March 7, 2012

Elliott Carter: Night Fantasies; Au Quai

This is the first live recording of Carter's Night Fantasies that I've come across so far.[1]  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 - performed by by members of London Sinfonietta [2] - I thought that it would be well also to add this charming short piece to the blog's collection of  Carter's music.

1. Gilbert Kalish, November 2008, Lincoln Center, NYC.
2.  January 28, 2009 Queen Elizabeth Hall, London.


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.)