Search - Thomas Ades, Simon Rattle, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra :: Ades: Asyla [Concerto Conciso / These Premises Are Alarmed / Chamber Symphony / . . . but all shall be well]

Ades: Asyla [Concerto Conciso / These Premises Are Alarmed / Chamber Symphony / . . . but all shall be well]
Thomas Ades, Simon Rattle, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Ades: Asyla [Concerto Conciso / These Premises Are Alarmed / Chamber Symphony / . . . but all shall be well]
Genre: Classical
 
  •  Track Listings (13) - Disc #1

Born in 1971, British composer Thomas Adès has rapidly gained an international standing as one of the most exciting voices among the newest generation of composers. His debut release, Life Story, revealed an amazing facili...  more »

      
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Born in 1971, British composer Thomas Adès has rapidly gained an international standing as one of the most exciting voices among the newest generation of composers. His debut release, Life Story, revealed an amazing facility for experimenting with sonic colors, while the 1997 opera Powder Her Face--a polystylistic amalgam of savage comedy and tragic pathos--grabbed attention as a work of stunningly effective theatricality. The music gathered on this disc ranges from early works when Adès was still considered a composer of "promise" to more recent ones that announce a full-fledged artist. The Chamber Symphony involves a jaunty, coloristic interplay between basset clarinet and an unconventional ensemble in which the other instruments become, according to Adès, "infected with the personality of the solo instrument." "...but all shall be well" (the title from Eliot's "Four Quartets") traces an up-and-down theme through a sonic garden of delights, while "These Premises Are Alarmed" sets off a firecracker of phosphorescent virtuosity. But the centerpiece here is the title symphony for a Mahler-sized orchestra plus three pianos. "Asyla" covers a vast terrain in its 22 minutes, playing up the doubleness of its name (Latin plural of "asylum") with a chaotic exuberance of fragmented colors (hints of both Stravinsky and Ligeti), from a paranoically obsessive bedlam to the free-spirited refuge attained in the finale movement. Simon Rattle vibrantly delineates both Adès's brilliant orchestral imagination and his command of structural design. The wide-ranging "Asyla" makes a fascinating contrast with "Concerto Conciso," an implosive pocket piano concerto featuring the composer as soloist. Typically, Adès scores for an unusual ensemble of sax, strings, brass, and percussion and plays them off each other with an energetic array of cross-rhythms. Like "Asyla," this is music so rich it needs several hearings to fathom. And it's clearly the work of a composer to whom attention must be paid. --Thomas May

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CD Reviews

This is the best Ades cd yet.
Karl Henzy | 12/01/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Thomas Ades gets a lot of attention because he's so young (born in 1971). He certainly has great potential, as evidenced on this disc. I recommend it ahead of the other three Ades discs. His opera, Powder Her Face, has some great music but seems pointlessly cruel and sarcastic about its easy target (a rich and spoiled woman who can't restrain her libido). The short piano pieces and little chamber pieces on the other discs don't strike me as very exciting. Ades seems to be at his best, for now, in orchestral works, such as this disc is entirely devoted to. Much of what I hear sounds as if it were influenced by late Ligeti (of the Piano and Violin Concerti), but more popular, if that makes any sense. The third movement of Asyla, for instance, sounds like a marching band gone haywire. It's fun, and the playing is certainly virtuoso. It remains to be seen where Ades will go with all his talent, whether he'll harness it towards some more profound overall vision."
Imagination that blows you away
Grady Harp | 10/14/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Thomas Ades will easily outlast his detractors tiresome cliches about the "emperor having no clothes." This guy has dazzling wardrobes of every color you could possibly imagine. His symphonic Asyla is a real masterpiece of our time, not just the boring game of playing it safe for timid audiences, nor the heavy cerebral games of composers who've lost touch...Ades has an imagination that's totally riveting, and he knows how to keep the listener following him down the pathways and dark alleys where it leads. This is also, by the way, truly virtuoso playing by the orchestra and smaller ensembles. IT will leave your head spinning and giddy."
Sadly Disappointed
Grady Harp | 12/22/1999
(2 out of 5 stars)

"Having heard much about this composer, I was finally persuaded by one of the reviews here and ordered ASYLA. I've listened to it numerous times and have to finally conclude there's nothing really new or fresh, or enjoyable or profound to be discovered here. It struck me as imitative of Michael Colgrass--and not engagingly so. I'm glad to have it in my collection, but I'm afraid I will rarely give it a listen. Perhaps I was anticipating too much, hence my disappointment--but I'm far more likely to pull out Colgrass's AS QUIET AS if I'm after inventiveness."