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Elliott Carter’s Piano Concerto (1964-65) was initially labelled dark and complex by apprehensive critics, yet today its turbulent, multi-layered textures and rhythms sound thrilling, and we can enjoy the extremes to which he pushed the Romantic notion of soloist versus orchestra. Charles Rosen’s 2001 performance with the Basel Sinfonietta crackles with energy and provides a useful, if slightly brasher-sounding, alternative to Ursula Oppens’ terrific 1992 version on Arte Nova. The disc also includes three early songs, a brief 2009 piece for wind quintet and two works for solo piano that Carter composed after Bridge had released its disc of his ‘complete’ piano music. Two Thoughts About the Piano (2005/06) and Tri-Tribute (2007/08), both full of rhythmic trickeries that Steven Beck negotiates with panache, also share the exuberant and concise mastery so prevalent in Carter’s later works.

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Piano International, 2013 - ©Rhinegold Publishing