it’s monday! what are you reading? + elliott carter

It’s Monday, what are you reading? Hosted every week by Sheila at Bookjourney… but I can only seem to get one of these “Monday” posts in a month! Pretty busy, and it took me a while to get through the last books I was reading.

Well, I finished Rohinton Mistry’s A Fine Balance and Gillian Flynn’s Sharp Objects, which brought me up to my goal of reading 30 books in 2012! I feel very good about that, especially after only reading three books last year. I think it may be more books than I have ever read in a single year…

This week I started reading J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, mostly because the film is coming out next month and also partly because the last few books I read were very dark and disturbing. I was in the mood for something lighter and less intense.

But, what I’m really reading this evening are the articles online about composer Elliott Carter, who died today at age 103. I actually broke down in tears in my office this afternoon when I read the news—and I have never cried over a celebrity death.

Carter was a big influence on me when I was a composition student—I really love his music and he was just so inspirational and important to a whole generation of composers. His contributions to contemporary music are immeasurable. Read his New York Times obituary: Elliott Carter, Composer Who Decisively Snapped Tradition, Dies at 103

And here is a heartwarming and delightful interview from only six months ago on Bloomberg.com: Elliott Carter, 103, Has World Premiere, Ponders Hitler, Romney (Yes, he was still composing and having premiere performances of his music!) My favorite quote from this interview:

Tarmy: Can you attribute your longevity to anything?

Carter: I have no idea. I do a little bit of exercise every morning, and now I read in the paper that exercise for older people is bad for the harp—for the heart, not the harp, I mean. The harp is bad enough.

Also, click here for youtube videos featuring Elliott Carter’s music—highly evocative, expressive, complex, and beautiful.

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