One of the nice things about having a blog is that I get to argue with the New York Times. In the yesterday's obituary of Elliott Carter, Allan Kozinn quotes Harold C. Schonberg's review of the Concerto for Orchestra in 1970: "It may be a tour de force of its kind," Schonberg wrote, " but to me it is essentially uncommunicative, dry and a triumph of technique over spirit."
Because I have this blog, see, I finally get to call the guy an asshole. He's wrong, too. No piece of music in the past 40 years has shown as much spirit as Mr. Carter's Concerto. Yes, it's complex, and daunting, and [insert your cliché here], but it kicks neoromantic ass.
Anthony Tommasini has an appreciation in today's edition. He's much more understanding and insightful than Schonberg (who wouldn’t be?), although still drags out the usual shopworn stuff about “astringent” harmonies. And I disagree with him about the String Quartet No. 3. OK, so the music "unfolds in dizzying thickets of overlapping lines and jittery rhythmic explosions," but, you know, that's what I like about it.