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RIP Elliott Carter (1908-2012)

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Showing 1-21 of 21 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 5, 2012 3:56:04 PM PST
KenOC says:
Elliott Carter died today a month shy of his 104th birthday. He remained an active composer up to shortly before the end of his life.

Posted on Nov 5, 2012 4:03:14 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 5, 2012 4:04:22 PM PST
Mahlerian says:
Rest in peace to our most venerable composer, who has achieved recognition far beyond what would be expected of one who did not believe at all in concession or compromise. This is the second significant new music passing in less than a month. Modernism may be reaching its conclusion.

Posted on Nov 5, 2012 4:03:53 PM PST
An amazing man, an amazing composer. RIP, EC.

Posted on Nov 5, 2012 4:20:47 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 5, 2012 4:21:40 PM PST
I feel fortunate to have seen him at Ursula Oppens recital 4 years ago in NY when she played all Mr. Carter's piano music during his Centenary year.
He lived to be older than any of us, and was musically further ahead. To a life well lived - I salute you, Sir.

Posted on Nov 5, 2012 4:36:48 PM PST
Dmitri says:
I would be a liar if I said that I loved the man and his music. But I do respect him especially when it comes to his string quartets.

Posted on Nov 5, 2012 4:42:52 PM PST
Thomas E. says:
R.I.P. I really love seeing people who stay active even when they reach old age. They are such an inspiration. I have to confess I find Carter's music very difficult to get into, but some of it is nice, like the Night Fantasias for piano.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 5, 2012 5:11:45 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 5, 2012 5:15:26 PM PST
R. Hammel says:
I return briefly to the Forum to express my grief.

Like Mr. Whitehead, I saw Elliott Carter at an Ursula Oppens recital -- indeed I sat right behind him in a box at Carnegie Hall to hear Ms. Oppens race through the Hammerklavier. The concert took place about 15 years ago and, other than my telling him that it was an honor to meet him, we exchanged no words.

The admiration and pleasure that I derive from his music has not (yet?) transformed itself into the sort of ardent love for his works that Alonso Almenara used to express in the Forum, but I am persuaded that Carter's compositions contain riches and delights that further listening and familiarity will reveal. I will keep listening, and I lament the fact that no new works will be forthcoming.

He was, one gathers, a fine and decent man. Who will replace him as the eminence grise of American composers?


Posted on Nov 5, 2012 6:08:03 PM PST
At some point I genuinely thought he would live forever. RIP Elliott Carter.

Posted on Nov 5, 2012 7:40:26 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 5, 2012 7:40:44 PM PST
Autonomeus says:
Here's the NYT obituary, one of the longest I can recall reading:

Carter was an intransigent modernist, and he will be sorely missed as contemporary music drifts toward the decorative and soothing.

Posted on Nov 5, 2012 8:08:46 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 5, 2012 8:18:53 PM PST
Sat next to him thru one of the CSO premiere performances of a mvmt from his "bubble" symphony. Was unsure it was him until he joined the stage at the end of the concert, because the man's demeanor didn't jibe with the music at all. He exuded a natural ease & warmth -- nothing of the "difficult" & "uncompromising" that's generally heard or perceived in him.

In retrospect his method of composing in a style where multiple parties converse simultaneously is neither noisy chatter nor some conscience path to dissonance. It's very simply the joy of exchange or a crowd that's simpatico. Joy is something he shared with another great composer born the day prior...even if the joy is much easier to hear in Messiaen's music, it's unmistakeable here : .

Good bye, sir, & thank you!

Posted on Nov 5, 2012 8:23:37 PM PST
R. Kopp says:
A short while ago, inspired by one of our discussion boards on American composers, I picked up on the cheap Carter's 4-disc Nonesuch Retrospective--a withdrawn library copy in pristine condition. Up to now my main entry points with this composer have been his first four string quartets and a few orchestral odds and ends. I'm sad to arrive so late to the party but I'm looking forward to getting to know Carter better.

