Seems like just yesterday Kay and I were celebrating Carter’s 100th birthday at a conference in Paris.
But today is Elliott Carter’s half birthday. My feeling is that anyone who hits the century mark should celebrate the half birthdays with equal enthusiasm!
ISCM agrees with me. Last night, the debut of the Orchestra of the League of Composers/ISCM — an improbable eighty-five years after the organization’s founding — included a stunning performance of In the Distances of Sleep, Carter’s first settings of Wallace Stevens for mezzo and small orchestra. Soloist Kate Lindsey shined in these songs at the Tanglewood Carterfest last summer. If anything, her performance here was even more lovely; assured, nuanced, and tremendously attentive to every detail of diction and dynamic.
WNYC’s John Schaeffer interviewed Carter before the performance. In response to a query about his continued productivity, Carter replied, “I’ve become fanatic about it. I don’t have any jobs to do any more. I can sit in a room and write music all day, and there’s nothing that pleases me more!”
Should Providence be so kind, I’d be glad to say the same when I turn 100 1/2!