The Boston Symphony premiered Elliot Carter’s Horn Concerto over the weekend and will debut a piano concerto (already completed) next year. And, there’s a five-day festival planned for Tanglewood this summer. At 98, Carter is proving that the key to a glorious career is to live a very long time, hold onto to your chops, and be friends with James Levine.
Which is not to imply that Carter is not very good; he’s just very good in a way that I find a bit too abstract and cold to love.
My favorite old dude these days is Ned Rorem, who is often overshadowed by more famous contemporaries and dismissed as a writer of charming art songs. Naxos has been churning out a stream of wonderful Rorem recordings over the past couple of years that have convinced me, at least, that he is terribly underrated. Listen to the recordings of Symphonies 1-3; the violin and flute concertos, and the just released Piano Concerto No. 2 and Cello Concerto and tell me he isn’t a major talent.
UPDATE: Forgot to mention that Miller Theater is doing the New York premiere of What Next?, Carter’s only opera, on December 7, 8, 9 and 11–which happens to be Carter’s 99th birthday.