Really sad to learn of the death of the truly great American composer Elliott Carter. He was still going strong as a composer in his 103’d year completing a major percussion work for Colin Currie premiered in the USA this year called Two Controversies and a Conversation a miniaturised double concerto for piano and percussion with Mozart-sized orchestra.
“I’m not feeling that I’m contributing in any ordinary sense to the history of music. What I DO feel is that I’ve always loved so many kinds of music Bach and Beethoven and all kinds of things and I feel my music is somehow a thankyou note to all of that.
Many other composers think they’re making a fist against the old, I don’t feel I’m doing that. I’m just thanking them for all the pleasure and interest they’ve given me.” Elliott Carter 2010
“The thing thats that very surprising to me in my life is the fact that pieces that I wrote for instance in 1948, the Cello Sonata, at the time I wrote it it was very very modern and the people who performed it, Bernard Greenhouse, dripped with sweat and they were nervous. Noone would publish it because it was too advanced. Finally I found a little publisher who would do it and then finally a big publisher picked it up. Now its taught in every conservatory in Europe and here [USA] and is played all the time, that is the experience of my life. So that gives you faith that no matter how crazy you write, you know that finally maybe it’ll catch up”.
Here’s a link to a blog by Paul Griffiths on an earlier encounter with the composer: http://blog.oup.com/2012/11/elliott-carter/
Elliott Carter, 2010