THOMAS ADÈS (b.1971): Polaris - Voyage for Orchestra, PAUL STANHOPE (b.1969): Concerto for Piccolo and Orchestra.
Catalogue Number: 10Q087
Label: ABC Classics
Reference: 481 0862
Description: The impressive quarter-hour tone poem Polaris is typical of the direction in which Ades' music has been moving in recent years; predominantly tonal, with a penchant for big statements accompanied by a sense of irresistible motoric momentum, derived from a kind of post-minimal progression of small, active motifs. The thematic material is derived from what the composer describes as a 'magnetic series', meaning a series based around a 'magnetic' tonal center, which anchors the harmony and alogether avoids the abstraction of traditional dodecaphony. The title refers to celestial navigation, and the canonically presented themes form slow chorales of considerable grandeur and sense of scale. Stanhope's 20-minute concerto matches the character of the solo instrument with lively, effervescent music of irresistible buoyancy and lightness of texture. The first movement derives its material from a hymn tune by John Ireland, explored in freely embellished variations, ranging from dancelike to wistfully lyrical. The second is a jaunty, energetic scherzo in two parts, separated by an extended, exuberant cadenza. Andrew Macleod (piccolo), Melbourne Symphony Orchestra; Markus Stenz, Benjamin Northey (Stanhope).