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Thomas Adès Takes a Step Toward the Classical Music Canon

Thomas Adès Takes a Step Toward the Classical Music Canon


Composed for Simon Rattle’s inaugural season because the orchestra’s chief conductor and unveiled on Thursday on the Herkulessaal, it appears to pack as a lot into its 17 minutes as Beethoven did in his “Pastoral” Symphony, which was on the second half of the night. (The program, which opened with the Prelude and “Liebestod” from Wagner’s “Tristan und Isolde,” travels with the ensemble and Rattle to Carnegie Hall on May 3.)

Here, once more, is Adès the maximalist, for higher and worse. “Aquifer” could also be straightforward to take heed to, nevertheless it’s not really easy to rapidly perceive. (On one web page within the rating, there are 39 simultaneous traces of music.) There could also be a touch, although, at illustration and kind within the title, just like his violin concerto “Concentric Paths.”

“Aquifer” begins foundationally, with the rumbling of voices rising to the very best within the orchestra. From there, it unfolds in seven sections which can be delineated not by motion breaks however by tempo; they’re as seamless because the three acts of “The Exterminating Angel.” There are episodes of flaring phrases and passages that swing slowly, brassiness that remembers Ravel’s “Boléro” and a falling, two-note motif that subtly, however coincidentally, presaged the birdcalls of the “Pastoral” Symphony.

As the tempo modifications, the momentum by no means lets up, whether or not foregrounded or subterranean. Compact and intense, “Aquifer” couldn’t be longer than its working time with out sporting itself out. After a chromatic chorale that begins within the winds and builds to incorporate the complete orchestra, the piece euphorically sprints to a climactic end that featured, if you happen to can imagine it, Rattle enjoying a rattle.

That might have been a comic book bit to highlight the conductor for whom “Aquifer” was written. Or it might have been a logistical selection; the rating requires six percussionists, however these last measures embody seven percussion devices. Either manner, after the performances in Paris and Munich, it feels protected to belief that, at this level, Adès is aware of precisely what he’s doing.

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