ELLIOTT CARTER: Holiday Overture; Symphony No 1; Piano Concerto

By Matthew-Walker, Robert | Musical Opinion, March/April 2006 | Go to article overview

ELLIOTT CARTER: Holiday Overture; Symphony No 1; Piano Concerto


Matthew-Walker, Robert, Musical Opinion


ELLIOTT CARTER: Holiday Overture; Symphony No 1; Piano Concerto

Mark Wait: Piano Nashville Symphony Orchestra Kenneth Schermerhorn: Conductor Naxos 8.559151 62' 43''

It has come to something when a new CD devoted entirely to Elliott Carters music is issued on the super-budget-priced Naxos label in their American Classics series! But this is a very good record, one which is cleverly chosen with regard to repertoire and which certainly deserves to make new friends for this remarkable composer. Now in his 98th year, he is still composing. Recently he was shown full of vigour when acknowledging an enthusiastic Barbican audience at the end of a busy London weekend of his music organised by the BBC and therefore shared with Radio 3 listeners. see Get Carter! Festival review on page 48.

The rarely heard Holiday Overture and the Symphony, both originally from the 1940s and later revised, are quite early works in Carter's output. Although called No 1, the Symphony has not been succeeded by a No 2, for neither the Symphony for Three Orchestras nor the very recent Symphonia has been so numbered.

The language in which these early works are expressed may come as something of a shock to those used only to hearing Carter's post-1955 compositions; they speak to us in the language of, say, Aaron Copland, Samuel Barber or Ned Rorem, so redolent are they of Americana. …

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