Elliott Carter (1908-2012)

Réflexions (2004)

for ensemble

  • General information
    • Composition date: 2004
    • Duration: 10 mn
    • Publisher: Boosey & Hawkes
Detailed formation
  • 2 flutes (also 2 piccolos, 1 alto flute), oboe, English horn, 2 clarinets (also 1 Eb clarinet, 1 bass clarinet, 1 contrabass clarinet), 2 bassoons (also 1 contrabassoon), 2 horns, 2 trumpets, 2 trombones, 3 percussionists, harp, piano, 2 violins, second violin, 2 violas, 2 cellos, double bass

Premiere information

  • Date: 15 February 2005

    France, Paris


    l'Ensemble intercontemporain, direction : Pierre Boulez.

Program note

Conceived as an eightieth-birthday present for the composer’s longstanding friend and supporter Pierre Boulez this colorful and often humorous piece is a swirl of reflections on six notes that spell out the dedicatee’s surname. The score is also a homage to the Ensemble InterContemporain, which was to give the first performance (as also of the composer’s Penthode and his concertos for oboe and clarinet). Accordingly, the music is a sparkling sequence of virtuoso solos and duets, including a comic turn for contrabass clarinet in the extreme low register, bright discourses for flutes and trumpets, and a cello thrust in which, Carter has observed, “the cello plays a wrong note, B natural, which the orchestra doesn’t like, so then it plays the right note, which is B flat.”

Paul Griffiths.