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Elliot Carter: Symphonia - sum fluxae pretium spei; Clarinet Concerto / Michael Collins, clarinet

Album Summary

>Carter, Elliott : Concerto for Clarinet
>Carter, Elliott : Symphonia "Sum fluxae pretium spei"
Performer Conductor Ensembles Composer

Notes & Reviews:

The definitive 20th-century music series. 50 releases planned, featuring 50 iconic works, plus "fillers". 50 works you must know to understand the music of the 20th century. Coming in five waves of ten releases, one release from each decade of the century. Mentored by leading writer and critic NIGEL SIMEONE, who is responsible for the new booklet notes, which set out the context, introducing the composer and the work. Plus special 20C website with texts, timeline, music and pictures, and Nigel Simeone's "My 20th Century", plus blog. 20C - The perfect introduction to the music of an often turbulent and convulsive era. 50 must-hear works to understand the 20th century.

The series is presented in innovative, environmentally friendly digipacks (Mintpacks) - no plastic apart from the CDs themselves, and coming in at a very competitive price. Series curation by leading writer and critic NIGEL SIMEONE, who is responsible for the new booklet notes, which set out the context, introducing the composer and the work, quotes by composers, contributors and critics.

The booklet presents timeline of 20th-Century musical premieres. The striking graphic is printed on matte card, the whole is intended to resemble book (work) presentation, with the emphasis on the music rather than the artists. Booklets include new essays.

The Guardian
"A symphony beyond symphonies" is how Paul Griffiths describes Elliott Carter's Symphonia: sum fluxae pretium spei ("I am the prize of flowing hope"). It must have seemed that coming up with an almost 50-minute symphonic work would be "beyond" the powers of the 85-year-old composer when he started working on the composition of the first of its three, large-scale movements. Or at least that its completion would be merely a "hopeful" prospect; the fact that Carter finished the piece, and that it was premiered in full shortly before his 90th birthday, makes it the most significant symphony by any octogenarian in the late 20th century.

However, the mere fact that that the Symphonia is Carter's biggest-ever orchestral work, conceived and realised at a time when he can't have known or thought that he would keep living - and keep composing - for another 14 years (he died aged 103 in 2012), is hardly the main point of this piece. What makes Symphonia so special is that the piece is pitched in a place "beyond" the conventional confines of the symphony, because of the scale and scope of what it's attempting, poetically, musically and structurally. It's music that winds up reconfiguring what a symphony might be at the end of the 20th century, by which time the form had been battered, bruised and contorted out of all recognition to its heroic phase in the late 19th century; and which does so, paradoxically, because it defies, ignores, or flat-out contradicts the conventions of symphonic discourse. That's an astonishing achievement for any composer to attempt, let alone one in the middle of their ninth decade. (There I go again with the whole age thing ... still, Carter's prodigious late period of creativity is something unique in musical culture!)

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Henry Wood Hall, London (04/1998); Maida Vale Studio 1, London, England (04/1998); Henry Wood Hall, London (08/1998); Maida Vale Studio 1, London, England (08/1998).



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Works Details

>Carter, Elliott : Concerto for Clarinet
  • Performer: Michael Collins (Clarinet)
  • Conductor: Oliver Knussen
  • Ensemble: BBC Symphony Orchestra
  • Running Time: 19 min. 1 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Concerto
  • Written: 1996

>Carter, Elliott : Symphonia "Sum fluxae pretium spei"
  • Conductor: Oliver Knussen
  • Ensemble: London Sinfonietta
  • Running Time: 45 min. 33 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Orchestral
  • Written: 1993-1996