Birthday greetings to Elliott Carter on his 102nd
Elliott Carter, the dean of contemporary American music celebrates his 102nd birthday on Saturday, Dec. 11. He has already composed several pieces since turning 100, so there's every hope he will keep producing more.
For some listeners, Carter represents all that is frightening, inexplicable and unacceptable in modern music; for others, he represents all that is challenging, brilliant and absorbing. There's no question about the difficulty of Carter's art. I'd say there's no question about its high value, too. The composer's atonal language, at once cerebral and vibrant, achieves an expressive power that can reach out and grab you in many surprising ways.
It remains absurd that so little of Carter's work turns up here in Baltimore, but maybe that will change. Meanwhile, let me offer you these
two short piano compositions from 1999 and 2006 by way of demonstrating Carter's uncommon imagination and saluting his 102th birthday: