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.
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