Elliott Carter was one of the first American composers I met. His music interested and impressed me ever since I heard and reviewed his first Quartet in Paris during my short career as a music critic. Although I heard many other works of his later on and always with great and renewed interest, I do not feel qualified to write in detail about Elliott’s music because I never had enough time to devote to the study of his many scores. However, I was continuously delighted and amazed by the lively and youthful spirit he was still able to display in his late compositions.
Throughout the more than half a century of our friendship, I had countless occasions to enjoy Elliott’s warmth, his great charm, his delightful humor and wit, acute intelligence, and cosmopolitan culture. His wide range of interests prompted many hours of animated exchanges, whether we met in Paris, Marrakech, or New York. Although he was blessed with a long life, Elliott never grew “old.” During our last meeting in Chelsea in 2010 I found him to be just as lively and stimulating as he had been at our first encounter in the bar of the Plaza Hotel in the 1950s, and this is how I will remember him always.