Three Occasions for Orchestra is an orchestral triptych by the American composer Elliott Carter. The work was composed from 1986 through 1989 and was first performed at the Royal Festival Hall, London, by the BBC Symphony Orchestra under Oliver Knussen on October 5, 1989.
An orchestra is a large instrumental ensemble typical of classical music, which mixes instruments from different families, including bowed string instruments such as violin, viola, cello, and double bass, as well as brass, woodwinds, and percussion instruments, each grouped in sections. Other instruments such as the piano and celesta may sometimes appear in a fifth keyboard section or may stand alone, as may the concert harp and, for performances of some modern compositions, electronic instruments.
Elliott Cook Carter Jr. was an American composer. He studied with Nadia Boulanger in Paris in the 1930s, then returned to the United States. After an early neoclassical phase, he developed a personal harmonic and rhythmic language. His compositions are known and performed throughout the world, and include orchestral, chamber music, solo instrumental, and vocal works. Carter was twice awarded the Pulitzer Prize.
The Royal Festival Hall is a 2,900-seat concert, dance and talks venue within Southbank Centre in London. It is situated on the South Bank of the River Thames, not far from Hungerford Bridge, in the London Borough of Lambeth. It is a Grade I listed building, the first post-war building to become so protected. The London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Philharmonia Orchestra and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment are resident in the hall.
Three Occasions has a duration of roughly 16 minutes and is composed in three movements:
A movement is a self-contained part of a musical composition or musical form. While individual or selected movements from a composition are sometimes performed separately, a performance of the complete work requires all the movements to be performed in succession. A movement is a section, "a major structural unit perceived as the result of the coincidence of relatively large numbers of structural phenomena".
A unit of a larger work that may stand by itself as a complete composition. Such divisions are usually self-contained. Most often the sequence of movements is arranged fast-slow-fast or in some other order that provides contrast.
"A Celebration of Some 100 × 150 Notes" was commissioned by the Houston Symphony for the 150th anniversary of the state of Texas. "Remembrance" was composed in memory of the music patron and philanthropist Paul Fromm. "Anniversary" was written for Carter's wife Helen in celebration of their 50th wedding anniversary.
The Houston Symphony is a Grammy Award winning orchestra based in Houston, Texas. Since 1966, it has performed at the Jesse H. Jones Hall for the Performing Arts in downtown Houston.
Texas is the second largest state in the United States by both area and population. Geographically located in the South Central region of the country, Texas shares borders with the U.S. states of Louisiana to the east, Arkansas to the northeast, Oklahoma to the north, New Mexico to the west, and the Mexican states of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León, and Tamaulipas to the southwest, while the Gulf of Mexico is to the southeast.
Paul Fromm was a Jewish Chicago wine merchant and performing arts patron through the Fromm Music Foundation. The Organum for Paul Fromm was composed by John Harbison in his honor.
The work is scored for an orchestra comprising three flutes (2nd and 3rd doubling piccolo), two oboes, cor anglais, two clarinets, bass clarinet, two bassoons, contrabassoon, four horns, three trumpets, three trombones, tuba, timpani, two percussionists, piano (doubling celesta), and strings.
The Western concert flute is a transverse (side-blown) woodwind instrument made of metal or wood. It is the most common variant of the flute. A musician who plays the flute is called a flautist, flutist, flute player, or (rarely) fluter.
The piccolo is a half-size flute, and a member of the woodwind family of musical instruments. The modern piccolo has most of the same fingerings as its larger sibling, the standard transverse flute, but the sound it produces is an octave higher than written. This gave rise to the name ottavino, which the instrument is called in the scores of Italian composers. It is also called flauto piccolo or flautino.
Oboes are a family of double reed woodwind instruments. The most common oboe plays in the treble or soprano range. Oboes are usually made of wood, but there are also oboes made of synthetic materials. A soprano oboe measures roughly 65 cm long, with metal keys, a conical bore and a flared bell. Sound is produced by blowing into the reed at a sufficient air pressure, causing it to vibrate with the air column. The distinctive tone is versatile and has been described as "bright". When oboe is used alone, it is generally taken to mean the treble instrument rather than other instruments of the family, such as the bass oboe, the cor anglais, or oboe d'amore
Tom Service of The Guardian called it "Carter at his most ebullient and unbuttoned."Reviewing a 2006 performance of the work, he wrote, "For all his avant-garde rigour, Carter's music is definitively American, and in Knussen's performance of the exuberant Three Occasions, there was music of glinting, luminous brilliance, like sunlight playing on the glass and steel of New York's skyscrapers. It is a subtle, modernist poetry which whets the appetite for the rest of the weekend." Likewise, Gramophone said the piece "represents Carter's inclusive late style at something near its best."
