Carter: Figments and Fragments - Johannes Martens Ensemble
Classical - Chamber
Elliott Carter: Sonata for Cello and Piano, Figment 1 & 2, Enchanted Preludes, Scrivo in vento, Gra, Con Leggerezza Pensosa, Fragment 1 & 2, Elegy
Johannes Martens (cello)
Anders Nilsson (violin)
Yi Yang (violin)
Anders Rensvik (viola)
Andjei Majewsk (clarinet)
Tom Ottar Andreassen (flute)
Joachim Kwetzinsky (piano)
For this album of music by Elliott Carter cellist Johannes Martens has assembled some of Norway's foremost young musicians. Tracing Carter's development through some of his most creative periods, these works - from the beautiful 1946 Elegy and the celebrated Cello Sonata from 1948 through to newer pieces for solo instruments, duo, trio and string quartet - constitute nearly a cross-section of musical evolution in the 20th century's second half.
Elliott Carter has mentioned how, as a child, he could ride his bicycle all the way down Manhattan without meeting a single automobile, a stark contrast to today's permanent traffic jam. Travelling in Europe before and after the first and second world wars, and seeing the disastrous results, he felt a need to develop music that mirrors the human situation in the modern world. Thus, his music stands as a tribute to life.
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Review by John Broggio - September 24, 2008
Another wonderful release from 2L that showcases a contemporary composer in his centenary year.
The subtitle comes from the two figments for solo cello and the two fragments for string quartet (the first is in memory of a friend, the second in tribute to the Arditti quartet). All except one of the pieces is between 4 and 6 minutes in length but the way that the programme has been compiled leads us from the early (and largest scale by far) cello sonata through 50 years of work before returning to the earlier Elegy that concludes the disc. Much more approachable than most music by a living composer, this is highly recommended to anyone who enjoys Bartók, jazz or Ives.
Throughout the Johannes Martens Ensemble is beyond praise in the dedication and love that they lavish on the music; the players are drawn from major Norwegian orchestras and fully sound it. Also, the notes are a model of their kind with no less than 7 pages of detailed annotations by the composer Stuart McRae!
The recording from 2L is, as usual, excellent although perhaps a little too close for absolute perfection. The artists are all "in front" of the listener, so those averse to the effects illustrated in String Quartets, Vol I: Haydn / Solberg / Grieg - Engegård Quartet of 1 player per channel can relax.
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