🎻♫♪ – Concerto for Orchestra by Elliott Carter

List Item: Listen to half of the 1001 Classical Works You Must Hear Before You Die
103/501Title: Concerto for Orchestra
Composer: Elliott Carter
Nationality: American

There is a weird benefit of pulling out these classical pieces out of the old theme park popcorn container – sometimes you end up with incredibly contrasting pieces from the opposite ends of the book. Dating from the 1960s, Concerto for Orchestra is probably the most difficult piece that I have listened to for the 1001 classical pieces list. However, I wouldn’t necessarily say that means this was one of the worst.

I have said a few times for other albums (both popular music and classical) that if a piece is too busy or discordant, it can trigger a panic response in me. I hate that this is a thing, but whatever this isn’t a common occurrence. Well, it began to happen with Concerto for Orchestra. Then I did something I don’t usually do – I leaned into it and really focused on the piece. 

You see, normally these classical pieces become good background music for work – but this is not the piece for that. This is a piece where, shortly after I actually started listening to it, the different elements of this 20-odd minute concerto opened up a bit. I could start to hear the large variety of instruments operating on their different rhythms … and somehow it actually made sense. Like, knowing this might be an option for these kinds of classical pieces is revelatory. I do get why a lot of people really cannot get close to liking it, but you can’t deny how interesting it is.

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