Thomas Adès returned to the LAPhil on Saturday. When the whole thing was over not a whole lot of people were standing while he was taking his bow after a glorious concluding piece called "Tevot," and I turned to JW and said, "I'm standing for my Thomas!"
So I was pleased to see him on the front page of today's Calendar section this morning, especially with that intense composer photo up there.
However, I don't know what is so scandalous about a single utterance of the word "fuck" over the course of a 20-minute piece of music that Mark Swed feels the need to devote the opening paragraph of his review to it:
What Thomas Adès believes the people in America, moving as if in a dream state, were once weak from, besides drink, I cannot repeat in a family newspaper. We don’t print such words, even though this off-color one was taken from an ancient Maya text that was included in Adès’ “America: A Prophecy.” The work for mezzo-soprano, chorus and orchestra was given its West Coast premiere by the Los Angeles Philharmonic at Walt Disney Concert Hall on Friday. It was an adult evening.The rest of his review is quite nice, although he does note this about the piece:
Adès is normally greeted at Disney with enthusiasm, as a favorite composer. He wasn’t this time, but there were no boos of protest either, just somber, muffled applause.I personally was pretty devastated by "America: A Prophecy," especially in light the past weekend. The piece is rather dark and confrontational, with text about cities burning in ash; walking out into the lobby for intermssion and smelling smoke made the experience all the more unsettling. Gripping stuff, though. I'm rarely so moved by the symphony as I was during much of it.
And the new piece, "Tevot," is just so lovely. Adès prefaced it quite sweetly by talking about the planet as a sort of Ark navigating us through the chaos, and then wishing us safe journeys to our own destinations.
My Thomas, he's just so thoughtful!