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BSO's 'Adès Conducts Adès' CD Nominated For Three Grammys

The album consists of world-premiere recordings made live at Symphony Hall.

BSO's 'Adès Conducts Adès' CD Nominated For Three Grammys

The Boston Symphony Orchestra's latest recording on the Deutsche Grammophon label, Adès Conducts Adès, garnered three Grammy nominations earlier today: for Best Classical Instrumental Solo, Best Classical Compendium, and Best Contemporary Classical Composition.

The album, which released on February 28, 2020, consists of world-premiere recordings made live at Symphony Hall of Thomas Adès' Concerto for Piano and Orchestra (performed in 2019) and Totentanz (2016), featuring pianist Kirill Gerstein, mezzo-soprano Christianne Stotijn, baritone Mark Stone, and the Boston Symphony Orchestra under the composer's direction. The 63rd Annual Grammy Awards will take place on Sunday, January 31, at 8 p.m. ET.

Selected by The New York Times as one of the Best Classical Music Premieres of 2019 and hailed by critics worldwide, Thomas Adès' Concerto for Piano and Orchestra entered the concert repertoire within months of its first performance and is fast approaching a tally of 50 performances. The work's first performance, given at Boston's Symphony Hall under the composer's direction on March 7, 2019, was lauded by The Boston Globe for "claiming a place in a centuries-long lineage of fast-slow-fast concertos in three movements."

The Concerto for Piano and Orchestra was commissioned for Kirill Gerstein by the Boston Symphony Orchestra, of which Thomas Adès has been the Deborah and Philip Edmundson Artistic Partner since the 2016-17 season. The piece was inspired directly by the virtuosity and majestic musicianship of the composer's friend and piano duo partner Gerstein. He proposed that Adès should consider writing a piano concerto while they were preparing performances of the latter's In Seven Days with the BSO in 2012.

"I don't think we have had such a piano concerto in the literature since Prokofiev and Ravel," Gerstein noted in an interview with Gramophone magazine. "I really think it's a masterpiece. It's quite concise. It does what a piano concerto should do-it has octaves, a cadenza, a slow movement of gravitas. He references the traditional models, but you never think he is doing something derivative."

Tradition also played its part in Totentanz, an all-encompassing dialogue with Death for two soloists and vast symphonic forces. Adès took the work's text from the anonymous verse attached to a 15th-century cloth frieze by German artist Bernt Notke (c. 1435-c. 1509) in Lübeck's Marienkirche. The composer conducted the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Christianne Stotijn, and baritone Simon Keenlyside in the work's world premiere at the Royal Albert Hall on July 17, 2013. He chose Totentanz to launch his tenure three years later as the Boston Symphony Orchestra's Deborah and Philip Edmundson Artistic Partner, a post specially created for him. "I am delighted to be joining the BSO family of musicians and colleagues and to embark on this particular artistic adventure," said Adès at the time. "From my first rehearsal with this amazing orchestra-almost exactly five years ago-I knew that we shared a musical wavelength, and in our subsequent meetings I've been gratified to sense the relationship deepening each time."

The recording Adès Conducts Adès was produced and engineered by Nick Squire with the help of assistant engineer Joel Watts and production assistant Brian Losch. Tim Martyn of Phoenix Audio was mastering engineer and the executive producer was Sid McLauchlan from Deutsche Grammophon.

During the past five years, the BSO has garnered a total of four Grammy Awards for its acclaimed DG Shostakovich cycle, led by Music Director Andris Nelsons, and a total of 11 Grammy Awards during its distinguished history.

Adès Recording Project Supported by the Mark M. Horblit "Merit Award"
The Boston Symphony Orchestra has presented Thomas Adès with the Mark M. Horblit "Merit Award" for distinguished composition. The award was created in 1947 by the late Boston attorney Mark M. Horblit to, in his own words, "foster and promote the writing of symphonic compositions ... in recognition of meritorious work in that field." Mr. Adès is the 23rd recipient of the award, which includes a cash prize of $5,000.

The Horblit Award was first presented to Aaron Copland in 1947, and most recently to John Harbison in 2013. Other recipients have included Walter Piston (1948), Leonard Bernstein (1949), Lukas Foss (1952), Gunther Schuller (1966), Roger Sessions (1977), Earl Kim (1983), Leon Kirchner (1985), Donald Martino (1987), Elliott Carter (1988 and 2007), Ned Rorem (1992), and John Corigliano (1993).

As part of the award, the BSO is supporting the release of two albums of Mr. Adès' music-the Deutsche Grammophon CD with the BSO and a CD on the myrios classics label that includes In Seven Days with Kirill Gerstein as piano soloist and the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra, conducted by the composer. The second CD, which was released in late May, also includes solo Adès piano works (performed by Mr. Gerstein) and Adès' Concert Paraphrase on Powder Her Face for two pianos (with Gerstein and Adès). The solo and two-piano works were recorded in Symphony Hall.

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