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  • Elliott Carter: Symphonia: Sum Fluxae Pretium Spei (1993-96) / Clarinet Concerto (1996) (20/21 series) - Oliver Knussen
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Elliott Carter: Symphonia: Sum Fluxae Pretium Spei (1993-96) / Clarinet Concerto (1996) (20/21 series) - Oliver Knussen


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Audio CD, January 11, 2000
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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Samples
Song TitleArtist Time Price
listen  1. Carter: Clarinet Concerto - ScherzandoLondon Sinfonietta and Michael Collins and Oliver Knussen 2:13$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Carter: Clarinet Concerto - DecisoLondon Sinfonietta and Michael Collins and Oliver Knussen 2:01$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Carter: Clarinet Concerto - TranquilloLondon Sinfonietta and Michael Collins and Oliver Knussen 4:00$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Carter: Clarinet Concerto - PrestoLondon Sinfonietta and Michael Collins and Oliver Knussen 2:06$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  5. Carter: Clarinet Concerto - LargoLondon Sinfonietta and Michael Collins and Oliver Knussen 3:01$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Carter: Clarinet Concerto - GiocosoLondon Sinfonietta and Michael Collins and Oliver Knussen 3:24$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  7. Carter: Clarinet Concerto - AgitatoLondon Sinfonietta and Michael Collins and Oliver Knussen 2:03$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  8. Carter: Symphonia: Sum Fluxae Pretium Spei - 1. PartitaBBC Symphony Orchestra and Oliver Knussen16:25Album Only
listen  9. Carter: Symphonia: Sum Fluxae Pretium Spei - 2. Adagio tenebrosoBBC Symphony Orchestra and Oliver Knussen17:30Album Only
listen10. Carter: Symphonia: Sum Fluxae Pretium Spei - 3. Allegro scorrevoleBBC Symphony Orchestra and Oliver Knussen11:38Album Only

Product Details

  • Performer: clarinettist Michael Collins
  • Orchestra: London Sinfonietta, BBC Symphony Orchestra
  • Conductor: Oliver Knussen
  • Composer: Elliott Carter
  • Audio CD (January 11, 2000)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Deutsche Grammophon
  • ASIN: B00000JSAJ
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #266,784 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

Composed by Elliott Carter at the ripe old age of 84 and debuted in 1998 (a time when the composer was more prolific than ever), Symphonia could be one of the contemporary music maverick's grandest works to date. In about 45 minutes, the piece--inspired by the 17th-century poem Bulla by Richard Crenshaw--sonically mimics an airborne bubble, bouncing from one environment to the next until--you guessed it--it's gone for good. The opening movement, Partita, swings between atmospheric string passages and sharp clusters of percussion and brass. The second, Adagio tenebroso, is a melancholy cauldron (and the composition's darkest moment), and Allegro scorrevole, the finale, is where the composer pulls out all the stops and creates even more sharp contrasts, which gradually make the bubble (one can assume) explode. Even in its atonal and ragged state, there's a gorgeous poetry at work here. 1996's Clarinet Concerto is an added bonus, a composition where the lone clarinet part threads its way through various instrumentations (and themes), creating an unexpected, but delightful ending. Throughout these atmospheric and challenging works, the London Sinfonietta and the BBC Symphony Orchestra deliver remarkable performances. A great pairing of world premieres. --Jason Verlinde

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By tertius3 on February 5, 2001
Format: Audio CD
Many reviewers have the highest praise for this premiere recording of Symphonia, so I listened...and am blown away. I don't understand all that's going on in this uncompromisingly modernist and dissonant work, but I'm surprised to like it and I return to a great piece of music. Like the bubble it's named for, the work opens with nothing if not scintillating effervescence. The ever-changing flux of through-composition has few points of imitation and easy recognition. The middle movement is low, slow, and long, unsettled and bleak in tone, the double basses a striking underpinning. The finale is swirling, windblown, and incandescent, gradually rising up through the orchestra until the inevitable fate is reached. This is remarkably beautiful and accessible music for a consumate arch-modernist, and leads me not to avoid his music in the future. The Clarinet Concerto (also 1996) is of the pointillist school of Webern. Each note is almost to be appreciated as a sound object, against the periodically shifting small ensembles of instruments. The brash music is characterized by extremely athletic leaps between the shrill and woody ends of the clarinet's range. The movements are contrasted by great changes in tempo, timbre, and dynamics, from excited twitterings to contemplative sonorities to ensemble sections with a metallic sheen of dissonance. The German disk of English musicians playing a great American composer is nicely packaged in a cardboard wallet. I hope it lasts as long as I think I am going to like this music!
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Autonomeus on June 16, 2001
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
"Symphonia: sum fluxae pretium spei" (1993-96) is Elliot Carter's greatest symphonic work since his 1969 "Concerto for Orchestra." Performed by the BBC Symphony Orchestra, led by Oliver Knussen, it has a fast/slow/fast structure of three movements and a total time of over 45 minutes. (Knussen led the best performance on record of the great Concerto for Orchestra.) Carter was 84 when he started work on "Symphonia" in 1993, and prudently wrote each movement in response to separate commissions, not assuming he would live to complete it.

The opening "Partita" captures the ear right away with rapidly contrasting figures and rotating features for various groups of instruments. Carter's patented metric modulation, simultaneous motion at different rates, shapes the piece. The central "Adagio tenebroso" is deeply tragic, with long-held string tones. The music is powerfully evocative without resort to conventional harmony or melody. Finally, the "Allegro scorrevole" marks a return to brighter, higher velocity dynamics without recapitulating the first movement -- no sonata form here.

"I am the prize of flowing hope" is the translation of the Latin title, from a 17th century poem, and this might sound like arrogance, but it refers to a bubble, to the evanescence of life. Future accounts will surely marvel at Carter's productivity late in life (the polar opposite of Mozart). Elliott Carter died in 2012 at the age of 104.

The 19-minute "Clarinet Concerto" (1996) is quite Mozartean -- bright, lively, and vivacious -- and marks Carter's turn toward a lighter, more classical sound in his late works.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This Deutsche Grammophon disc, an installment of the "20/21" series of contemporary music recordings, contains two works by the great American modernist Elliott Carter which he embarked upon well into his 80s. (Carter, who died in 2011 at the age of 103, had the most fecund late period in the history of classical music.) Oliver Knussen leads the London Sinfonietta and clarinettist Michael Collins in the concerto, and the BBC Symphony Orchestra in the "Symphonia".

Carter's music is controversial, as a glimpse at reviews across Amazon listings would reveal, but I found the works here far from harsh and abrasive. While it's understandable that many fans of earlier eras of art music would find Carter not their cup of tea, there's nothing here that should evoke a violent reaction. It's certain tuneful; for fans of contemporary music, there's a lot of truly catchy material here that will stay with you long after the disc comes to an end.

So what's Carter's approach? He is fascinated by the idea of polytempos where two lines start off at the same pace, but eventually one appears the slower and the other the faster. The liner notes compare it to seeing two pendulums start off swinging, but one winds down before the other. This is a concept of great possibilities which gives the music many angles from which to view the action. While in Carter's earlier works the varying lines sound like they are at war with each other, by the 1990s his music was more of a convivial dialogue among a diverse crowd. In the hands of an incapable conductor, it can become so much noise (though I love the "Symphonia", I sympathized with the old ladies running for the exits when I heard a disappointing live performance in Helsinki under John Storgards), but Oliver Knussen handles this music deftly.
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