ALBUM TITLE: Adès
WORKS: Nancarrow Studies Nos 6 & 7; In Seven Days; plus DVD extra: Thomas Adès and Tal Rosner in conversation
PERFORMER: Nicholas Hodges, Thomas Adès, Rolf Hind (piano); London Sinfonietta/Thomas Adès
CATALOGUE NO: Signum SIGCD 277
It is hard to imagine a closer collaboration. The music and visuals for the 2008 ‘video-ballet’ In Seven Days were created in tandem, each feeding off the other with Adès and his partner, video artist Tal Rosner, incrementally building the work a few seconds at a time. As is his usual practice, Rosner creates striking, meaningful abstractions from small details in photographs. The images are projected in six screens along with the live music, in which a piano soloist fights with a wind-dominated chamber orchestra to try to make this a concerto.
As the title suggests, it is inspired by the opening of the Bible’s Book of Genesis, and is in seven parts, which generally become progressively shorter. This is essentially a set of variations, though the theme is clearest in the final ‘Contemplation’. There are moments of calm, but much of this music captures an intense beauty through finely wrought ideas, Adès throwing up whirligig post-minimalist textures without ever losing a sense of lucidity. As well as making for a compelling spectacle on DVD, the performance is also effective as an independent CD in this combined set. Nicholas Hodges is wonderfully incisive, and the London Sinfonietta is on sterling form, while the two Nancarrow Studies, also with visuals, make an adroit filler.