‘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
3(II=picc.III=picc+afl).3.3(III=bcl).2.contraforte(or cbsn with low A) – 4(or 8).ptpt.3.3.1(contrabass if possible) – timp – perc(6): mar/vib/glsp/t.bells/crot/wood chimes/shell chimes/tam-t/BD – 2 harp – pno(=cel) – strings
Score 0571536824 on sale, parts for hire
For the video installation, please contact the Hire Library for a referral to the video artist
Thomas Adès' new work is scored for orchestra including groups of brass instruments which may be isolated from the stage. These instruments always play in canon, once in each of the three sections of the piece, entering in order from the highest (trumpets) to the lowest (bass tuba). Their melody, like all the music in this work, is derived from a magnetic series, a musical device heard here for the first time, in which all twelve notes are gradually presented, but persistently return to an anchoring pitch, as if magnetised. With the first appearance of the twelfth note, marked clearly with the first entrance of the timpani, the poles are reversed. At the start of the third and final section a third pole is discovered which establishes a stable equilibrium with the first.
The piece is named for Polaris, the North Star, or Pole Star, around which the other stars appear to rotate as if it were itself a magnetic pole, and which has since ancient times been used by seafarers as a navigational tool.
Polaris - Voyage for orchestra was composed for the opening of the New World Symphony's new hall at Miami Beach, Florida, designed by Frank Gehry, and the first performance took place on January 26, 2011 under the baton of Michael Tilson Thomas.
© Philip Jones, 2010