One might offer various explanations for why the music of Thomas Adès became so consistently popular in the late 2010s, but one is certainly that he found a really sympathetic interpreter in pianist Kirill Gerstein. Accordingly, this group of new Adès pieces (the Concert Paraphrase on Powder Her Face is a world premiere) featuring Gerstein would be a good place to start with the composer. Gerstein gets the peculiar combination of modern unease in Adès' music with the characteristic forms of the 19th century: here berceuse, mazurka, and the most antiquated of all, the concert paraphrase. These are without exception fine examples of Adès' rhythmic tension, and the set of three mazurkas, fully observant of that dance's rhythm but fully of the present day, make up an excellent slice of the composer's aesthetic. In Seven Days -- it is the seven days of Creation that are referred to and quite evocatively depicted -- the piano provides washes of color. The work is not a piano concerto, but an orchestral work with a piano part, and Gerstein scales back his intensity accordingly. Adès himself is the conductor in this lovely live performance from the Tanglewood Festival in Massachusetts. A thoroughly absorbing release for anyone from total newcomers to Adès to those who have followed him from the start.
AllMusic Review by James Manheim
|Concert Paraphrase on "Powder Her Face" for Two Pianos|
|Mazurkas for Piano|
|In Seven Days for Piano and Orchestra|