I first heard Thomas Adès's Living Toys a few years ago. I borrowed the CD it's on from a friend and gave it a couple of listens. I liked the music on it, but didn't buy the CD or investigate Adès's other works.
This year, I've heard two of his pieces live, the astonishing Chamber Symphony, Op. 1, and, this past weekend at Cabrillo, Concentric Paths, his violin concerto. I also bought the CD America: A Prophecy.
My, oh, my. Here we have one of the great living composers, and he seems always to have been that way. He wrote the Chamber Symphony at 19, and it is as assured and brilliant as anything Mozart and Mendelssohn were doing at that age. I am more sorry than ever that family issues kept me from Santa Fe Opera last year, where his opera The Tempest was performed.
Well down in the program notes from Cabrillo I found that the world premiere of Concentric Paths was conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas. I hope he'll bring it to the San Francisco Symphony, but his big musical event of the coming year is a Brahms festival. The interesting premieres are mostly in the hands of guest or associate conductors.