'Earth-shaking exuberance' The Financial Times
Just months after the critically acclaimed release of Adès conducts Adès on Deutsche Grammophon, which included Kirill Gerstein in the premiere recording of the Concerto for Piano and Orchestra, the pianist's decade-long relationship with Adès is further reflected in a new release from myrios classics.
Gerstein’s disc features premiere recordings of Adès’ Berceuse from The Exterminating Angel and the duo version of the Concert Paraphrase on Powder Her Face, as well as the three Mazurkas for solo piano and a live recording of In Seven Days for piano and orchestra, with Adès conducting the Tanglewood Music Centre Orchestra in 2018. More details of the disc can be found here.
June also saw the release of the fourth commercial recording of Adès’ Violin Concerto ‘Concentric Paths’, with Pekka Kuusisto and the Aurora Orchestra conducted by Nicholas Collon. Featured on Music of the Spheres, the orchestra’s debut album for Deutsche Grammophon, this is a vital account of a work that has already found a place in the repertoire, and Kuusisto's fresh, radical reading is full of febrile energy and insight.
Furthermore, two recent discs from the Signum label showcase Adès the conductor and pianist: the first instalment of his series with Britten Sinfonia, which pair Beethoven Symphonies with the music of Gerald Barry, was released in April, while a disc of Janáček’s solo piano music – described as ‘an illuminating release’ by Gramophone Magazine – was released in May.
‘How often is it that a piano disc comes along consisting entirely of new music as technically exhilarating in its modern way as any disc of Chopin or Liszt? There is life in the virtuoso concert pianist yet… Gerstein is a virtuoso and his brilliance pays dividends here. Even the arrangement for piano of the seductive Berceuse from The Exterminating Angel ends by summoning all the strange, destructive power of the orchestra in the opera house. The three solo Mazurkas are also showpieces of a more subtle, shimmering kind. The dance rhythms continue with the Concert Paraphrase on Powder her Face in the glittering version for two pianos. High society dances and tangos thread their way through four scenes from the opera and Gerstein is joined by the composer in a display of virtuosity squared. The main work is In Seven Days… It has been recorded before, but this live performance with the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra has Gerstein scintillating at the piano and Adès himself as conductor. The story of the seven days of creation has never been told in music of more earth-shaking exuberance.'
The Financial Times (Richard Fairman) 19 June 2020