After a strenuous hike straight up Mt. Lenox this afternoon, an hour of Elliott Carter wasn't exactly the first thing I wanted to listen to tonight. But the program, featuring chiefly works for solo musicians - many from as recently as last year - was riveting from start to finish. Longtime Carter champions Fred Sherry and Charles Rosen gave a deeply moving account of "Elegy" (2007), evidence that Elliott's found some soul in his late 90's. Most impressive, however, were the fellows - timpanists Steven Merrill and Kyle Zerna, and bassist Kevin Jablonsky - who've probably never had inhabit to a stage all by themselves before, much less one the size and magnitude of Ozawa Hall. Carter was at the concert, and gave at least one fellow (Zerna) a standing ovation.
Tonight's final concert will also be in Ozawa Hall, and features the Boston Symphony Orchestra performing four works - three of which they commissioned - written in the last decade. This is the first time the BSO has participated in the 44-year old Festival of Contemporary Music, a testament to Music Director James Levine's unwavering devotion to Carter's music. BSO assistant conductor Shi-Teon Sung and British composer/conductor Oliver Knussen sit in for the ailing Levine.