Thomas Adès / Calder Quartet

The Twenty-Fifth Hour: The Chamber Music of Thomas Adès

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The music of British composer Thomas Adès continues to gain popularity and is making inroads in both continental Europe and the U.S., as evidenced by this fine recording from the Calder Quartet of Los Angeles that comes with the imprimatur of Adès' presence on the piano part of the three-movement Piano Quintet of 2001. That, of course, doesn't guarantee a good performance, and that work is the least transparent of the three. But in general, even if Adès first made a splash with opera, chamber music makes a good introduction to this fast-rising composer whose music is both dense and accessible. Check out Arcadiana, a 1993 work that has been performed by various ensembles, and appreciate the way it derives mythological scenes from permutations of the same basic thematic material, combining them with quotations of music from Mozart to Elgar. The album's title comes from the final movement of The Four Quarters, a work depicting parts of the day that was commissioned for the Emerson String Quartet, but here receives its world-premiere recording. Despite the rather chilly church acoustic, this is a fine pick for collectors of contemporary chamber music in the classic media.

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