __________________________________
  • NEW! Educating Rita, says who? __________________________________
  • UPDATED! 2020 Salzburg Festival – 1 to 30 August __________________________________
  • NEW! Did we really need Vera Lynn during the war – and when will we all meet again? __________________________________
  • NEW! 2020 Three Choirs Festival – postponed __________________________________
  • UPDATED ONLINE NEWS! IMPACT OF CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) PANDEMIC __________________________________
  • NEW! ACCOMPANIST OR PARTNER? PIANIST SUSIE ALLAN IN CONVERSATION WITH JOHN QUINN __________________________________
  • NEW! Need to escape reality? Enter into the magical world of composer David Hertzberg __________________________________
  • NEW! BTHVN2020 – Beethoven anniversary goes into overtime __________________________________
  • SOME GOOD NEWS! Extraordinary generosity of the Longborough Festival Opera audience __________________________________
  • Remembering Margaret Rutherford: murder on and off screen __________________________________
  • Remembering George London’s life and legacy on the 100th anniversary of his birth __________________________________
  • PIANIST LOUIS LORTIE IN CONVERSATION WITH GEOFFREY NEWMAN __________________________________
  • PIANIST JONATHAN BISS IN CONVERSATION WITH CHRISTOPHER SALLON __________________________________
  • A Q&A WITH SARDINIAN TENOR PIERO PRETTI __________________________________
  • Archives by Week

    Archives by Month