March 7, 2012

Elliott Carter: Night Fantasies; Au Quai


Night Fantasies
Gilbert Kalish
November 2008
Lincoln Center, NYC

Au Quai
London Sinfonietta
January 28, 2009
Queen Elizabeth Hall, London

This is the first live recording of Carter's magnificent Night Fantasies that I've come across so far.  As one of the co-commissioners of the piece (the others being Ursula Oppens, Charles Rosen, and the late - and sorely missed - Paul Jacobs) Gilbert Kalish must have played this music for quite some time.   His Night Fantasies unfold at a much quicker pace and, as a result, are not nearly as dark hued as what I hear in Paul Jacobs' well-known studio recording (Nonesuch).  But the thrill of hearing this piece played live by one of the outstanding interpreters of 20th century piano music really makes comparisons with studio recordings irrelevant.
    Because almost at the same time I also came across my first live recording of Carter's Au Quai - wonderfully played by members of London Sinfonietta - I thought that it would be well to add this charming short piece to Kalish's recording.


Boom said...

Bob Falesch said...

Great, thanks for this!

Rob said...

Boom: Thanks for this Carter. Stephen Drury's take on Night Fantasies was recorded live at NEC, Boston (1990) (Contemporary Piano Music, Neuma; also includes Cage, Etudes Australes (Book 1)). I like it so much more than Oppens' studio version. I hope that I like the Kalish concert even more. Thanks again. Rob

Boom said...


Thanks for heads-up on Drury's recording. It is available for streaming at Arts of The States website (legitimate!)

and the quality (160 kbs mp3) is good enough to enjoy another take on Carter's piece. I'll listen to it closely in the next couple of days.

Chaim Gogol said...

Unfortunately Mr. Kalish's performance is not up to his usual standard. He sounds nervous and unprepared - the excessive speed is probably a symptom. Contrast his excellent rendition of the piano part of the Double Concerto.

Tassilo said...

Haven't listened to Mr. Kalish's performance yet, but he is the only one of the four dedicatees of Night Fantasies who never made a commercial recording. (The other pianists are Rosen, Jacobs, & Oppens.)