He was twice awarded the Pulitzer Prize for music , in and Carter, who was born of a wealthy family, was educated at Harvard University —32 , where he first majored in English and later studied music with Walter Piston and Gustav Holst. Carter began composing seriously in , while studying in Paris with Nadia Boulanger. His early works displayed an original diatonic style that was strongly influenced by the rhythmic and melodic patterns of ancient Greek music and literature.
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One of those etudes, based on a single note, presents different types of attacks, forte and piano. Another is built entirely on a minor second, all the instruments successively transposing this interval… The limitation of material, in the image of a desert, constantly changes throughout the work, whereas the vocabulary and basic elements remain the same.
How to transform it into a piece of music? What can you do with a single chord? Thus all signification fits into a rhythm or a note. The virtuoso writing, in counterpoint textures of crossed accents, essentially varies speed and accentuation with such complexity that these pieces were not at all intended for performance.
But percussionists began to play them in public. Thus I went to Buffalo New York with a percussionist, and there, for three days, we carried out a quantity of experiments for succeeding in making the sonority more interesting. The origin of this writing technique is found not in jazz but in the music of Stravinsky and the theories of Joseph Schillinger, who suggested the possibility of beating a four-beat bar as if it were in three and inversely, so as to obtain a sort of polyrhythm.
At the beginning of the 17th century, John Bull, organist, virginalist and organ builder, inserted in his works seven notes in a three-beat bar, then, in an improvised manner, made another rhythm arise from those seven notes. And Elliott Carter reminds us that the rhythm of our breathing differs from the rhythm of our heartbeat, and that each of them is subjected to change. In the third bar, these quarter notes are accentuated by two, then change into triplets MM At the double bar, the notation changes in such a way that the quarter note in triplet in the previous measure now equals a quarter note, which then goes through exactly the same acceleration as in the previous three measures.
We have thus gone from MM 64 to MM In the twelfth measure, the process is repeated once more. The quarter note has arrived at MM , with a left hand, henceforth noted in sixty-fourth notes, which continues its beat at The fact of maintaining two layers of rhythm - and in this specific case an unchanging beat against a gradual acceleration - will often reappear from my pen.
But the essential thing is to note that, quite obviously, in a piece like this, constructed exclusively on four pitches, the important thing is, with such minimal material, to succeed in creating contrasts, building ideas capable of conducting a large phrase, and constructing a valid form. Musical director of Ballet Caravan , he wrote criticism for Modern Music until At the same time, he participated in numerous seminars, particularly in Salzburg, Dartington, Tanglewood, Avignon and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
In , he composed What Next? His taste for creation has led him to collaborate intensively with contemporary composers, and his concert career has enabled him to play numerous works: concertos for percussion and orchestra; solo pieces and chamber music, both in France and abroad.
In addition, he has built up a discography of the contemporary percussion repertoire with discs devoted to Philippe Fenelon, Michael Jarrell, Maurice Ohana, Kaija Saariaho and Karlheinz Stockhausen. Since , Florent Jodelet has been soloist with the Orchestre National de France and since , assistant-professor at the Paris Conservatoire.
These produce musical ideas expanded in the middle section. Elliott Carter They are a collection rather than a suite, as Carter suggested no more than four be performed at once. But the essential thing is to note that, quite obviously, in a piece like this, constructed exclusively on four pitches, the important thing is, with such minimal material, to succeed in creating contrasts, building ideas capable of conducting a large phrase, and eeight a valid form. Elliiott writes challenging, stimulating music [that] employs a highly evolved and complex personal style. Adagio — Jan Williams — Uses pedal tuned timpani to produce vibratos, harmonics and glissandos in dramatic outburst. It is based on rhythmic acceleration. Two new pieces were added inand the rest were revised in collaboration with percussionist Jan Williams.
Biography[ edit ] Elliott Cook Carter Jr. Much of his childhood was spent in Europe ; he spoke French before learning English. While a student at the Horace Mann School in , he wrote an admiring letter to Ives, who responded and urged him to pursue his interest in music. Besides that, he began to be interested in modern music as part of his broader exploration of modernism in various other art forms.
Carter-Eight Pieces for Four Timpani