Elliott Carter (1908-2012)

Of Challenge and of Love (1994)

five poems by John Hollander, for soprano and piano

  • General information
    • Composition date: 1994
    • Duration: 22 mn
    • Publisher: Boosey & Hawkes
    • Commission: Aldeburgh Foundation pour Lucy Shelton, avec l'aide de la Rex Foundation
    • Libretto (details, author):

      John Hollander

Detailed formation
  • solo soprano, piano

Premiere information

  • Date: 19 June 1995

    Royaume-Uni, Aldeburgh Festival


    Lucy Shelton : soprano et John Constable : piano


Enregistrement : Tony Arnold et Jacob Greenberg, cd Bridge 9218.

Program note

John Hollander’s poetry has fascinated me for many years because of its poetic skills, its awareness of our cultural past and its wide-ranging modern expressivity. So when Lucy Shelton (whose performances of my work are superb) and the Aldeburgh Festival proposed that I write a cycle for her, I accepted with great pleasure. The choice of the texts from many of Hollander’s books and a type-written script of Quatrains from Harp Lake (which John tells me is the Sea of Galilee) are basically focused around the character of that poem with its brief, vividly contrasting quatrains that have an under-current of irony and deep anxiety that is also found in the other four poems in different ways. The score was composed in the last months of 1994 in New York City.

Elliott Carter.