Thomas Adès’ new Piano Concerto breaks all records!

Thomas Adès leads Kirill Gerstein and the BSO in the world premiere of his Concerto for Piano and Orchestra (Winslow Townson).jpg

As the international journey of the Adès Piano Concerto touches on an amazing total of 50 performances (either performed or booked within the first year of its premiere in March 2019), it is worth pausing a moment to comment on this unprecedented success. The dates run from March 2019 to February 2022 and include the capital cities of London, Helsinki, Amsterdam, Stockholm, Dublin, Vienna, Paris, Brussels, Rome and Madrid as well as other major centres of excellence such as Boston, Leipzig, Cleveland, Chicago, Munich, Los Angeles, Hamburg and New York.

 

The speed at which these performances have been booked gives credit to the unusual partnership between Kirill Gerstein and the composer, who was commissioned by the Boston Symphony at the instigation of Gerstein, and who is the pianist in all of the planned performances to date!  The energy, commitment and artistry with which he approached the totally engaging  originality and bravado of the piece, have caused orchestras from around the world to sign it up!  We are delighted to announce the release of the recording from DG which is scheduled for release early in April 2020.

 

Below are a few of the plaudits the Concerto has attracted – Faber Music is delighted to celebrate the fact that a phenomenal new work can reap the rewards it deserves:

 

It is not unusual to find today’s composers mining the music of the past, but nobody does it with the panache or originality of Adès. Financial Times

 

As ever, the craft is astounding, the orchestration ceaselessly brilliant. The voice is wholly his own — dissonant, offbeat, whiplash, wry — even as it whispers to musics past…This breathless, 20-minute concerto, structured in three essentially traditional movements (fast, slow, fast), comes across as zesty and accessible. But don’t be fooled. Just below the surface, the music sizzles with modernist harmonies, fractured phrases, gaggles of counterpoint and lyrical strands that keep breaking into skittish bits. The finale is a riotous, clattering, assaultive romp. I can’t wait to hear it again. New York Times

 

As Kirill Gerstein and the London Philharmonic sprinted to the end of the zanily cartoonish finale, I heard amazed gasps and even a shout of “Wow!” The last time I witnessed that sort of instantaneous rave response to piano music in the Festival Hall was when Vladimir Horowitz played Chopin…..I think it’s more a statement of enormous confidence in the ability of 21st-century music to inhabit the same contours as the great concertos of the past, yet still draw us into fresh and surprising vistas. The Times

 

The ecstatic response of the audience suggests that – provided pianists can be found with Gerstein’s authority – this vividly original work may have a prosperous life to come. Independent

 

But at its heart, this stirring and complex score conveys an almost romantic sense of tension and release— the demanding solo writing and long-coming resolve recall Rachmaninoff’s much lusher concertos. The effect is mesmerizing, and the Concerto for Piano and Orchestra stands as Adès’ greatest achievement to date. Boston Classical Review

 

The unanimous enthusiasm of the Leipzig audience proved that this fantastic concerto will quickly come on the program list of other orchestras. Bachtrack

 

Cast in three movements and lasting twenty two minutes, the Concerto for Piano and Orchestra bears family resemblance with the great 20th century concertos of Ravel, Prokofiev and Bartók. Yet, on a musical level, it is pure, 21st century Adès, with the composer on the very top of his game.
Adventures in Music

 

New piano concertos usually come to unhappy ends, receiving only a few performances before being forgotten [...] But there's a good chance that the new piano concerto by Thomas Adès will join the list of exceptions.
International Piano

 

Photo: Thomas Adès, Kirill Gerstein, and the Boston Symphony Orchestra © Winslow Townson