Ades, Schubert

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Ades,Schubert
LABELS: EMI
ALBUM TITLE: Ades, Schubert
WORKS: Piano Quintet
PERFORMER: Thomas Adès (piano), Corin Long (bass); Arditti Quartet, Members of Belcea Quartet
CATALOGUE NO: 557 6642
Thomas Adès’s music has sometimes paid overt tribute to composers of the past, but none of his previous pieces can quite prepare us for the large-scale conjuring up of Classical form embodied in his Piano Quintet – a single sonata-form movement, complete with a first subject with C major undertones, and a chorale-like second theme in A major. Even the long exposition is repeated in traditional fashion. Yet within this framework the music carries out a rhythmic experiment of remarkable fluidity: rather than simply write time-signatures that divide the bar conventionally, Adès uses irregular pulses, and often two or more different time-signatures are in play simultaneously, creating a complex web of cross-rhythms. In addition, both the exposition and – more spectacularly – the recapitulation feature an accelerando by the end of which the music appears to tumble over itself in its haste. The Quintet makes a fascinating companion-piece to Schubert’s Trout, and it’s superbly well played by Adès himself and the Arditti Quartet.

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No less brilliant and energetic is the performance of Schubert’s popular Quintet, this time with members of the Belcea Quartet and the bass-player Corin Long. Other recent recordings have captured the music’s myriad changes of mood admirably – Christian Zacharias with the members of the Leipzig Quartet, for instance (MDG) – but none has been more innately musical than this one. Altogether, an enterprising and enjoyable disc. Misha Donat