I happen to enjoy a goodly collection of so-called "modern" music of the twentieth century--- surely, I do have my likes and dislikes, as we all do. But there is a point where (as with the self-indulgent music of Danielpour, Rouse, Maxwell-Davies, et. al.) I simply draw the line, and no argument seems adequate enough to justify what I hear.
Such is the case with Carter's EIGHT PIECES. This is cacaphony, plain and simple. Squeaking, scratching, clawing. I don't need to have music like this to "impress" on me the "anxiety" produced by our anxiety-producing society. Besides, I think there are much better ways to produce the SAME results, emotionally, with music that is tonally and lyrically rich. Some composers come to mind: Arnold, Bax, Rubbra, Simpson, Blake, Lloyd, Moeran, Bridge.
These "compositions" prove, if anything, that Carter happened to be devoid of musical inspiration at that moment. [I won't hold it against him--- we ALL have our "moments."] But, had I only these pieces to judge him by, it would be an open and shut case, frankly. [However, I know that he has written some other music of worth; so, I'm dismissing these EIGHT PIECES as fragmented anomalies.]
Those of you into experimentation may well find these... curious. And that's just fine. As for me, if I never hear them again, it will be too soon.