Elegies and Eulogies for Henze, Carter, Harvey

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Elegies and Eulogies for Henze, Carter, Harvey

 

Well with the recent passings of Henze and Carter, added to by today's focus on the death of Harvey, I thought it might be time to mention any must-haves or favourite works that we like by these composers, so I'll set the ball rolling;

Admittedly not a huge amount in my collection by these three, but here's a recommendation for one by each of them:

Henze - 1st Symphony. My recording is actually the 1947 original version, contained in a DG double album 'Henze Symphonies 1-5' with Berlin Phil conducted by Henze himself. I was much taken with these works at one time, but I would urge anyone to listen to the Notturno - the brief 2nd movement from Symphony 1. A lovely delicate woodwind refrain and a mere 72 bars of score (the only score by Henze I possess and it's the 1963 revision for chamber orchestra).

Carter - Symphony of Three Orchestras coupled with A Mirror on Which to Dwell (a setting of six poems by Elizabeth Bishop).The Symphony is performed by New York Phil/Boulez and is a performance of immense power.
Though I once said somewhere else that this work maybe becomes a bit laboured, it is 15:42 minutes of invention and rapture overall. The opening trumpet fanfare is unforgettable, inspired by these lines from Hart Crane's Poem The Bridge:

How many dawns, chill from his rippling rest
The seagull's wings shall dip and pivot him,
Shedding white rings of tumult, building high
Over the chained bay waters Liberty -
Then, with inviolate curve, forsake our eyes
As apparitional as sails that cross
Some page of figures to be filed away;
- Till elevators drop us from our day...

So taken was I with those lines and how they connect the miraculous with the humdrum, and Carter's piece, that I got hold of Crane's Selected Poems, and the full poem from which that passage is taken 'To Brooklyn Bridge' is a monster of a poem, with beautiful description. I might also have suggested Carter's Double Concerto for piano and harpsichord as well, again a work of great dynamism. And a hefty score!

Harvey - Try String Quartet no.2 on RCA Red Seal, Arditti Quartet, where Carter's brilliant 3rd Quartet is also included. Today's focus is way ahead of me in its listings of Harvey. Don't care much at all for the Ferneyhough Quartet 2 which is also included on that recording I have to say!

So, over to you folks...any recommendations?

Mark

Hi Ludwg. Hpe u don mind me sendin u a txt mes. How u doin? - Yrs. Frz Scbrt.

RE: Elegies and Eulogies for Henze, Carter, Harvey

Like you, Mark, I'm a big fan of the Henze 1st Symphony. The notturno is a beautifully introspective piece. Other favourites are Symphony 7 and Das Floss der Medusa - the first Henze work that gripped me.

The string quartet medium seems to suite Carter's voice and #2 is a particular favourite of mine.

I don't know Harvey but you've got me interested. And I must investigate Hart Crane.

RE: Elegies and Eulogies for Henze, Carter, Harvey

 

Great minds think alike Tagalie! Thanks for reply - first one!

I've got a funny feeling, in the dim cloud of unknowing that serves me for a memory, that I once tuned into a prom of Henze's 7th under Rattle and the CQR (can't quite recall)Philharmonic, and that Rattle described the work as a masterpiece at the time. I'll put the 7th on my list anyway.

The Hart Crane is worth a skim read at least. He tragically took his own life by walking off the end of a ferry...

Mark

PS I don't know much Harvey beyond that - I have a score of his Magnificat and have heard a couple of his works done on the proms over the years - the list on today's focus is very good so I'll have to dip into that.

Hi Ludwg. Hpe u don mind me sendin u a txt mes. How u doin? - Yrs. Frz Scbrt.

RE: Elegies and Eulogies for Henze, Carter, Harvey

If I remember correctly Rattle made a recording of Henze's 7th symphony with the CBSO... maybe the broadcast was at the same time.

Personally the scores that I most enjoy of Henze's are the ballet Ondine and Pollicino, which is a piece that has great vitality and joy at its core.

Jonathan Harvey I know through the excellent blog "On an Overgrown Path" and the NMC recording of Body Mandala. I have thought about listening to the Bird Concerto but time is not easy to find...

Carter - well I don't know enough to offer a decent recommendation.

