perc(3):4bongos/4wdbls/BD/gong/sm.susp.cym/lg.snare dr/xylorimba;4tom-t/tam-t/stones/sm.snare dr/2log drs/sm.tgl/lg.susp.cym/vib/glsp;4tpl.bls/sm.cowbell/almglocke/med.SD/hammer/guiro/claves/med.susp.cym-pft-harp-strings(18.104.22.168.1)
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.”
- Programme note by Paul Griffiths
This programme note can be reproduced free of charge in concert programmes with a credit to the author.
“With multiple smiles and twinkles in the eye towards the hero of the day, Réflexions does not fall into the mould of the occasional piece and manifests the stunning vitality of a musician who is nearing his centenary. Boulez was thrilled. The audience was, too, during its repeated ovation of Carter.”