Elliott Carter (1908-2012) was the foremost composer of classical music in America during the second half of the 20th century. Over the course of a career that spanned seven decades, he consistently produced works that critics hailed as creatively daring, intellectually demanding, and emotionally complex. Distancing himself from the various "schools" and movements that grew and waned in popularity during the postwar era, Carter cultivated a deeply personal musicalstyle that he developed and refined up until the very end of his life.
This book springs from author David Schiff's life-long interest in Elliott Carter's music and his close personal connection with the composer which spanned over forty years. This critical overview of Carter's life and work explores aspects of the composer's life about which he was usually reticent-and occasionally misleading-such as his complicated relationships with Charles Ives, Aaron Copland, Nicolas Nabokov, and his own parents. Schiff's study of Carter's complete oeuvre-from hispolitically charged Depression-era ballets to the deeply personal and reflective late works-is based on extensive study of the composer's personal sketches and letters.
Featuring an in-depth look at the legacy project of Carter's final decade, seven settings of American modernist poetry by E.E. Cummings,T.S. Eliot, Marianne Moore, Ezra Pound, Wallace Stevens and William Carlos Williams, this newest addition to the Master Musicians Series paints with a fine brush the story of America's foremost composer of the second half of the twentieth century.