Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

Music Webmaster
Len Mullenger:

(b.1932) Come io passo l'estate.
Edvard GRIEG
(1843-1907) Slåtter, Op. 72 - No. 14, the Goblins' Bridal Procession at Vossevangen; No. 15, The Skudal Bride; No. 10, Knut Lurasens halling.
Alexey STANCHINSKY (b. 1926) Canon a 4 voci. Piano Sonata No. 2 in G.
(b. 1926) Jatékok - Les Adieux in Janácek's Manner; The mad girl with the flaxen hair; Keringö; Hommage à Nancy Sinatra; Hommage à Csajkovszkij.
(1854-1928) Intimate Sketches - No. 8, I await you!; Tears; Im memory of a just person; Preludium; Korál.
Ferruccio BUSONI
(1866-1924) Sonatina ad usum infantis (Sonatine No. 3)
(1882-1971) Souvenir d'une marche boche. Valse pour les enfants. Piano-Rag-Music.
(1912-97) Three Canons for Ursula.

Thomas Adès (piano).
EMI CDC5 57051-2 [72'01] [DDD]


Perhaps because of his success as a precociously talented young composer, Thomas Adès the pianist has received less coverage. However, performances of his own Concerto conciso (written very much for himself as soloist) have left no doubt as to his prowess.

It is fitting that for this solo album Adès has put forward an alternative survey of twentieth century piano music. I nearly burst into applause when I saw that Grieg's Slåtter, Op. 72 is represented by three excerpts. These pieces have remained stubbornly under-recorded in the catalogue, presumably because they are several light years away from the cosier world of the Lyric Pieces. Adès can therefore be unapologetically earthy in both The Skudal Bride and in the bagpipe-like drones of Knut Luråsen's halling (the latter a well-chosen end to the selection).

Castiglioni's Come io passo l'estate belongs firmly with the genre of children's pieces whose domain lies with adults. The ten movements are a travel diary from the Italian Alps and manage to encompass both schmaltz and pointillism.

Alexey Stanchinsky is represented by two pieces. The Canon a 4 voci is pianissimo, concentrated and inward-looking: an ideal contrast to the Grieg that preceded it. The Second Piano Sonata uses the tonality of G at arrival points. Its first movement, 'Fuga', is particularly impressive, emerging as an organ-like processional.

Excerpts from Janacek's Jatékók ('Games') build on familiar models, most clearly The mad girl with the flaxen hair (obsessive repetitions of Debussian motives) and Hommage à Csajkovszkij, in which the opening of the First Piano Concerto is transmogrified into insane clusters and mad glissandi. At the other end of the scale, the excerpts from Janácek's Intimate Sketches show the more internalised side of Adès. I await you is left tantalisingly hanging in mid-phrase and the final Chorale is distorted through a twentieth century mirror.

The Busoni shows Adès able to project the composer's intended atmospheres perfectly: The Andante melancolico is just that. Adès lets his hair down in the Stravinsky pieces, but opts to close the disc with Nancarrow's Three Canons for Ursula. If you can forget the maths of it all, these pieces can take on an otherworldly aspect that is well projected in this performance.

A thought-provoking selection, intelligently chosen, finely recorded (in Potton Hall) and played with the utmost advocacy.


Colin Clarke



Reviews from previous months

You can purchase CDs, tickets and musician's accessories and Save around 22% with these retailers : - The UK's Biggest Video Store

Concert and Show tickets


Musicians accessories

Click here to visit

Return to Index