Posted on Nov 5, 2012 8:31:00 PM PST
Sorry to hear about the passing of Elliott Carter. Of the composers who were considered "avant garde," Carter was the only one whose music I found worthwhile (although I don't know if he would be considered cutting edge now). Apparently, his mind was still sharp, and he was composing almost until the end. A remarkable man and a great composer.


Posted on Nov 6, 2012 12:37:06 AM PST
That a man can keep going until the age of 103, remaining fully active mentally right up to the end, is a cause for celebration. Rest in Peace.

Posted on Nov 6, 2012 8:52:26 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 6, 2012 10:39:40 AM PST
Mr. Carter was my favorite living composer. I saw him lecture before an all-Carter concert on his 85th birthday, saying he'd rather sound like Mozart than Stravinsky, and I've seen Ursula Oppens play his piano pieces live.

I believe he was a composer of Beethovian significance, and that his compositions reveal a similar kind of musical layering that made Beethoven so powerful. At this moment he is #1 on Yahoo's "Trending Now" headlines this morning.

Posted on Nov 6, 2012 12:43:28 PM PST
John Spinks says:
It's sad to hear that one of the great moderns has died. What a tremendous accomplishment to live and work productively so long. I don't have a lot of his music in my collection so I orded the Piano Concerto today with an eye to exploring more.

Posted on Nov 6, 2012 1:25:15 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 6, 2012 1:25:49 PM PST
I recommend the following EC works: Variations for Orchestra, Night Fantasies, A Mirror on Which to Dwell, and Symphonia.

Gramohphone's piece on EC's career, including two links to recent videos of the composer:

Posted on Nov 6, 2012 2:09:30 PM PST
I recommend the CDs by Ensemble Intercontemporain, the Nieuw Ensemble, and anything on the Bridge label.

Posted on Nov 6, 2012 7:57:50 PM PST
Aleksey says:
I really can't say if I'm sad because of this-- remaining sharp and alert until the very end is in my mind something to admire more than anything --but we're all the worse off for his passing. I was never even much of a fan, but it Carter's music always obviously had something truly good going on in it; I guess it's my job to get to know just what that is now.

My thanks most of all to Carter for his music, then; to performers for playing it, and also to the people here for making me aware of him.

Posted on Nov 7, 2012 6:35:39 AM PST
The consensus seems to be that Carter is a major figure, though after listening to his music at decent intervals for 30+ years it still leaves me cold. While praising Carter's accomplishments the music critic for the Washington Post wrote that his music was as difficult to perform and listen to as it was, apparently, to write. I suppose that's the stumbling block for me. I've always listened to music that I spontaneously enjoy and that helps lighten the difficulties of the day rather than adding to them.

Posted on Nov 7, 2012 6:44:58 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 7, 2012 7:24:07 AM PST
scarecrow says:
There is a very thoughtful DVD done some years ago, great moments of the man the composer, how he writes. . . and rehearses, I guess youtube has excerpts from it, as well as other items. . He lived in Greenwich Village, New York City, and his music is very much like the city, full of complexity, the new and the old mixed, blended imperceptively. . .
Curious how I never wrote like Carter, but I kept his music, the scores all my life, just looking at them from time to time . .

my favorite Carter is the middle period,
the Third String Quartet, the Concerto for Orchestra. The Brass Quintet, (1974). .the Duo for Violin and Piano, and later a little, Penthode, the Night Fantasies for solo piano. . .and the Triple Duo is a wonderful piece. . . .
and earlier the Piano Concerto. . .

Of the latter music 90+, the Piano Quintet, and the Wind Quintet, with piano. . .I heard Barenboim with Chgo Symph. players. . .

David Schiff's book is excellent. . .John Link and Carter's Harmony Book, lots of tone configurations. . .

Posted on Nov 7, 2012 5:26:05 PM PST
Thomas E. says:
I bought a new receiver today, a Marantz SR 5006, and will use the Nonesuch Elliott Carter box tomorrow to calibrate it. The old man still has some work to do!
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Discussion in:  Classical Music forum
Participants:  18
Total posts:  21
Initial post:  Nov 5, 2012
Latest post:  Nov 7, 2012

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