'Polaris' reviews

‘I’ve written the piece so that members of the brass have these big, mobile phrases that are played over everything else.  It’s very much built to show off the space, so you can hear the hall to its fullest advantage.’
The Miami Herald (Thomas Ades), 23, January 2011
‘Almost everything in the piece comes out of a haunting little tune and reflections of it…but there’s a kind of very poetic quality about this initially, before it goes layer by layer into some pretty wild places.’
The Miami Herald (Greg Stepanich) 23 January 2011
‘The title refers to the North Star, or Pole Star, around which other stars appear to rotate.  For this 15-minute score Mr. Adès has devised an elusive melody that is played in canon by groups of brass instruments in alcoves and on balconies around the hall.  All 12 pitches are used, but the notes keep circling back to a magnetic main pitch.  While this almost ancient-sounding musical element unfolds, the rest of the orchestra plays murky riffs and skittish passages that evoke watery, gurgling patterns, in drips and droplets.
Mr. Rosner’s film, projected on the various sail-like surfaces, explores themes of navigation and separation by depicting two young women who wait on rocky cliffs and wander sandy beaches, looking to the sea, wondering about the sailors who have left them ashore.
Mr. Thomas drew a colorful and commanding performance from the players.  One exploding orchestral climax was like a Big Bang, scattering motifs into shards of notes to reveal a lumbering, elemental bass line that gravitationally pulls the music back to earth.’
The New York Times (Anthony Tommasini), 27 January 2011

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