Aureole etc.




Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line




Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

CD REVIEW



Some items
to consider

 


New App by the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra for iOS and Android!


BAX Orchestral pieces


CASKEN Violin Concerto

Schumann Symphonies Rattle


Complete Brahms
Bargain price

 

alternatively AmazonUK   AmazonUS

 

 

Elliott CARTER (b.1908)
String Quartet No.1 (1951) [39:21]
String Quartet No.5 (1995) [21:11]
Pacifica Quartet: (Simin Ganatra (violin); Sibbi Bernhardsson (violin); Masumi Per Rostad (viola);  Brandon Vamos (cello))
rec. 16-18 March 2007 (Quartet No.1); 3-4 June 2007 (Quartet No.5), Foellinger Auditorium, Krannert Center, Urbana, Illinois, USA. DDD
NAXOS 8.559362 [60:32]

 


One of America's most distinguished creative artists in any field.” Aaron Copland talking about Elliott Carter.

11 December 2008 will be a great day for serious music and the USA in particular as that is the date of Elliott Carter’s 100th birthday. As part of their American Classics series this is the first of two volumes of the complete string quartets released to celebrate his centenary. Naxos has recorded Carter’s music before with their successful 2002 Nashville recording of the Symphony No. 1, Holiday Overture and the Piano Concerto from the Nashville Symphony Orchestra, Mark Wait (piano) under the late Kenneth Schermerhorn on Naxos 8.559151.

Carter is highly regarded by the music world. Andrew Porter wrote in ‘Musical America’: “There is often wit and humour to be heard in [Carter's] work; anger in some of the earlier big pieces; increasing lyricism and beauty in the compositions of the recent decades. He is America's great musical poet.”

At high school Carter was initially encouraged by the composer Charles Ives who he got to know fairly well. Attending Harvard University he studied with Walter Piston and Gustav Holst later studying in Paris for three years with Nadia Boulanger. After returning to New York, Carter dedicated his life to composing and teaching, holding academic appointments at several music academies and conservatories. Today Carter is recognized as a major influence as a progressive composer of 20th-century music with scores such as the Variations for Orchestra (1954-55), Symphony of Three Orchestras (1976), Double Concerto for harpsichord, piano and two chamber orchestras (1961), Piano Concerto (1964-65) and the Concerto for Orchestra (1969). 

Formed in 1994 the Pacifica Quartet are making quite a name for themselves in the chamber music world. They gained several prizes in prestigious international competitions: the Coleman Chamber Music Competition (1996), the Concert Artists Guild Competition (1997), the Naumburg Chamber Music Competition (1998) and in 2002 America’s Cleveland Quartet Award. In 2006 the Pacifica was awarded the important Avery Fisher Career Grant. In addition to recording the complete Carter string quartets for Naxos they are marking the Elliott Carter centennial by performing all five string quartets at a single recital on the 30 January 2008 for The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in New York.

On the evidence of a number of critically acclaimed recordings and superb performances the Pacifica can be ranked alongside the finest young chamber music performers on the international stage. I have especially enjoyed the Pacifica Quartet’s set of the complete Mendelssohn string quartets recorded in 2002-04 at Evanston, Illinois on Cedille Records CDR 90000 082.

Carter’s enthusiastically received String Quartet No. 1 is a substantial and reasonably accessible five movement score that Carter acknowledged had greatly enhanced his reputation - especially in Italy, France and Britain. With the assistance of his second Guggenheim Fellowship he composed the score whilst staying in Tucson, Arizona. The opening movement, a Fantasia: Maestoso is largely turbulent and agitated with the Pacifica finding only brief glimpses of calm and a sense of solitude. The rapidly rotating succession of short episodes like snapshots of the first Allegro scorrevole is followed by the mysterious air and dark foreboding in the second Allegro scorrevole. The substantial and sparely textured Adagio is given an interpretation that predominantly evokes the vast and bleak expanses of the American prairie landscape. I experienced the lengthy final movement Variations as a frenetic and unsettling combination of episodes. A contrasting final section features the solo violin singing a plaintive lament.

The String Quartet No. 5 (1995) is an example of one of Carter’s more challenging scores with the listener having to work somewhat harder for the undoubted rewards. The divertimento-like score is cast in twelve short movements. The first is an Introduction with the remaining five odd numbered Interludes containing dense and relatively complex modulations here confidently performed. The six even numbered movements I found more accessible commencing with the anxiety-laden Giocoso. In the Lento espressivo the Pacifica suggest a picture of the wind-shifting giant desert sand dunes. There follows a skittering Presto scorrevole followed by a robust and mercurial interpretation of the Allegro energico. I was fascinated by the eerie high harmonics of the Adagio sereno and the final movement Capriccioso marked by the wild pizzicato. The demanding technical effects are taken in their stride by the Pacifica. 

Elliott Carter’s string quartets are superbly served by the Pacifica who play with assurance and an enviable unison. Their splendid timbre is enhanced by the beneficial acoustics of the Krannert Center, Urbana. I look forward to volume two with great anticipation.

Michael Cookson

Note: Interview with Elliott Carter by Alan Baker, American Public Media, July 2002

 


Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Hyperion

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Alto
Arcodiva
Atoll
CDAccord
Cameo Classics
Centaur
Hallé
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Northern Flowers
Redcliffe
Sheva
Talent
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample
 


EXPLORE MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL

Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews

 

Discographies
   Composer
      Composer surveys
   National
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
.
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

Interviews
With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site

Nostalgia

Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Comment
Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure

Announcements

 

Community
Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Reviewers
Pat and present

Helpers invited!

Resources
How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips


Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Publishers
Other links
Newsgroups
Web News sites etc

PotPourri
A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Questionnaire    
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Dictionary
Magazines
Newsfeed  
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools




Return to Review Index

Untitled Document


Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.