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Elliott Carter by James Wierzbicki (review)

Elliott Carter by James Wierzbicki (review) 514 American Music, Winter 2012 Elliott Carter. By James Wierzbicki. American Composers. Urbana: Uni- versity of Illinois Press, 2011. ISBN-13: 978-0-252-07800-2. Softcover. Pp. xvi, 122. $20.00. To write a short book about any composer poses special challenges. Even when the life and work in question have passed into the realm of the safely historical (better yet, into another era altogether), allowing its commentators a certain perspective upon them, the decisions that must be made concerning what to emphasize, where to gloss over, can hardly be automatic. But when the subject of such a book is a composer with a long and prolific career who at the time was still very much with us, the difficulty of the task increases appreciably. In the case of Elliott Carter, it has seemed for quite a while now that no book of mar- ketable dimensions would ever be long enough to cover even a representative sampling of his works in appropriately detailed fashion. This was already true thirty years ago, when Carter ’s reputation for writing rhythmically and harmoni- cally complicated, densely textured and virtuosic music, held together according to the tenets of a formidable technical apparatus, had become well established; with each http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png American Music University of Illinois Press

Elliott Carter by James Wierzbicki (review)

American Music , Volume 30 (4) – Aug 4, 2013

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Publisher
University of Illinois Press
ISSN
1945-2349

Abstract

514 American Music, Winter 2012 Elliott Carter. By James Wierzbicki. American Composers. Urbana: Uni- versity of Illinois Press, 2011. ISBN-13: 978-0-252-07800-2. Softcover. Pp. xvi, 122. $20.00. To write a short book about any composer poses special challenges. Even when the life and work in question have passed into the realm of the safely historical (better yet, into another era altogether), allowing its commentators a certain perspective upon them, the decisions that must be made concerning what to emphasize, where to gloss over, can hardly be automatic. But when the subject of such a book is a composer with a long and prolific career who at the time was still very much with us, the difficulty of the task increases appreciably. In the case of Elliott Carter, it has seemed for quite a while now that no book of mar- ketable dimensions would ever be long enough to cover even a representative sampling of his works in appropriately detailed fashion. This was already true thirty years ago, when Carter ’s reputation for writing rhythmically and harmoni- cally complicated, densely textured and virtuosic music, held together according to the tenets of a formidable technical apparatus, had become well established; with each

Journal

American MusicUniversity of Illinois Press

Published: Aug 4, 2013

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