Tom Service is a British writer, music journalist and television and radio presenter, who has written regularly for The Guardian since 1999 and presented on BBC Radio 3 since 2001. He is a regular presenter of The Proms for Radio 3 and has presented several documentaries on the subject of classical music. Since 2018, he has been Professor of Music at Gresham College.
The Guardian is a British daily newspaper. It was founded in 1821 as The Manchester Guardian, and took its current name in 1959. Along with its sister papers The Observer and The Guardian Weekly, the Guardian is part of the Guardian Media Group, owned by the Scott Trust. The Scott Trust was created in 1936 "to secure the financial and editorial independence of the Guardian in perpetuity and to safeguard the journalistic freedom and liberal values of the Guardian free from commercial or political interference". The Scott Trust was converted into a limited company in 2008, with a constitution written so as to project the same protections for The Guardian as were originally built into the very structure of the Scott Trust by its creators. Profits are reinvested in journalism rather than to benefit an owner or shareholders.
Gramophone is a magazine published monthly in London devoted to classical music, particularly to reviews of recordings. It was founded in 1923 by the Scottish author Compton Mackenzie. It was acquired by Haymarket in 1999. In 2013 the Mark Allen Group became the publisher.
Ellen Taaffe Zwilich is an American composer, the first female composer to win the Pulitzer Prize for Music. Her early works are marked by atonal exploration, but by the late 1980s she had shifted to a post-modernist, neo-romantic style. She has been called "one of America’s most frequently played and genuinely popular living composers." She was a 1994 inductee into the Florida Artists Hall of Fame. Zwilich currently serves as the Francis Eppes Distinguished Professor at Florida State University.
Stuart Oliver Knussen was a British composer and conductor.
The Holiday Overture is a composition for orchestra by Elliott Carter. Carter wrote the work during the summer of 1944, on commission from the Boston Symphony Orchestra, to celebrate the liberation of Paris during World War II. In addition, Carter composed the overture for the Independent Concert Music Publisher's Contest 1945, and won this competition. The overture was to have been premiered in Boston. However, Carter made a copy of some parts of the work. Eventually, the work received its premiere in Frankfurt in 1946, conducted by Hans Blümer. In 1961, Carter revised the overture.
The Second Concerto for Orchestra is a concerto for orchestra by the American composer Steven Stucky. The work was commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic while Stucky was their composer-in-residence for the inaugural season of the Walt Disney Concert Hall. It was completed in 2003 and was first performed on March 12, 2004, with the conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen leading the Los Angeles Philharmonic. The piece was awarded the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Music.
The Concerto for Orchestra is a four-movement concerto for orchestra written in 1969 by the American composer Elliott Carter. The work was commissioned by the New York Philharmonic to commemorate their 125th anniversary and was premiered by the orchestra under the conductor Leonard Bernstein in New York City, February 5, 1970.
The Violin Concerto is a concerto for violin and orchestra in three movements by the American composer Elliott Carter. The work was jointly commissioned by the San Francisco Symphony and the violinist Ole Bøhn. It was completed February 26, 1990 in Waccabuc, New York, and was premiered May 2, 1990 in San Francisco, with conductor Herbert Blomstedt leading Bøhn and the San Francisco Symphony. The piece won the 1994 Grammy Award for Best Classical Contemporary Composition.
Dialogues is a composition for solo piano and chamber orchestra by the American composer Elliott Carter. The work was commissioned by the BBC for the pianist Nicolas Hodges and completed in 2003. It was first performed on January 23, 2004 at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in Southbank Centre, London, by Nicolas Hodges and the London Sinfonietta under the conductor Oliver Knussen. The piece was a finalist for the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Music. In 2012, Carter composed a followup to the piece Dialogues II for the conductor Daniel Barenboim's 70th birthday.
