As a celebration of its long-standing collaboration with the composer-conductor, London Symphony Orchestra’s more recent online event, ‘Thomas Adès 50th Birthday Concert’ was released online on the evening of 28 March. The concert pairs Sibelius’ Symphony No.6 with Adès’ virtuosic piano and orchestra work In Seven Days; the composer conducting the LSO. The soloist leading the audience through this retelling of the creation story was Kirill Gerstein, a great champion of Adès’ piano music; having performed this work 15 times to date, and for whom the Concerto for Piano and Orchestra was written.
The concert is available to view online for the next 90 days.
In an online interview in 2020, Adès recounts to Gerstein the genesis of the pivotal chords in In Seven Days that were abstracted from his opera The Tempest:
“I knew they should be heard only on four solo violins – which is what happens at the end of In Seven Days – but in order to make that moment real, you know, in music, I had to write this whole structure too. So it would be like for example a particular shaped window, or a particular coloured stained glass window in a building, in a cathedral: you can’t just have that window on its own, it wouldn’t make any sense. You have to build the whole cathedral just to put it in and it shows up at the end… [the chords are] used as variations, sometimes just presented and sometimes with the refraction technique that we mention. In another place I actually turn it into a sort of big chaconne by unspooling it as a series…”
The interview can be viewed in full on Kirill Gerstein’s Youtube channel.
Gerstein was also a part of Deutsche Grammophon’s World Piano Day livestreamed event on 28 March, where he performed Adès’ Berceuse from The Exterminating Angel.