How am I supposed to appreciate or enjoy listening to Epigrams: I. – composed by Elliot Carter, from his Late Works (2017) album? Is there a certain way of listening or do you need specific knowledge about the piece (for e.g., what’s going on in the piece, the composer’s intention, etc.) in order to enjoy it?

1 Answer 1


The American composer Elliott Carter (b.1908) composed this piece, one of the twelve "Epigrams" for piano, violin and cello in 2012, shortly before he died. He was one of the most highly regarded 'serious' composers of the twentieth century. The title gives a clue to the structure of the pieces: they are all short and pithy. It's not necessary to have any specific knowledge to be able to enjoy the pieces, although a familiarity with the musical language certainly helps, the style is firmly rooted in the early twentieth century. Approach the pieces with an open mind, listen to them a few times, and maybe you'll come to enjoy them.
Note: I'm not convinced this is great music, there is plenty of much more interesting music around.

  • +1 From EC's website: "Like the ancient Greek literary form on which they are modeled, the movements are characterized by surprising and witty changes of direction and mood". I agree, there's no secret formula here, they're supposed to be fun, light and surprising.
    – helveticat
    Commented Jun 22, 2021 at 15:44

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