Magazine article Gramophone

Ades: Arcadiana, Op 12

Magazine article Gramophone

Ades: Arcadiana, Op 12

Article excerpt


Arcadiana, Op 12. The Four Quarters, Op 28.

Piano Quintet (a)

(a) Dimitri Vassilakis pf Doelen Kwartet Rotterdam

Cybele (F) [SACD] 261603 (58' * DDD/DSD)

Ades's first string quartet, Arcadiana (1994), was premiered a year before Powder Her Face. That this is its sixth recording since then (by my count) shows just how successful it is in fusing contemporary sonority, formal familiarity and imaginative depth. The Dutch DoelenKwartet present the work as a journey, with beginning, middle and end. Over seven brief movements a range of maritime emotional states, breezy to brooding, reminiscing to remonstrating, pass by. Emerging from glistening harmonics, the quiet monophonic conclusion of the anti-finale, 'Lethe', is full of pathos; the Elgar-alluding 'O Albion' movement, though, can't be saved from a certain over-sentimentality.

In the Piano Quintet (2000) episodic contrast is eschewed for the development of two contrasting themes in a continuous sonata texture. Despite the traditional starting point, there is nothing academic or furrow-browed here. Lively, tuneful, at times ironic and extravagant--is there a dash of Gerald Barry in the obsessive scalar repetitions, abrupt contrasts and wrangled tonality? …

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