Music: The Carter Vogue

"You don't throw a string-quartet program like this at an average audience," said Violinist Matthew Raimondi last week. That remark out of the way, Raimondi and the other members of the Composers String Quartet went out onto a stage at Columbia University and performed the three best and most difficult string quartets written since the time of Bela Bartok. They are by Composer Elliott Carter, and the trio of works have a collective age of 44 years. Yet no group had ever played all or even two of them at one sitting; scheduling even one is a calculated risk. The recital...

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