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Thomas Adès / Paul Stanhope

Markus Stenz

Orchestral Music - Polaris & Piccolo Concerto

€ 19.95
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  • Type CD
  • Label ABC Classics
  • UPC 0028948108626
  • Catalog number ABC 4810862
  • Release date 20 June 2014

About the album

First performed in 2011 this is the second commercial recording of Thomas Adès’ Polaris (and the Australian Premiere recording). As Adès explains Polaris ‘explores the use of star constellations for navigation across the oceans, and the emotional navigation between the absent sailors and what they leave behind.’ The music is derived from a magnetic series, a musical device created by Adès and deployed here for the first time: all the notes of the scale are gradually presented, but persistently return home to an anchoring pitch, as if magnetised. Conducted by Markus Stenz there is wonderful interplay between brass and the orchestra and in his hands Adès’ inventive use of harmony and orchestral colour is beautifully realised.  

As the coupling, the world premiere recording of Australian composer Paul Stanhope's Piccolo Concerto. Paul is an emerging Australian composer and was awarded the Charles Mackerras Scholarship continuing his studies at the Guildhall School of Music in London. In 2004 Paul was awarded first place in the prestigious Toru Takemitsu Composition Prize. He has had performances of his works in UK, Europe, Japan and North America.

The genesis of the piccolo concerto began in 2011 in a conversation between composer and soloist on this recording Andrew Macleod. The concerto has two movements. The first movement explores in music the theme of compassion in the face of hostility drawn from the hymn tune Love Unknown by John Ireland; the second is a wild, high-spirited dance celebrating the speed of the information age. With conductor Benjamin Northey and piccolo soloist Andrew Macleod, the performance resulted in an electrifying night in Melbourne’s Hamer Hall, and ABC Classics is thrilled to make it available for release.

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This is currently the only commerical recording of it. That in itself is a recommendation but the playing under Markus Stenz is also thoroughly attuned to the constellation of sound that Ades conjures up in a score that pits powerful utterances against a fluid backdrop of feverish instrumental activity and shifting patterns of sonority.