Written by: Anne Ozorio
So there are many ways into Carter’s music. Perhaps what keeps Carter so lively is that he is still inventive and creative. His “late, late style” as he calls it, is very different from the multiple layers of complexity he used to write. Now it’s as if he’s concentrating on fundamentals, getting straight to the essence of things, a sort of Zen-like purity.
Carter and Aimard discussed the two new pieces, commissioned by James Levine, not yet officially premiered. They extend Carter’s Matribute, premiered in Lucerne in 2007. Vaguely they relate to Levine’s brother and sister, so they are called Fratribute and Sistribute! This joyful, impish wit has long been present in Carter’s work, which throws those who think serious music should be deadly dour.
Fratribute is simple but steady, with sequences up and down the scale. Sistribute is altogether more sparkling, one hand playing triplets while the other plays four fingers. It is in a very high register, a kind of squeaky cantabile. Whether it reflects Levine’s sister or not, it is expressive, happy and spirited. “Typical Carter”, said Aimard, “like sparkling drizzle”.