The Concerto for Horn and Orchestra is a horn concerto by the American composer Elliott Carter. The work was commissioned by the Boston Symphony Orchestra for the horn player James Sommerville. It was first performed on November 15, 2007 in Boston by Sommerville and the Boston Symphony Orchestra under the conductor James Levine.
Soundings is an orchestral composition by the American composer Elliott Carter. The work was commissioned by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for their final season with the conductor Daniel Barenboim as music director. It was first performed on October 6, 2005 at the Symphony Center, Chicago, by Barenboim and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
The Boston Concerto is a concerto for orchestra by the American composer Elliott Carter. The work was commissioned by the Boston Symphony Orchestra, for which the piece is titled. It was first performed in Symphony Hall, Boston, on April 3, 2003 by the Boston Symphony Orchestra under the conductor Ingo Metzmacher. Carter dedicated the concerto to his wife Helen Jones Carter, who died on May 17, 2003.
The Cello Concerto is a composition for solo cello and orchestra by the American composer Elliott Carter. The work was commissioned by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for the cellist Yo-Yo Ma. It was first performed in Chicago, Illinois, on September 27, 2001 by Yo-Yo Ma and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under the conductor Daniel Barenboim.
A Symphony of Three Orchestras is an orchestra composition by the American composer Elliott Carter. The work was commissioned by the New York Philharmonic through a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. It was composed from June through December 1976 and was first performed in New York City on February 17, 1977 by the New York Philharmonic under the conductor Pierre Boulez. The composition is dedicated to Boulez and the New York Philharmonic.
The Concerto for Piano is a composition for solo piano and orchestra by the American composer Elliott Carter. The work was commissioned by the pianist Jacob Lateiner with support from the Ford Foundation. It was composed between 1964 and 1965 and was first performed at Symphony Hall, Boston on January 6, 1967, by Lateiner and the Boston Symphony Orchestra under the conductor Erich Leinsdorf. The piece was dedicated to the composer Igor Stravinsky for his 85th birthday.
The Asko Concerto is a concerto for chamber orchestra by the American composer Elliott Carter. The work was commissioned by the Dutch chamber group Asko Ensemble, for which the piece is titled. It was composed in January 2000 and was first performed in Concertgebouw, Amsterdam on April 26, 2000, by the Asko ensemble under the conductor Oliver Knussen. The piece is dedicated to Asko/Schönberg.
The Symphonia: sum fluxae pretium spei is an orchestral triptych by the American composer Elliott Carter. Its three movements were composed between 1993 and 1995. The complete work was first performed on April 25, 1998 at Bridgewater Hall, Manchester by the BBC Symphony Orchestra under the conductor Oliver Knussen. The second movement "Adagio tenebroso" was a finalist for the 1996 Pulitzer Prize for Music.
The Symphony No. 1 is a symphony for orchestra by the American composer Elliott Carter. The work was originally completed in Santa Fe, New Mexico on December 18, 1942, though Carter later revised the work in 1954. It was first performed on April 27, 1944 by the Eastman-Rochester Symphony under the direction of Howard Hanson at the fourteenth annual Festival of American Music. The piece is dedicated to Carter's wife.
The Double Concerto for Harpsichord and Piano with Two Chamber Orchestras is a composition by the American composer Elliott Carter. The work was commissioned by the Fromm Music Foundation and is dedicated to the philanthropist Paul Fromm. It was completed in August 1961 and was first performed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium on September 6, 1961. The premiere was performed by the harpsichordist Ralph Kirkpatrick and the pianist Charles Rosen under the conductor Gustav Meier.
Three Illusions for Orchestra is an orchestral triptych by the American composer Elliott Carter. The complete work was given its world premiere in Symphony Hall, Boston, on October 6, 2005 by the Boston Symphony Orchestra under the conductor James Levine.
Two Controversies and a Conversation is a composition for piano, percussion, and chamber orchestra by the American composer Elliott Carter. Its world premiere was given on June 8, 2012 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City by the pianist Eric Huebner and the percussionist Colin Currie with the New York Philharmonic under the direction of David Robertson. The piece is dedicated to Colin Currie and the pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard. It was one of the last works composed by Carter, who completed the piece at the age of 103.