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Living Toys for chamber ensemble by THOMAS ADÈS (England, 1971)

[#66] October 26, 2020

1993 | Chamber ensemble | Grade 6 | 15’-20’ | Contemporary, chamber music

British composer, pianist and conductor Thomas Adès

Living Toys by British composer, pianist and conductor Thomas Adès (London, 1971) is our Composition of the Week.

Written in 1993, at Adès composition career’s beginnings, Living Toy uses a chamber ensemble of 14 players. The work was commissioned by the Arts Council of Great Britain for the London Sinfonietta. The premiere took place at the Barbican Hall, London, on February 11, 1994, under the celebrated composer and conductor Oliver Knussen.

Living Toy is divided in five uninterrupted sections and has duration of around 17 minutes. Its detailed instrumentation is:

1(picc).1(English horn, sopranino recorder)1(EbCl, BassCl)1(DoubleBsn)/1(whip)1(picc.Trp)1.0. Percussion (1).Piano.Vn(2)Vla.Vc.Db

Thomas Adès works regularly with the world’s leading orchestras, opera companies and festivals, as a guest composer and conductor. He also pursues his career as a concert pianist and collaborates with many established soloists around the world.

His compositions include orchestral music, chamber music as well as three operas: the most recent of which The Exterminating Angel premiered at the 2016 Salzburg Festival and subsequently has been performed at the Metropolitan Opera, New York and the Royal Opera House, London all conducted by the composer.

His orchestral works include Asyla (1997), Tevot (2007), Polaris (2011), Violin Concerto Concentric Paths (2005), In Seven Days (2008), Totentanz for mezzo-soprano, baritone, and orchestra (2013), and Concerto for Piano and Orchestra (2019).

His catalogue also includes numerous celebrated solo, chamber, vocal as well as film music works.


More on Thomas Adès


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