New in Classical Choices
Thomas Adès (b.1971)
Simon Rattle, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Thomas Adès is one of several classical composers whose work I admire, while freely admitting that it’s a long way from anything that I could do. But, as I’ve written elsewhere, composing in a jazz context demands very different skills… As, I’m told, the Greek painter Apelles said in the fourth century ‘A cobbler should stick to his last’.
… The American music critic Richard Taruskin made much of the influence of art on Adès. He describes the work as “painterly” rather than “narrative” in the way it achieves atmosphere and meaning through “outlandish juxtapositions of evocative sound-objects that hover, shimmering, or dreamily revolve, in a seemingly motionless sonic emulsion. I know of no other music quite like it in these defining respects, but many paintings, by Dalí, De Chirico, Magritte. Mr Adès himself seems to ‘see’ his music rather than hear it.”
From an interview with Thomas Adès in The Guardian
Thomas Adès at Amazon.com
Thomas Adès at Amazon.co.uk
Allan Pettersson (1911-1980)
The sixteen symphonies
They’re all worth listening to (and are now available ina 12 CD box set), but I particularly like numbers 5, 6 and 9, as well as the ravishing Violin Concerto No. 2.
Let’s take Allan Pettersson. He is an awkward composer in the good sense of the term; not a composer that would be under control until it gets too perfect: he does not care if something does not work completely fine. Part of his music is very, very difficult to listen; and suddenly, something happens, exactly when you were not expecting any more: “Wow !”
Keith Jarrett (from Le Monde, August 2005)
Bob Auger (1928-1998) was an outstanding sound engineer who worked with most of the great conductors and orchestras. During the 1970s, a period when he recorded several of my albums, he called me and said I should listen to Allan Pettersson, Radio Three’s Composer of the Week. ‘I think you’ll like him. I see some connection between what he does and what you are doing.’
I must admit that I had never heard of him before, even though, as conductor Gerd Albrecht says on the first page of Choices, he had been ‘spewing forth symphony after symphony’ for many years. Since then he’s been a very important – but never easy - part of my listening pleasure. As classical.net says ‘Although his music has been labeled “pessimistic”, it is inherently hopeful and consolatory – we come away exhausted but enlightened’. And, as the quote above from Keith Jarrett implies, some of it is very difficult to listen to. But the rewards are great. Not only for the sheer excitement and power that a symphony orchestra can offer, but for the ‘wow’ moments of sheer delicacy and beauty.
I’ve often wondered what Bob Auger saw as the connection between my music and Pettersson’s, and why I like him so much. His music is very different from what I do – but that could be the reason. It’s simply a case of admiring the craft and art – as one does a painting or a novel – and realising that’s ‘all’ it is. The fact that we both use music is a coincidence, which one can also say about, say, Mark Murphy, or, indeed, Randy Newman.
Allan Pettersson at Amazon.com
Allan Pettersson at Amazon.co.uk
Little has been written about him but, somewhat surprisingly perhaps, he has a Facebook page and some clips can also be found on YouTube