Thomas Adès

We went to Thomas Adès’s 50th. birthday concert at the Barbican, starting and ending with Beethoven, with two great works by Sibelius and Janáček and two by Adès himself, one a new work based on a sea shanty and one an older work written when he was twenty-six, described by the chief violinist of the Britten Sinfonia as both disciplined and bonkers. It made me look up the picture which the NPG commissioned, when he was only thirty one, the first of a series of portraits paid for by the Jerwood Foundation to show young talent. It was rather a brilliant portrait, showing him in a buttoned-up white cotton suit, twisted up on an old leather chair with an empty wine glass by his feet. Of course, the hall was half empty because of the requirement for social distancing, but this didn’t diminish the intensity of the occasion and the sense of normal life beginning to resume, like sleepwalkers after a long intermission.


One thought on “Thomas Adès

  1. joan says:

    Extremely jealous in this house. I’m hoping that there will soon be a recording of his short piece Dawn which was premiered at the 2020 Proms. Love the portrait – and the biography of the painter. I’m surprised that Ades is 50. I suppose that because he is always portrayed as a young composer I think of him (and the decade older Mark-Anthony Turnage) as forever considerably younger than the 57 year old me!

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