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What Next? [Import]

Paul Griffiths , Elliott Carter , Peter Eötvös , Netherlands Radio Chamber Orchestra , Hilary Summers Audio CD
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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MP3 Music, 2 Songs, 2003 $11.49  
Audio CD, Import, 2003 $13.90  

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Song TitleArtist Time Price
listen  1. Carter: What Next?Hilary Summers40:07Album Only
listen  2. Carter: Asko ConcertoNetherlands Radio Chamber Orchestra12:01Album Only

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Product Details

  • Performer: Hilary Summers
  • Orchestra: Netherlands Radio Chamber Orchestra
  • Conductor: Peter Eötvös
  • Composer: Elliott Carter
  • Audio CD (November 25, 2003)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: ECM New Series
  • ASIN: B000094HLB
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #316,671 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Carter's one opera, at long long last December 6, 2003
Format:Audio CD
Carter wrote this 40-minute one-act opera in 1998, just before he turned 90. It is his one foray onto the stage, though in a sense, he has been writing operas all his life, assigning distinct personalities to the individual instruments in his chamber scores, which he has called "auditory scenarios." Here he does some wonderful things with an absurdist libretto by Paul Griffiths that is at once baffling and obvious. Six characters, gradually reciovering from a car accident, retreat into their own preoccupations rather than doing anything to help one another or rectify their situation. There isn't much conflict, but some of Griffith's observations are thought- provoking, and Carter's vocal writing is richly contrapuntal. The women in the cast make the strongest impressions, esp. contralto Hillary Summers as Stella. As substantial as the opera is, though, the real attraction of the disk is the Asko Concerto, a masterful little chamber symphony that packs a lot of color and drama into its 12-minute length. Some of the instrumental pairings -- violin and trumpet, or piccolo and xyplohone -- are real attention getters, and the studio performance is excellent. I'd never heard the work before, but now I can't get enough of it.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Carter's absurdist opera in one act January 25, 2004
Format:Audio CD
Happy Birthday Elliot Carter! This ECM disc was released to coincide with Carter's recent 95th birthday. The opera, "What Next?", was composed in 1997, commissioned by Daniel Barenboim for his Deutsche Staatsoper in Berlin. This recording is from a live performance in Amsterdam on September 9, 2000.

"What Next?" is a resolutely modern work -- atonal, non-melodic, without strong emotional weight. Think "Pierrot Lunaire" by Schoenberg. Carter says he aimed for a light tone rather than the heavy poetry he had used previously for vocal works -- anxiety and humor seem to be the two poles, indicating a bemused, detached existential dilemma. The libretto is by Paul Griffiths, the music critic, and is an absurdist scenario a la Samuel Beckett that begins with an auto accident. The five characters, which could be characterized as archetypes -- Earth Mother, Guru, Scientist, Diva and Clown -- although that is my interpretation, converse but fail to connect over 40 minutes, interrupted by one instrumental interlude at the half-way point. The singing is wonderful, the contrapuntal weaving of the voices (two sopranos, contralto, tenor and baritone) is superb, and the Netherlands Radio Chamber Orchestra, Peter Eotvos conducting, is precise and supportive.

The other piece, the 12-minute "Asko Concerto," composed in 2000 for a 16-piece chamber orchestra, is another delightful Carter composition featuring his typical use of different tempos for different instruments creating complex patterns, in this case separated by a recurring ritornello.

The packaging is excellent, typical from ECM -- a booklet including the libretto, notes by Griffith and David Hamilton, and black-and-white photos, is enclosed with the jewel-case in a box.

While not his best works, these are fine additions to Carter's magnificent oeuvre -- on to 100!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Carter was NOT a 12-tone composer November 14, 2012
By TomDee
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Brilliant writing throughout, strong musical logic and cohesion, and "making lemonade from lemons" with the Griffiths libretto make "What Next?" a somewhat reluctant masterpiece. If you did not get chills hearing the violin pizzicatos in unison with the soprano near the end of the opera, and the otherworldly-beautiful harmonies after that, check your pulse.

Uneducated reviewers, please read "The Elliott Carter Harmony Book" to learn and marvel at the underlying harmonic structure and tonal theory of his music.

Jeez, how many times did the poor guy have to tell us that he was NOT a 12-tone composer, and that he wrote no dodecaphonic works, for you folks to get it?
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