30 May 2009

A Mere Curiosity, To Be Sure

Dubious Documentation, Just Yesterday Division

From the composer’s notes to Naxos’ Elliott Carter 100th Anniversary Release:

Rhapsodic Musings (1999) for solo violin.
Rhapsodic Musings is a present to Robert Mann on his eightieth birthday. It is a small tribute to his extraordinary, devoted advocacy of contemporary music. As is well-known, with other members of the Juilliard Quartet he gave such pioneering and commanding performances of quartets by Bartók, Schoenberg, and many others, including my own, that many of these works became part of the performers’ repertory. His teaching and other activities brought these scores to the attention of students. Using his initials R.M. in the title of this short violin solo and in its main motive — re, mi (D, E) — this piece tries to suggest some of his remarkable human and artistic qualities. It was composed in June, 2000, in Southbury, Connecticut.

It is apt to sneak by us, but Carter tells us he wrote the piece in 2000; this appears to have eluded the Naxos editor of the booklet, though, who gives the date of the piece’s composition as 1999.