More daringly terse was Jeremy Gill’s superb Eliot Fragments, whose episodes jumped off from T.S. Eliot quotations to create stark, explosive sound pictures that went to extremes within seconds.
– Philadelphia Inquirer, 4 March 2009
Eliot Fragments (for Carter) was one of ten works commissioned by Network for New Music to celebrate Elliott Carterʼs 100th birthday. It is a collection of meditations on excerpted lines from T.S. Eliotʼs poetry as well as a set of tiny fantasies on 90+, a work by Elliott Carter celebrating the 90th birthday of his longtime friend Goffredo Petrassi. The last five measures of 90+, which are quoted at the beginning of Eliot Fragments, are a particularly poetic bit of music, and I have taken Carterʼs invitation to rhapsodize (ripetere a piacere) quite literally, spinning out my own music from his.
Eliot Fragments is in five extremely short movements, each headed by a line or two of Eliotʼs poetry and each developed from a musical idea present in 90+:
“In my end is my beginning” (from “East Coker,” V) is the end of 90+ as theme-become rhapsody.
“Because I do not hope to turn again” (from “Ash-Wednesday,” I) is a fantasy on a tonality.
“I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each” (from “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”) is a fantasy on a texture.
“Life is very long” (from “The Hollow Men,” V) is a fantasy on a sonority.
“Time and the bell have buried the day” (from “Burnt Norton,” IV)/“(But our beginnings never know our ends!)” (from “Portrait of a Lady,” III) is a fantasy on an accented beat.