Elegies and Eulogies for Henze, Carter, Harvey

1 post / 0 new
partsong's picture
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?


© MA Business and Leisure Ltd. 2014