Happy Birthday, Elliott Carter! - Index Birthday Elliot Carter_Collection... · Happy Birthday, Elliott…

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<ul><li><p> 1</p><p>www.fbbva.es www.neosmusic.com</p><p>COLLECTIONBBVAFOUNDATIONNEOS</p><p>HappyBirthday,ElliottCarter!</p><p>ElliottCarter(*1908)NewChamberWorks</p><p>SWISSCHAMBERSOLOISTSEDITIONVOL.2</p><p>CDCONTENT:01 MosaicInhisyouth,CarteroftenhadtheopportunitytocomeintocontactwiththecomposerandharpplayerCarlosSalzedo.NotonlydidSalzedoplayacentralroleintheevolutionofharptechnique,hewasalsoaleadingfigureinAmericasmusicalavantgardeduringthe1920sand1930s,whenhewascloselyassociatedwithCharlesIvesandEdgardVarse.Carterwashighly impressedby thenewlyexpanded timbralspectrum that thisvirtuosowas able to coax from the harp, an instrument previously defined largely by the familiar stereotypes ofromanticmusic.WithMosaic, Carter seized the opportunity to express his deep veneration for this stellarinstrumentalistandstaunchadvocateofcontemporarymusic.Farfrombeingsolemnoroverblown,thepieceislightfootedandelegant,vivaciousandaboundingwithenergy.HereCartertakesdelightinprobingthefullrangeoftimbresunveiledbythismasteroftheharp.With impishenjoymenthe lendstheharpadouble lifedevotedinequalmeasuretopoetryandtoflirtationswithotherinstruments.Heretheharpdrawsonthespiritof Impressionismwith languorous glissandosorwandersoff in reveries, seemingly losing trackof time andindulgentlydallyingwitha coupleof repeatednotes.But it can alsodisplay all sortsofwit andescapades,producingpercussivesoundsalongsidecracklingorwhistlingeffectsinimitationofatindrumorathunderclap.Tobesure,theharpistheleadingfigureinthisconcertantefantasy,thisrichmosaicofisolatedparticles,asisespeciallyapparentinthreecadenzalikepassages.Nonetheless,thewoodwindtrioandthestringquartetaremorethan justanaccompaniment:theyappearaspersonalitiescapableofmovingtotheforegroundatanytimewithcompleteindependence.Moreover,besidespursuingtheirownidentities,theseveninstrumentsareespeciallyconcernedwiththeirmanyandsundrydialecticalrelationstotheharp. Indeed,theharpseemstodraw inspiration from thesoundsandbehaviorof itsconfrres,whoare in turncast inanew light throughtheirinteractionwiththeharp. 02 FigmentIVIn StringQuartetNo.2 (1959),Carter treated the violaasapersonalitywitha striking veinof lyricism inaplayfully freecreativespace.He therebyassigned it the functionofservingas thesensitiveandsentimentalmemberoftheensemble.Now,almostfourdecadeslater,theviolareappearswithasimilartendencytowardfarflungmelodiclinesandavocalethos.ButassoofteninCartersmusic,amusicalideaisalwaysmutableandunsteady,capriciousalmostbynature,andnevercontenttoevolvealongstandard lines.Heretheviolagiveswaytoabruptmoodswingsinwhichafugitivelightnessstandsatthecenterofthemusicalevents.Themostsurprisingthingoccurs,however,attheendofFigmentIV,thisproductoftheimagination,asrapidchangesofstringandheavilyaccentedchordsalmostconjureupasenseofaggression.Withrakishwit,Cartersweepsaway the conventional imageof the viola aswellbehaved andmelancholy, just as LucianoBeriohaddoneearlierinSequenzaVI.03 EnchantedPreludesThetitleofthispieceforfluteandcello istakenfromapoem inWallaceStevenssThePureGoodofTheory,</p></li><li><p> 2</p><p>namely,stanza7ofAllthePreludestoFelicity:Felicity,ah!Timeisthehoodedenemy,Theinimicalmusic,theenchantedspaceInwhichtheenchantedpreludeshavetheirplace.Carter has compared Enchanted Preludes to aMendelssohn scherzo.Owing to the distinctive elegance ofMendelssohnsstyle,hefeelsaspecialrapportwiththiscomposer.Thepresentduorevealshiscompositionalsophistication,especiallyinhissearchforextremelydelicate,preciselyimaginedsoundsandhisexplorationofeachandeveryrelationbetweenthetwoinstruments.Even ifthetwoprotagonistsattimesbetraya lustforindependence, their constantdesire for rapprochement comesagainandagain to the