While driving to a gig this evening, I decided to give 91.7 FM a second chance, the station which used to hypnotize its listeners with punk and lo-fi indie and mumbling DJs, but which tonight, now operating as a classical music station, was playing something just as interesting. Dense harmonies, spacious. Absolutely gorgeous stuff.

Because I am the embodiment of a frayed electrical cord, particularly when confronted with interesting new music, I immediately went to the KUHF website to view their playlists (at a stop light, of course). This musical elixir turned out to be the creation of a young British composer named Thomas Adès — the title, “Three Studies After Couperin.”

Adès has found that compositional sweet spot where modern complexity can coexist with beauty, not something one hears very often on classical music stations, since most are singularly obsessed with the creations of an era far removed from our own.

Thomas Adès also seems to be the new it composer, the peg on which today’s “art music” hangs its hat, at least according to the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and a few other far-from-insignificant rags. British, I already said that, but with a name like Adès it bears repeating, and at 40, already the subject of several retrospective concerts.

Naturally, in my post-gig tweak, I purchased a collection of his music. Listening to his violin concerto now (in three movements: Rings, Paths, Rounds). It’s a bit like waking up in the afterlife only to realize your new eternity is a prolonged acid trip where color and smell have merged, where Winnie the Poo is actually a Columbian warlord, and where gravity only works at half power (the afterlife has to conserve where it can). And yet, all of this seems perfectly normal for some reason.

Enough for now. Gute Nacht.

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