Arthur Weisberg / Contemporary Chamber Ensemble

Elliott Carter: Sonata for Flute, Oboe, Cello & Harpsichord; Sonata for Cello & Piano; Double Concerto for Harpsichord & Piano

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More enduring than many other albums of Elliott Carter's music, these Nonesuch recordings have been available for decades and have served as an appealing introduction to Carter's advanced style. In part due to the accessibility of these works and to the exceptional musicianship displayed here, this is a classic recording with only a few flaws worth mentioning. The Sonata for flute, oboe, cello, and harpsichord, frequently performed but seldom recorded, has never received a better reading than this one. Harvey Sollberger, Charles Kuskin, Fred Sherry, and Paul Jacobs were all in their prime when they recorded the piece in 1968, and their sublime playing is accurate without overt effort. The Sonata for cello and piano, also recorded in 1968, is almost as brilliantly executed. With Joel Krosnick on cello and Jacobs on piano, the performance is well structured and dramatic, with only a little harshness in Krosnick's playing in the upper register. The chief difficulty in the virtuosic Double Concerto for harpsichord and piano with two chamber orchestras is a problem of balance because the harpsichord's thin tone is often overwhelmed by the surrounding forces. Even so, Jacobs and Gilbert Kalish give an energetic and skillful performance that rewards attentive listening.

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