fore. Frequentlyoneplayer seems to be listening with utmost attention to the other, trying to place the timbral effects andperformance techniques of his interlocutor into a logical relation with himself. Thus, the harmonics andflautandoeffectsof the cellooftenoverlapwith themelodic linesof the flute, and themanypizzicati andgracenote flurries echo the flutes staccatoplaying. The twomusiciansparcelout thedemarcatedmusicalspacebydevelopinghighlyexpressiveandcontrapuntalmelodiclines,ortheymeetanduniteinlongsustainednotes. Enchanted Preludes thus seems designed to evoke the bliss of a cheerful love duet between twocharactersorinstruments.0411 TempoeTempiThissongcycle,writtenforsopranoandfourinstruments(oboe/Englishhorn,clarinet/bassclarinet,violin,andcello),offersproofofCartersgreataffinitywithItaliancultureandpoetry.TheworkconsistsofeightmelodiesonpoemsbyEugenioMontale,SalvatoreQuasimodo,andGiuseppeUngaretti.Thefirstsong,writtenforvoice,violin,Englishhorn,andbassclarinetandentitledTempoeTempi(likethecycleitself),isanexcellentreflectionofCartersnotionofmusicaltime.Indeed,Montaleaddressesseverallevelsoftimeinwhichthevariouslayersevolve indifferentdirections and rarely intersect. Themusic reflects the structureof theunderlyingpoemthrougharetrogradecanon forvoiceandviolinandasecondcanon inaugmentationand inversion forbassclarinetandEnglishhorn.Inthesecondsong,Edsubitosera(Quasimodo),thevoiceevolvesfreelywhiletheaccompanimentworksoutadoublecanonininversionforEnglishhornplusclarinetandviolinpluscello.Oboesommerso (Quasimodo),dedicatedtoHeinzHolliger,hasthevoiceaccompaniedentirelybytheoboe. Inthefirstsectiontheinstrumentprimarilyplaysdetached,isolatedpitches,asiftoreinforcethesyllabicdeclamationof thepoem. In thesecond, thevoiceappearsmoreexpansiveandcommunicative,butwithoutmaking theoboeabandon itsdeclamatory style. InUnaColomba (Ungaretti) thepoeticaphorism, consistingofa singlesentence, is festooned with ravishingly delicate cooing from the clarinet. The fifth piece, Godimento(Ungaretti), is dedicated to the composer Roman Vlad and his wife. The accompaniment is based on apolyrhythmicpattern inwhicheachof the four instrumentsmustcopewith itsowngroupsofstaccatissimonotes. Above this the voice spreads out with archingmelodic phrases that soar freely over the agitatedinstruments. LArnoaRovezzano (Montale) is themost intense anddramaticpiece in theentire cycle.Theinstrumental accompaniment soundsmassive and turbulent, almost out of place, and often virtuosicwithinterpolated snatches of lyricism. It thus symbolizes the poem, in which the journey through time isrepresentedintheformofriversandtheirimplacableflow,projectinganemotionalconfusionthatsometimesgivesrisetonostalgiaandtacitunease.Thenextpiece,Uno(Ungaretti),isaccompaniedbythecello.Betweenthetwosectionsofsongthecelloplaysanelaboratetransitioninthestyleofaveritablecadenzadoubtlessanobeisancetothesongsdedicatee,thecellistFredSherry,atirelessdefenderofCartersmusic.ThecycleconcludeswithSegretodelpoeta(Ungaretti),apoemdealingwithnight,butendingwiththewordlight.Themusic emerges in long, slowly changing chords that vacillate subtly between bright and dark, creating afascinatingepiloguethatimpartsafeelingofserenepoiseanddeepfeltintimacy.12 HBHHBesideshisprincipalinstrument,thepiano,CarteralsostudiedtheoboeduringhisyearsatHarvard.Timeandagainhehasattachedspecialimportancetotheoboeinhismusic,muchasMozartdidfortheclarinet.InthisrespectHeinzHolliger,aloyalfriendandfellowmusicianaswellasanunstintingchampionofCartersmusic,hasplayedaquitespecialroleasdedicatee,sourceofinspiration,andcreator.HBHHforunaccompaniedoboeisCartersmost recent present to the famousoboist.The fourmysterious lettersof the titlearenothingmore thananabbreviation forHappyBirthday toHeinzHolliger,renderedmusically in the firstbarby the</p></li><li><p> 3</p><p>consecutivepitchesBandBflat(HandB