For Ursula Oppens, present and past aren’t far apart. In a concert I heard several years ago (at Northwestern’s Pick-Staiger Concert Hall), she opened with Beethoven (1712-1773) and closed with John Adams (1947-).
Elliott Carter (1908-), “Retrouvailles” (2000)/Ursula Oppens, piano, live, New York, 2008
[Elliott Carter, who will soon celebrate his 101st birthday,] heard pianist Art Tatum play on 52nd Street [in the 1940s] and . . . became a fan of Thelonious Monk.—Tom Cole, “Elliott Carter’s Century of Music,” NPR
David Schiff, author of ‘The Music of Elliott Carter,’ said in the program that the ‘Piano Sonata of 1946’ ‘invoked jazz.’ And during a panel discussion he smiled and said he thought he heard some influence of jazz pianist Thelonious Monk in the piano part of Carter’s ‘Cello Sonata of 2000.’
‘I’ve never heard Carter say anything about it,’ Mr. Schiff later added in an e-mail, ‘but when I play through the part (in private!) I like to give the many staccato notes that mark the pulse a kind of Monk edge to them.’—Roderick Nordell, “99 years of Elliott Carter in 5 Days,” Christian Science Monitor, 1/26/09
An (often-fascinating) conversation between Elliott Carter and Phil Lesh (Grateful Dead) can be heard here.