Elliott Carter Rounds Third, Heads for Home

Edward Ortiz of the Sacramento Bee recently reviewed a Naxos recording of Elliott Carter’s First and Fifth String Quartets as favorably as one can. Aside from the usual Carter clichés, such as aloof, cerebral and difficult, Ortiz manages to celebrate the music. In fact, it is one of the best reviews I’ve seen in a while, short as it may be.

Only, Ortiz forgot to do any research or read any newspapers, because it took me only .17 seconds on Google to contradict his opening sentence.

Composer Elliott Carter recently turned 100,

Well no. He’s 99 years and 83 days old (84 days at the time of this post), courtesy of my friend Wikipedia. Strike one, Ed.

and his centenary was only politely noticed in the U.S. classical music world.

Ahem. And in only .3 seconds I found roughly 200 upcoming performances of his music, found both here and here, which are conveniently located here; not to mention the hoards of performances in the past two months, including what seems to be a new premiere in Boston or New York, weekly. And how about the gaggle of articles, many of which we’ve ripped here at the Detritus? And don’t forget Julliard’s Focus!Festival devoted to Carter’s music. You didn’t forget that, did you Ed?

“Politely noticed!?” I would say that Carter is being thrust upon us—those of us who read the entertainment section of newspapers and/or go to concerts—like Cabbage Patch Dolls, or Pokémon, or Beanie Babies, or Tickle Me Elmo, or Wii, or Hannah Montana, or Ayn Rand, all because he’s almost 100. I’ve never heard of this kind of fanfare celebration for a living composer.

Strike two, Ed. That was very lazy. And out of touch, like someone programming Arnold Schoenberg (1884-1951) on a NEW music concert.

And just because, I change my mind. Strike three! for calling him aloof, cerebral and difficult. Those are lazy clichés—dilettante hand-me-downs that have been circulating across the country for decades without the benefit of critical reappraisal despite Carter’s growing familiarity and acceptance into the newer canon.

You’re out!

--Heidi Klum


Sator Arepo said...

Heidi Klum?

AnthonyS said...

It is a well known fact that both Hannah Montana AND Heidi Klum are both huge Carter fans.

Empiricus said...

That's why I love you Sator. You're hopelessly out of the pop culture loop. I wish I could boast that.

Sator Arepo said...


I know who Heidi Klum is, but what does that have to do with...anything?

Also: Elliott has two "t"s.

Murderface said...

It is also a well-known* fact** Hannah Montana, Heidi Klum, and Eliott Carter are all huge Ayn Rand fans.

* May not be well-known.
** May not be a fact.

Empiricus said...

German Heidi Klum of Project Runway... she says, "You're out." It's her tag line. I thought it was a fun play on cliche German authoritarianism/umpiring.

AnthonyS said...

It is a little-known rumor that Hannah Montana is Ayn Rand's reincarnation.

Ayn Rand:Sushi-grade tuna as Grimmis:Pots de Crème

... as true today as when it was written.

PS hasn't the E. Carter T/TT thing come up before?

Empiricus said...

It has and I'm an idiot. My attention span has been shortened by Heidi Klum et al.

Sator Arepo said...

I would rather eat one of my own toes, raw, than watch Project Whateverthefuck. However, Mrs. Arepo seems to like it, so, whatever.

Eating your own toe > Ayn Rand