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Elliott Carter

Publisher: AMP

The Minotaur (1947)
Associated Music Publishers Inc
Sub Category
Year Composed
33 Minutes
Purchase CD

  • Ensemble
    New York Chamber Symphony of the 92nd Street Y
  • Ensemble
    New York Chamber Symphony, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra
    Gerard Schwarz
Mr. Carter wrote the music in 1947 to a scenario conceived in collaboration with George Balanchine. In it, an introductory scene depicts the mating of Pasiphae and the White Bull. A second scene moves ahead in years to the slaying of the Minotaur (their offspring) by Theseus in the Labyrinth.

This is a powerful score, one able to imply the ballet's pictorial events with appropriate musical colors and rhythmic variety. It also offers the unconverted audience a clearer look into Mr. Carter's muscular and energized world. The restless changes of timbre, movement and mood are recognizable, but in The Minotaur they can be seen in a slightly defoliated setting, free of the near-impenetrable underbrush of crossing, meshing and conflicting motifs in his later music, textures that defeat so many contemporary ears.

The Minotaur, which will be recorded by Nonesuch after this weekend's two performances, is the kind of early Carter all of us should explore. Friends will rejoice in the powers of his youth. The skeptical, in turn, will be inspired to investigate Mr. Carter's later repertory with renewed courage.

Bernard Holland, The New York Times,05/12/1988
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