Thomas Adès: Tevot, Violin Concerto etc; Stravinsky: Complete music for violin and piano

Thomas Adès
Tevot, Violin Concerto etc
Simon Rattle, Anthony Marwood
EMI

Stravinsky
Complete music for violin and piano
Anthony Marwood, Thomas Adès
Hyperion (2 CDs)

Tevot (2007), written for the Berlin Philharmonic, is Adès’s largest orchestral work. It shows a Sibelian mastery of development and transition – even when the harmonic material is, like Sibelius, relatively conservative and the melodic content reminiscent of 20th century neo-romantics.

Like a latter-day symphonist, Adès takes the listener on a vivid sonic journey, juxtaposing tensile motifs on woodwinds, strings and percussion with constantly moving, seductively textured blocks of sound.

Tevot sounds more traditional on CD than when Rattle brought it to London soon after its premiere, but it works on its own terms and this live recording finds the Berliners in scintillating form. It is paired with three other recent works: the classically conceived Violin Concerto in an exquisite performance by Marwood and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, conducted by Adès; Three Studies from Couperin, a cheeky pastiche à la manière de Ravel; and three orchestral extracts from Adès’s wicked chamber opera Powder Her Face.

Adès and Marwood join forces again for a double-album of Stravinsky’s neo-classical oeuvre for violin and piano – an enjoyable romp through music the Russian émigré composer wrote for his American tours with Samuel Dushkin, mostly arrangements of his own ballet music.

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