Cedille Records celebrates composer Elliott Carter's 100th birthday (December 11) with Oppens Plays Carter, the only complete CD survey of Carter's solo piano works, including two world premieres, performed by one of his leading interpreters - American pianist Ursula Oppens.
The disc brings together the composer whom Aaron Copland called "one of America's most distinguished creative artists in any field" with a pianist "known particularly for the intelligence, technical skill and warmth she brings to...contemporary music." (Grove Music)
The disc features Carter's pivotal Piano Sonata (1945-46), the breakthrough work in which Carter found his voice and projected the scope of his talent, and his transcendental Night Fantasies (1980), written for a group of four pianists including Ms. Oppens, who gave the premiere. Seven shorter pieces written between 1994 and 2007 complete the disc, which concludes with the world premiere recording of Carter's virtuosic Catenaires (2006), a harmonically compelling, fiendishly difficult, toccata-like succession of rapid-fire 16th notes.
Oppens Plays Carter is the perfect tribute to the "Dean" of American composers by the pianist most closely associated with his music.
“…Ursula Oppens'… account of the Sonata, in which Carter said his farewells to the optimism of American neo-classicism, is spellbindingly authoritative, and she is also assured in Night Fantasies, whose dark, glinting parade of images makes it Carter's equivalent of Kreisleriana. ...technically she is immaculate and her complete understanding of Carter's impacted language and its very particular demands is second to none...” BBC Music Magazine, February 2009 ****