About this Performance: Composer/pianist/conductor Thomas Adès crowns a provocative program with his macabre “dance of death” for two singers and orchestra, “his longest, most ambitious and most astounding orchestral composition yet.” (The New York Times)
Totentanz has its origins in a 15th-century German frieze (destroyed in WWII) depicting death as a skeleton who dances a series of people, from the most exalted to the most innocent, to their ultimate fate. In addition to the images, the frieze included a poem describing this morbid dance, and those words became the text that Adès set for mezzo-soprano and baritone, the latter always giving voice to the Grim Reaper. This ambitious work gives us “a glimpse of the future of symphonic music,” according to New York magazine.
For this evening, Adès as conductor has programmed two works that refer to death, as well as his 2009 cello work Lieux retrouvés, with a new orchestral accompaniment.
Program: SIBELIUS: The Bard(c. 6 minutes) SAINT-SAËNS: Danse macabre(c. 8 minutes) ADÈS: Lieux Retrouvés (U.S. premiere, LA Phil commission with generous support from Raulee Marcus, Stephen Block, and Robert Braun and Joan Friedman (c. 17 minutes) Intermission ADÈS: Totentanz (West Coast Premiere) (c. 35 minutes)
Artists: Los Angeles Philharmonic Thomas Adès, conductor Steven Isserlis, cello Simon Keenlyside, baritone Christianne Stotijn, mezzo-soprano