writing a review of this seems fairly inconsequential, if I projected negative-isms would that dilute the lines of receipts? or interest?, I would not only be required to apologize for negative quips, but seek counseling,for some pathological illness, some cognitive mis-firings within my listening constitution;
Most of this has all been recorded before,so afficiandos can compare;I try not to, I like Oppens full-tilt from the beginning;Rzewski(a Carter student) got me on Oppens and again you get the centerpiece of Carter, the "Night Fantasies", try to listen for the long-range polyrhythms over the entire work,try John Link, he can explain it; some odd ratio 179:124,happening over 20 minutes; aside from that Oppens plays beautifully impassioned,never compromising the complex edifice of the work; there is a thin line in Carter between an over-romanticized readings,and too, too lontano;prior we usually find in symphony players with a few rehearsals, who Brahms-sify Carter;a detestable situation makes me run for the door;"Night Fantasies" has just enough reference points to arouse your imagination,with strong powers of "cognitive mappings" to the piano's genres, of nocturne,and Schumann,spatiality of resonance;the fragmented romantic,mid-century;yet within a modernist perspective;Carter can be overly dry,and you need to be mindful of this as you rehearse him; I prefer hearing thess piano solos in CD format, breaking orthodoxy,the clarity is overwhelming, and you would never hear these clear crystal shapes in a live concert hall, with all that useless resonance; We have become "Earworms"ourselves living within our heads for music, as opposed to sitting in a collective thrash in a hall.
The earlier "Piano Sonata",has that fierce-ness, the melos never stops, part of the unknown times of Americana, in which it was written, to boldly go ahead, yet there are predictable shapes, rotund projections which again Oppens pulls off with conviction, clarity.
"90-plus" is also a nice piece to hear and for analysis, differing ranges spectrums of articulations, nice "etude"for resonances, particles and fragments take their own time to be deployed; for the aspiring new music piano performer this is a great piece to contemplate,
I don't care much for Carter past this point,90-plus-minus; his music came to have an accessibility factor,almost have-a-nice-day, I guess that comes from increase exposure to the concert public, they make you love them and the devoted cadres who play music;this music is not as complex in structural vigour,nor as anything prior, so all these short piano pieces, are good as encores, and not worth study, good teaching pieces; and a quick way to get into the aesthetic of late-late-late Carter without the ambition to learn the durational challenges of the longer works;Oppens bring a maturity to reading these pieces, she has been devoted to this music of Carter's symbolic order for decades; So this permeates through what she plays and how she plays it, there is a durational reference,that is quite unique, anyone else would perhaps be more distant, lontano to the music materials deployed;