(Note: This post has been edited to correct an omission, and updated (1) as of 6:45 AM Eastern on 23 Jun. See below for update.)
I've never heard the Elliott Carter Piano Sonata that's discussed at some length in this lovely post by concert pianist and blogger Jeremy Denk of Think Denk (which blog has now been added to our exclusive Culture Blogs listing on the sidebar), but I think I'd like to. Mr. Denk makes it sound so ... worth hearing.
Update (6:45 AM Eastern on 23 Jun): Composer, music critic, and blogger Steve Hicken of Listen poses a question to me, re, the above. Writes Mr. Hicken:
A. C. Douglas points to [an] exquisite post by pianist and latest Blogroll inductee Jeremy Denk. Mr. Denk's post includes some telling analytical comments about the ending of Elliott Carter's Piano Sonata (1945-46). I've commented in the past about the value of analysis for performers and listeners alike, and I wonder what Mr. Douglas, who is less amenable to analytical commentary, thinks of Mr. Denk's analysis.
Well, as is clear from my above post, I thought it rather lovely. But I take it Mr. Hicken wants a bit more detail from me, and I'm pleased to provide it.
In brief, Mr. Denk's approach would, I think, have been an exemplar of how one ought to write about music complex and / or new music most especially for all except trained musicians and other music specialists had he omitted the images of the score completely, and, using non-specialist language, made adjustments to his text to take into account any dependence on them. Not difficult to do, actually, even if using some (very) few specialist terms proves to be unavoidable as such terms can easily be explained parenthetically for the lay reader in but few words without the explanation being annoying for the more musically knowledgeable.
And what about Mr. Denk's approach makes it an exemplar of how one ought to write about music? Because the imagery of the evocative prose tantalizes as it explains, making the reader, even a lay reader, imagine he's experienced a genuine if ephemeral taste of how the music goes or ought to go, and whets his appetite to hear that music for real again or for the first time and in full.
And that, in short, is one of the very best ways to build new and / or informed audiences for serious music, old or new, but new music most especially.