The Holiday Overture is a composition for orchestra by Elliott Carter. Carter wrote the work during the summer of 1944, on commission from the Boston Symphony Orchestra, to celebrate the liberation of Paris during World War II. In addition, Carter composed the overture for the Independent Concert Music Publisher's Contest 1945, and won this competition. The overture was to have been premiered in Boston. However, Carter made a copy of some parts of the work. Eventually, the work received its premiere in Frankfurt in 1946, conducted by Hans Blümer. In 1961, Carter revised the overture.
The music is optimistic in spirit, reflecting Carter's own affection for his years in Paris and reaction to news of the Allied victory in France. Whilst reminiscent of the populist manner of Aaron Copland, according to the composer himself, the work was also one of his first to use "different contrasting layers of musical activity at the same time". In addition, Carter has said of the work:
... it was to be a demonstration of brilliant orchestration, and a lively, good-spirited sort of piece.
The music has a duration of about 10 minutes. The instrumentation is as follows:
- CRI SD 475: American Composers Orchestra; Paul Lustig Dunkel, conductor
- Naxos 8.559151: Nashville Symphony Orchestra; Kenneth Schermerhorn, conductor (recorded 2002)
- Bridge Records 9177: Odense Symphony Orchestra; Donald Palma, conductor
- Testament SBT 1516: Berlin Philharmonic; Aaron Copland, conductor (recorded live in September 30, 1970)
- Carter, Elliott and Boretz, Benjamin; Boretz (Spring–Summer 1970). "Conversation with Elliott Carter". Perspectives of New Music. 8 (2): 1–22. doi:10.2307/832445. JSTOR 832445.
- Goldman, Richard Franko (April 1957). "The Music of Elliott Carter". The Musical Quarterly. XLIII (2): 151–170. doi:10.1093/mq/xliii.2.151. Retrieved 2008-04-07.
- Elliott Carter, Essay from The Orchestral Composer's Point of View (Essays on twentieth-century music by those who wrote it) (ed. Robert Stephan Hines). University of Oklahoma Press (Norman, Oklahoma), 1970 (ISBN 0806108622).
- Whipple, Harold W. (Autumn 1981 – Summer 1982). "An Elliott Carter Discography". Perspectives of New Music. Perspectives of New Music. 20 (1/2): 169–181. doi:10.2307/942411. JSTOR 942411.
- Whittall, Arnold (March 2004). "Carter Symphony No 1; Piano Concerto: Elliott Carter makes his Naxos début with an ear-catching programme". Gramophone. Retrieved February 12, 2016.