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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brucknerian Vision
The mixed range of responses from the other reviews showing here suggest that a further opinion may help to put this music into a wider perspective.

It's surely an error of fairly high order to dismiss Carter's output as "just not musical". The song cycles, the soaring trumpet solo that opens the Symphony of Three Orchestras, the passionate viola cadenza in the...
Published on 19 Mar 2007 by N. E. M. Goulder

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2 of 22 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Complex but Unmusical.
I have studied modern composition and have learned the hard fact that Carter's music might be good for an analysis class but it's just NOT musical.Surely that is what is important.

I am baffled he is so highly rated-the general public this time are right in not liking it.Carter's music is actually very unmusical and also plain dull as a previous reviewer...
Published on 12 May 2006 by Mr. G. Yeloff


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brucknerian Vision, 19 Mar 2007
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N. E. M. Goulder (Saffron Walden, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Carter: Symphonia and Clarinet Concerto (Audio CD)
The mixed range of responses from the other reviews showing here suggest that a further opinion may help to put this music into a wider perspective.

It's surely an error of fairly high order to dismiss Carter's output as "just not musical". The song cycles, the soaring trumpet solo that opens the Symphony of Three Orchestras, the passionate viola cadenza in the 2nd quartet, the central wind chorale in the Double Concerto, the cloud-like clusters of pianissimo strings the conclude the piano concerto, the seemingly effortless elegance of Dialogues (the late "second" piano concerto), the lento espressivo of the 5th quartet - these are just a few examples of truly poetic musicality in Carter. So let's not worry on that point. Indeed I would add the awesome devastation of the slow movement of the big Symphony here as a further example of Carter at his most deeply human.

I also doubt that it's helpful to make glib comparisons between one and another composer as though they were being numbered above or below one another in this week's hit parade. It's not unfair to comment that the Symphony here has leanings to the portentous, and I have some sympathy with another comment here that the music is exposed to criticism for being "in ragged state", although to my ears Carter's music is far less open to criticism on this count than some others mentioned.

I give this disc five stars because

- I think the performances are mightily impressive

- I think the quality of the recorded sound is fine

- I think the music is full of attractive writing and often marvellous invention; and

- I love Carter's originality of language.

Actually the clarinet concerto falls on my ears as a slightly angular piece - generally I am more an admirer of Carter's purer thought-forms than of his concertante writing. If you want to get to know Carter's sound world, then you should certainly start with earlier music of his than that presented here. But once you are caught up in his manner, you'll surely come to appreciate this excellent disc. I particularly admire the absence of the finale to the Symphony - it has a direct link back to Bruckner's 9th as a musical ancestor in this respect, aside from the direct relationship in the grandeur of the respective slow movements.

Best wishes on your aural travels ... this disc is well worth the effort.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece, 23 Dec 2008
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This review is from: Carter: Symphonia and Clarinet Concerto (Audio CD)
This is not easy music but it is deeply satisfying and profound music, a great Symphony for our age. The difficulty is because of the richnesss of the musical thought, there is a lot to take in and repeated concentrated listening is needed, helped by this wonderful performance.
It is not for someone who has not come to terms with complex music such as Bach, or someone frightened by the level of dissonance found in say Bartok's 5th quartet, but if you believe music can say things that can not be said in any other medium, try it,more than once, it is life affirming.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars get Carter here, 7 Jan 2013
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B. Gillie (York) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Carter: Symphonia and Clarinet Concerto (Audio CD)
Two magnificent works that reveal why Elliott Carter is regarded as a top rank composer. Written in the 1990's when Carter was already in his 80's they have the vigour and excitement one associates with youth. Michael Collins yet again shows why he is considered one of the world's best clarinettists, and both the London Sinfonietta & BBC SO are outstanding ensembles for contemporary music, which in this case is lyrical and powerful, and not at all "difficult" to enjoy.
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars clarinet concerto:exciting twists and turns of invention, 7 Jun 2006
This review is from: Carter: Symphonia and Clarinet Concerto (Audio CD)
i disagree with the general thrust of the reviewer below.The orchestion isn't all that remarkable (the only attribute apparently)but there's enough teeming invention to hold the attention in the recent Clarinet Concerto (one of his most vital scores)and even parts of the more portentious Sinfonia.

In the league table,i'd put Carter below both Stockhausen and Babbitt,but at his best he's a force to be reckoned with eg.string Quartet no.3,Variations or the Piano Concerto.By the way,i'm talking in terms of communication,NOT whether or not the piece fills up pages of an analysis book.
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2 of 22 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Complex but Unmusical., 12 May 2006
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Mr. G. Yeloff "jyoung" (London uk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Carter: Symphonia and Clarinet Concerto (Audio CD)
I have studied modern composition and have learned the hard fact that Carter's music might be good for an analysis class but it's just NOT musical.Surely that is what is important.

I am baffled he is so highly rated-the general public this time are right in not liking it.Carter's music is actually very unmusical and also plain dull as a previous reviewer said.He is highly skilled at orchestation but so what.I am no great fan of atonal music but Ives(who he admires)at least was very MUSICAL-Carter is not.

How does he expect the public to like it when even composition students don't get it(Babbitt and Stockhausen are even more extreme examples of music turning into a scientific exercise).It's no wonder contemporary music concerts are low in numbers when they're doing this stuff-I would'nt go and I have studied it!!

It's about time he and others like Babbitt(don't tell me that is good music!),Stockhausen,and Maxwell Davies are finally seen for what they are and not put on a pedestal by major orchestras-very clever note manipulators who just ain't musical.Stravinsky was a clever note manipulator BUT was always naturally musical-even in his serial music.
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Carter: Symphonia and Clarinet Concerto
Carter: Symphonia and Clarinet Concerto by Elliott Carter (Audio CD - 2004)
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