Publication Year: 2011
Published by: University of Illinois Press
Series: American Composers
Title Page, Copyright, Quote
Table of Contents
For any musically trained person who has grappled with the intricacies of a Carter score, surely the temptation is great to focus largely on technical matters. After all, Carter’s music demands extraordinary attention and precision of its performers, and for at least six decades it has been replete with “learned devices” ...
1. Foundations (1908-45)
An unfortunately enduring myth has it that Elliott Carter was born with the proverbial silver spoon in his mouth and that this good fortune somehow related both to Carter’s intellectual grounding and to his work as a composer. Often echoed and paraphrased, the misleading idea likely stems from 1957, when Richard Franko Goldman ...
2. Three Seminal Works (1945-51)
Recalling from firsthand experience the considerable buzz that surrounded the initial performances (in 1947) and the publication (in 1948) of the Piano Sonata, Rorem was on the mark when he suggested—from the perspective of three decades later—that it had long been “generally agreed” that the Piano Sonata was the first demonstration of the uniquely “Carteresque” style. ...
3. Maturity (1950-80)
Carter’s String Quartet No. 1 was written over a ten-month period in 1950–51 during which the composer was supported by a fellowship from the Guggenheim Foundation. Work on his 1945–46 Piano Sonata had been funded by the same philanthropic organization, and in 1950 Carter benefited not just from the second Guggenheim Fellowship ...
4. New Directions (1980-2010)
Between 1950 and 1980 virtually all of Elliott Carter’s compositions were written for and premiered by American artists. Yet during these decades his music had plenty of performances in Europe, and Carter was of the general opinion that his works were not only better treated in terms of allotted rehearsal time but also better received, ...
In a review of the 1988 reissue in paperback of David Schiff’s book, H. Wiley Hitchcock remarked, almost casually, that “it is difficult to generalize about Carter’s music and what makes it tick.”1 Such a statement might apply to any composer, but it seems especially true when applied to a composer who has lived as long and has been as productive as Carter. ...
About the Author, Further Reading, Production Notes, Back Cover