Elliott Carter (1908-2012)

Quintet for piano and winds (1991)

  • General information
    • Composition date: 1991
    • Duration: 24 mn
    • Publisher: Boosey & Hawkes
    • Commission: Kölnmusik GmbH
    • Dedication: Pour Heinz Holliger et le Kölnmusik
Detailed formation
  • piano, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn

Premiere information

  • Date: 13 September 1992

    Allemagne, Cologne, Philharmonie


    Heinz Holliger : hautbois, Elmar Schmid : clarinette, Klaus Thunemann : basson, Radovan Vlatkovic : cor et Andras Schiff : piano.

Program note

When I accepted the commission by Heinz Holliger and Köln Musik to write this quintet for these remarkable performers, the thought of the masterpiece by Mozart for this combination led me to consider very seriously its range of expressive possibilities. TO heighten the dialectic interplay between the instruments, I decided to treat the group as having three contrasting elements: piano, horn, and trio of woodwinds. Each is assigned to its own musical vocabulary and its own type of expressivity and character, derived from its instrumental capabilities. Thus the interplay of commentary, answer, humorous detail, ironic, supportive of self-effacing were considered as part of the musical thought and expression. Although the quintet is in one continuous movement, there are frequent changes of mood, sometimes within one instrument’s part, at other times by groups.

The work was composed in Southbury, Connecticut, during the summer of 1991.

Elliott Carter.