Hyperion Records

Lieux retrouvés
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Lieux retrouvés—what can one say about this extraordinary work? Not only can Adès’s work as a whole not be categorized, even this piece cannot be pigeon-holed in any way. He takes influences from everywhere—from Liszt, Janácek, Fauré and Kurtág, from Offenbach, from jazz, from the French baroque, even from minimalism—and creates his own individual language within this one composition. The opening depicts the calm of still water—water that then muddies and swirls before again relaxing and expanding into a crashing wave. The second movement portrays mountaineers as well as mountains, their footsteps crunching on the paths. The movement functions as a scherzo, with a trio section representing particularly hardy climbers, yodelling as they trudge. I was a bit worried by the dramatic end of this movement, concerned that a mountaineer had fallen off the mountain; but I was reassured to learn that it represented merely the defiant planting of a flag. The slow movement takes us to a peaceful field at night, the animals at rest, their breath rising to heaven (rather riskily represented by the highest notes I’ve ever had to play lyrically). The finale is best described by its subtitle, ‘Cancan macabre’; all brilliant lights, flirtatious naughtiness and grotesque over-excitement. ‘A romp’, as the composer innocently described it before he dared send me the music …

from notes by Steven Isserlis © 2012

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