Review By Carla Rees,MusicWeb International,November 2009
This Naxos release features chamber music by Elliott Carter as part of the American Classics series, to coincide with Carter’s 100th birthday. Containing a selection of works, from ensembles to solo instrumental, the disc demonstrates part of the range of Carter’s compositional output.
Mosaic is for solo harp and an ensemble of seven players, written as a tribute to the harpist Carlos Salzedo and commissioned by the Nash Ensemble. It is made up of many small fragments which slot together in the style of a Mosaic. Erica Goodman’s harp playing is impressive throughout, with a polished ensemble providing support and colour.
Review By Gary Higginson,MusicWeb International,June 2009
This release not only comes with ten recent works, most of them quite short, but also a DVD making it even better value for money.
Neither I nor anyone I asked could think of another composer who, in the entire history of music was still so active musically and intellectually as Elliot Carter at the age of 100. These pieces are challenging for performers and audiences alike and yet they reap astonishing rewards.
Review By Richard Whitehouse ,Gramophone,May 2009
100 not out: Carter still going strong in this collection of ensemble works
Framing it are two of his most striking recent ensemble pieces: Mosaic explores harp techniques evolved by inter-war virtuoso Carlos Salzedo, centred on a melodic “through line” around which evolves a discourse inventive and diverting by turns. Erica Goodman and New Music Concerts Ensemble are hardly less insightful than the Swiss Chamber Soloists (Neos), while in Dialogues David Swan yields only marginally to the pianism of Nicolas Hodges (Bridge) in music which, though not without peremptory asides, is a scintillating discourse of equals and probably the pick of Carter’s recent works.
Review By Steve Hicken,Sequenza21.com,April 2009
This Naxos set is a valuable addition to the Carter discography, for at least a couple of reasons. It provides high-quality second (and in some cases more) recordings of several works, it’s a very good introduction to Carter’s music of the last 20 years or so, and not least, it includes the first recording of Mosaic (2005, harp and mixed ensemble), one of Carter’s most colorful and directly approachable scores.
Review By Pamela Margles,The WholeNote,March 2009
This CD/DVD set of late works is a standout. It was recorded live in Toronto in 2006 at two concerts given by New Music Concerts. The most significant works are the two beautifully performed ensemble pieces, Dialogues and Mosaic, both presented in audio and video formats. But what particularly draw me on this disc are the virtuosic pieces for solo instruments, especially the exquisite wind pieces. The jazzy, playful Steep Steps is performed with remarkable versatility by the lone non-Canadian performer, American bass-clarinettist Virgil Blackwell, the dedicatee of the piece. In Gra clarinettist Max Christie shapes contrasting layers into a single eloquent voice. Scrivo in Vento, written for New Music Concerts artistic director,
I especially enjoyed Aitken’s pre-concert interview with Carter on the DVD. You can feel the affectionate relationship between these two long-time friends. Carter is genial, witty, and brilliant—and quite mischievous. Aitken handles him deftly, but Carter doesn’t make his job easy. Asked about the genesis of a piece, he says, “I’m interested in the music—I’m not interested in where it came from.” more....
Superb recorded sound, exemplary booklet notes, and snazzy camera work contribute to a terrific set, not just for Carter aficionados but for those wanting to know more about the music of our time.
Review By Allen Gimbel,American Record Guide,March 2009
This Elliott Carter 100th Anniversary Release is 10 pieces, some (four) recorded in concert (no applause) in Toronto or in a cavernous Toronto church (St George the Martyr), 2006–2007, with a DVD interview with the composer and video of performances of the two major pieces, which are first recordings…The DVD contains an interview with Carter, with a few video excerpts of the short pieces and complete performances of Mosaic and Dialogues…The then-97-year-old composer is sharp and disarming in front of the concert audience, patiently answering questions (some of them read) from Aitken, and making a good case for how to approach his notoriously difficult music. (“I hate to have all those musicians sitting around not doing anything”