Thomas Adès: Asyla (Hardback) book cover

Thomas Adès: Asyla

By Edward Venn

© 2017 – Routledge

178 pages | 4 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9781409468844
pub: 2016-11-24
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781315098524
pub: 2017-05-12
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Thomas Adès (b. 1971) is an established international figure, both as composer and performer, with popular and critical acclaim and admiration from around the world. Edward Venn examines in depth one of Adès’s most significant works so far, his orchestral Asyla (1997). Its blend of virtuosic orchestral writing, allusions to various idioms, including rave music, and a musical rhetoric encompassing both high modernism and lush romanticism is always compelling and utterly representative of Adès’s distinctive compositional voice. The reception of Asyla since its premiere in 1997 by Sir Simon Rattle and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO) has been staggering. Instantly hailed as a classic, Asyla won the 1997 Royal Philharmonic Society Award for Large-Scale Composition. An internationally acclaimed recording made of the work was nominated for the 1999 Mercury Music Prize, and in 2000, Adès became the youngest composer (and only the third British composer) to win the Grawemeyer prize, for Asyla. Asyla is fast becoming a repertory item, rapidly gaining over one hundred performances: a rare distinction for a contemporary work.


"Edward Venn’s monograph provides the most thorough-going technical assessment Adès’s music has yet received." - Arnold Whittall, The Musical Times

Table of Contents

1. Thomas Adès in the 1990s 2. Towards Asyla (1990–97) 3. ‘Trying to Find Refuge’: The Symphonic Logic of the First Movement 4. ‘A Safe Place to go in Times of Trouble’ 5. ‘Ecstasio’: A ‘Freaky, Funky Rave’? 6. Asylum Gained? 7. Interpreting Asyla Epilogue:After Asyla

About the Author

Edward Venn is Associate Professor in Music at the University of Leeds and Critical Forum editor for Music Analysis. His research focuses on twentieth-century and contemporary music, and his first monograph, The Music of Hugh Wood, appeared in 2008. His research on Adès’s Asyla was supported by a Leverhulme Research Fellowship.

About the Series

Landmarks in Music Since 1950

Landmarks in Music Since 1950
Schoenberg's death in 1951 marked the end of an era which has been dominated by some of the most radical artistic re-thinking and innovation since the Renaissance. The second half of the century saw a new generation of composers, schooled at Darmstadt, Cologne, Paris, Cracow, Manchester and elsewhere, which began to make its mark on the development of European and world music. The revolutionary pulpit of Schoenberg had become the play-pen of Boulez and Stockhausen. This series of handbooks devoted to single seminal compositions or groups of works by important composers who have been active since 1950 fills a major gap in current music literature. Well-informed, focused commentaries that are more detailed than record notes, give readers an enhanced understanding and appreciation of some of the most significant musical achievements of the last half-century. Each handbook features: · A general introduction to the choice of work under discussion · Details of the commission and composition history · Contextual discussion of stylistic, generic and international influences and precedents · A description and analysis of the work · A survey of its reception · A bibliography and discography · CD recording

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
MUSIC / General