It will be interesting to see how time treats these three composers - each was in his own way very much following his own path.

Naupilus

RE: Elegies and Eulogies for Henze, Carter, Harvey

 

Hi Naupilus!

Yes it's possible that it was the CBSO under Rattle. Just can't quite remember the year!

The Harvey list on the focus is worth having a good look at methinks...I always thought of him as a modernist but with a very strong spiritual vein...

Mark

Hi Ludwg. Hpe u don mind me sendin u a txt mes. How u doin? - Yrs. Frz Scbrt.

RE: Elegies and Eulogies for Henze, Carter, Harvey

Despite none of them could possibly be any sort of my cup of tea, I happen to have something of each one of them. So, I may suggest for further listening:

- Henze: "Royal Winter Music 1 & 2". Sensitive, subtle, inspired by Shakespearean characters Guitar Music, unusually well written and quite idiomatic for the instrument. Both Mangold on Musicaphon and Korhonen on Ondine serve the music to the best possible effect.

- Harvey: "Wagner Dream". A sort of Opera, inspired by the last moments of Wagner's life, along with an operatic project on a Buddhist legend. A sort of interesting nonsense, beautifully performed (to make things more perplexed) by Ictus Ensemble and a bunch of adequate to good singers, conducted by Martyn Brabbins (on Cypres).

- Carter: "String Quartets". Maybe his more consistent, well conceived and realised works of his opus. Not that brilliant music, but interesting enough. The Pacifica Quartet on Naxos gives the best of this music, in very good recordings. For those who may have the old Julliard Quartet's recordings, on CBS, you may not need this new one. I presume the Etcetera recording with the specialised in this kind of music Arditti Quartet should be also worthwhile.

- Carter: "Night Fantasies" and the "Piano Sonata": I believe these two works of Carter's Piano Music are some of his most impressive, bold and profound (in their own way) achievements of the composer. The Sonata is a pivotal, intriguing and majestic work, while the "Night Fantasies" constitute the transcedental masterpiece of Carter. Ursula Oppens does full justice to these works, in a bright recording of Cedille.

Good hunting for those who might be interested.

Parla

RE: Elegies and Eulogies for Henze, Carter, Harvey

Rattle and the CBSO recorded the Henze 7th Symphony 'live' in Symphony Hall, Birmingham on May 25th 1992 (I was there! - so was Henze!). I guess that they performed it at the proms later that summer.

Jonathan Harvey's opera 'Wagner Dreams', which seems to have been well received, is due to get its UK premiere performances by Welsh National Opera next June in Cardiff and Birmingham.  I've just ordered the recording (which is of the Netherlands world premiere) to get to know it in anticipation of going to the Birmingham performance. 

On the other hand, I was very disappointed with his choral work 'Weltethos' of which the CBSO, under Simon Halsey, gave the UK premiere in Birmingham in June and a repeat performance in London in early October - such musical interest as there was weighted down under a dreadfully 'heavy' text.

Alan 

 

 

Alan C

RE: Elegies and Eulogies for Henze, Carter, Harvey

Sorry - I've just realised that I was quite wrong - the UK premiere of 'Weltethos' was conducted by Edward Gardner, with Michael Seal as assistant conductor. Simon Halsey was indeed there, having been involved in the preparation of the chorus. As he had also been involved in both the commissioning of the work and the preparation of the choruses for the world premiere, under Simon Rattle, in Berlin in Autumn 2011, he gave the pre-concert talk before the Birmingham performance, giving us a very positive spin on the piece which, as far as I was concerned at any rate, rapidly unravelled as the actual performance proceeded.

The quality of performance from all concerned, orchestra, choruses, conductors and Samuel West, as 'narrator', was of the very highest calibre. I just couldn't help wishing they had been given stronger material to perform.

Alan 

 

Alan C

RE: Elegies and Eulogies for Henze, Carter, Harvey

Thanks you two.

Alan - that concert of Henze's seventh sounds like one of those rare experiences that we cherish - especially in view now of Henze's death. It probably was Rattle and the CBSO then at the proms

Henze's seventh needs to go on my list then what with two recommendations now...

Mark

Hi Ludwg. Hpe u don mind me sendin u a txt mes. How u doin? - Yrs. Frz Scbrt.

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