Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, CBE
Note about Elliott Carter
I first knew Elliott Carter in the late 1950s – first at the Dartington Summer School, England, where I attended his composition course, and was very moved to be taken seriously by someone I respected so much.
We next met in Rome, where I was studying with Goffredo Petrassi, with whom Mr. Carter was very friendly. Petrassi and I spent many an hour analysing and discussing Carter’s First String Quartet.
Mr. Carter and I always remained friendly, but the relationship became more professional when my music theatre and chamber group The Fires of London performed his works. I particularly cherish memories of Jennifer Ward Clarke and Stephen Pruslin playing his Sonata for Violoncello and Piano at Dartington and the Queen Elizabeth Hall, London, and of Stephen Pruslin playing his Night Fantasies for piano solo at, among many other venues, the 1983 Huddersfield International Music Festival, where Mr. Carter leapt on stage and bear-hugged Pruslin to rapturous acclaim.
The Fires of London commissioned Triple Duo, of which we gave the world première at Symphony Space on Broadway, Manhattan, in the festival Britain Salutes New York 1983, subsequently performing the work regularly, and making its first recording.
What I as a composer cherish most from contact with Mr. Carter as man and creator is his exemplary, meticulous clarity in the most complex musical circumstances in his work. There is never a note that sounds one too many or one too few. His dramatic profundity and intensity will continue to inspire through many generations.