inGerman letternotation)and inthe lastbythenoteB,twicerepeated(HHinGermanletternotation).Thefirstsectionofthisbriefpiecefindstheoboeinadreamyandexaltedmoodprimarilyoccupiedwithexpansive,highlyemotionalvocal lines.Incontrast,thesecondsectionpresents the instrument in amore undulating andmultiform frame ofmind or, to quoteMontaigne,ondoyantetdivers,anexpressionCarterhimself isfondofusing.Themusicaldiscoursewinds itswaywithrapidmelodicspiralsthroughamusical fabricthat iseventuallytornapartbyasuccessionoftersepassagesandisolatednotesbeforedevolvingintoaseriesoftrillsandresonatingquivers.1314 FragmentIandFragmentIICartersfivestringquartetsunquestionablyformacentralpointofemphasis inhisuvre,witheachquartetcontainingabasickey toanunderstatingofhismusical thought.But the stringquartet formatwasno lessimportanttohimwhenhecametocomposetheFragments,twointricatelydevelopedpiecesthatattainahightimbralpolishusing,as the titlesuggests,aconcise,almost rudimentary form.Fragment IapparentlydrawsheavilyontheAdagioSerenoofStringQuartetNo.5,wherethefourinstrumentslikewiseplaymainlyintheirovertoneseries(harmonics).Here,however,anotherelementisaddedtothetimbre,forthepointofcontactbetween the bow and the string is deliberately and subtly altered. Plucked notes (pizzicato harmonics)sporadically interrupt the flowof sound,distortingand troubling thepure, translucent timbres.Fragment IItoyswith two fundamentallydifferentyet intersectingmusical ideas.Atanygivenmoment two instruments(initially first violin and cello, then second violin and viola) unfold as a duowith long sustained notes ofexquisitedelicacyinthebackground.Whiletheydothis,theothertwoinstrumentsregalethelisteneralmostinappropriately with music ranging from lyrical intensity to wild abandon and boisterous virtuosity. Thiscounterpointofopposites,superposinga temporal layerofendlessmeditationuponasecond layerofbrief,scattershotoutbursts,seemstorecalltheAdagiofromCartersStringQuartetNo.1.15 QuartetforOboeandStringTrioWhenwespeakof theoboequartetasagenre,MozartsOboeQuartet (K.370) immediatelysprings to themindofeverymusicalconnoisseur.Withhisquartetforthesameformation,however,Cartershowsusthathefeltnospecialneedtocometotermswiththiscelebratedmasterpiece.Nonetheless,thereareseveralobviousparallelsbetween the twoworks: theallencompassingconcern for ingeniousworkmanship, thecontinuousrenewal and expansion of themusical expression, and the conscious elaboration of concertante elementsamongtheinstruments.TheQuartetforOboeandStringTrio,premiredbyHeinzHolliger,presentsthewindinstrument as a stage figure with an almost isolated timbre and a whimsically virtuosic and fantasticalcharacter.Carterhimselfstated thathewanted towriteanoboepart forHolliger thathad tobeextremelyvirtuousandbrilliant,demanding from theperformerextremechangesof registerandultrafast runsat topvelocity.Holliger,hecontinued,hasaconsummatecommandofhis instrument,which,asweallknow,haspracticallynolimitationsunderhisfingers.Thecomposerdecidedtoputthegreatoboistsprowessonceagaintothetest.Theworkhaseightelidedmovementsandaninnerscaffoldingconsistingofsixrelativelyshortduosrepresenting all permutations of the four instruments: 1. Moderato, 2. Maestoso (violin plus viola), 3.Moderatoleggiero(oboeplusviola),4.Andanteappassionata(oboepluscello),5.Tranquillo,6.Allegroagitato(viola plus cello), 7. Andante (violin plus cello), and 8. Allegro fantastico (oboe plus violin). The musicaldiscourse results from the interaction of the instruments as they constantly recur in contrasting duocombinations.Itiscounterbalancedbytheirclaimforshort,unrestrainedoutbursts(especiallyfromtheoboe)andbyintricatelywroughtsolopassagesthatcomeespeciallytotheforeattheopeningandtheconclusionofthequartet.</p><p>MaxNoubelTranslationfromtheGerman:J.BradfordRobinson</p></li></ul>

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