Adès, Thomas - In Seven Days: Concerto for Piano with Moving Image

In Seven Days: Concerto for Piano with Moving Image
Thomas Adès
b. London, England / March 1, 1971

Adès is one today’s most gifted and most versatile musicians. His compositions include two operas, Powder Her Face (1995), and The Tempest (2004). Other orchestral works include Asyla (1997), Tevot (2007), Polaris (2011), Violin Concerto Concentric Paths, 2005) and Totentanz for mezzo-soprano, baritone and orchestra (2013). Chamber works include the string quartets Arcadiana (1993) and The Four Quarters (2011), Piano Quintet (2001), and Lieux retrouvés for cello and piano (2010). Solo piano works include Darknesse Visible (1992), Traced Overhead (1996), and Three Mazurkas (2010). Choral works include The Fayrfax Carol (1997), America: a Prophecy (1999) and January Writ (2000).

From 1999 to 2008, he was Artistic Director of Britain’s prestigious Aldeburgh Festival. As a conductor he appears regularly with, among others, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Boston Symphony Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw, BBC Symphony, and City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. As an opera conductor, he has conducted Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress at the Royal Opera, London and the Zürich Opera, Future plans include Totentanz with the Boston and Chicago Symphonies and the Los Angeles and New York Philharmonics. Recent piano engagements include solo recitals at Carnegie Hall and the Barbican in London, and concerto appearances with the New York Philharmonic.

Prizes include: Grawemeyer Award for Asyla (1999); Royal Philharmonic Society large-scale composition awards for Asyla, The Tempest and Tevot; Ernst von Siemens Composers’ prize for Arcadiana; British Composer Award for The Four Quarters; and Best Opera Grammy and Diapason d’or de l’année (Paris) for The Tempest. He coaches piano and chamber music annually at the International Musicians Seminar, Prussia Cove.

In Seven Days was commissioned by Southbank Centre and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. The first performance took place in London on April 28, 2008, with Nicolas Hodges as soloist and the composer conducting the London Sinfonietta.

The composer has supplied the following note.

This piece is in seven continuous sections, following the Biblical story of Creation:
1. Chaos – Light – Darkness
2. Separation of the Waters into Sea and Sky – Reflection dance
3. Land – Grass – Trees
4. Stars – Sun – Moon
Fugue: 5. Creatures of the Sea and Sky
6. Creatures of the Land
7. Contemplation
The story is set as a set of variations, reflecting the two-part structure of the story: Days 1, 2 and 3 are complemented by Days 4, 5 and 6. In Day 7, the Theme is presented in its simplest form. The visuals also tell the story in an abstract way, using footage and photographs from the two places equally responsible for the work’s commission: Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, and the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, and the immediate surroundings of each.

Program Notes by Don Anderson © 2019

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