It has takened some time but I've grown to like the :Piano Concerto:, the untamed melodic ideas,fully combustible,the exciting piano textures,asymmetrical rhythms almost completely spontaneous,yet Carter keeps his materials on a leash, the darknessess of timbre as well,like you cannot see beyond what's in front of you, deeply claustrophobic, with density excesses, the ir-resolution really between the soloist and the orchestra. Both begin together herein,some odd clarinet timbre strikes away at the piano middle register.Abd we come away always liking what the piano does,we want the orchestra to go away.Carter let's the ugly beauty of single piano tones be heard, like another side of the shapes of things,Also The Bass Clarinet makes a new appearance for the Sixties.The work is incredibly compact, I think it works best,structurally for middle Carter. There is also much assimilation of the piano responding to the timbres, of where it is, the situation it finds itself in much like the reality encompassed during this period as automeus(the other review) had admirably said.
Ursula Oppens and Michael Gielen's recording is incredible,you may prefer that, the other is Charles Rosen he had recorded it as well,many years prior. We all come to think this music, because it is abstract and to a degree elitist was written in a conceptual vacuum, butthe vagaries of reality makes its way into the measures of the music the durational frames herein. Contrarywise the "Concerto for Orchestra" finds itself to convolutions, the Hegelian negative of the negative, like it needs and wants to do too much simultaneously,and doesn't know how,the procedural road becomes blocked; and this works quite well on paper, Carter sitting at his desk deep in compositional thought, but the listening experience is something else. There are the typical role playing(s) here only with less soloistic bearings to judge,snarling brass, overlylabored,penumbral; there are no individuals herein only forces,impacted tribes and masses, densities, of countrapuntal lines, arrays of melodies we hear instantaneously fast like in a dream sequence, they are gone before we know it.As a dream it is not realyed to you in a sequential fashion. Bernstein's romantically charged demeanor would have been perfect had he studied the score more, but it was like a giant abstract conceptual wave that quickly consumed poor Lenny.I don't think Boulez as Knussen would have triggered what the work needs either, it needs a little aggressive purpose to help unite the events sharp gestures not afraid of the consequences; here much of the work seems to meander,lost in an abyss.They are more suited for chamber readings as "Penthode",or the :Double Concerto:.