Thomas Adès by Thomas Adès
Full of Noises: Conversations with Tom Service

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Composer, conductor, and pianist, Thomas Adès is one of the most diversely talented musical figures of his generation. His music is performed by great opera companies, symphony orchestras, chamber groups, and music festivals throughout the world. But Adès has resisted public discussion of the creative process behind his musical compositions. Until now, the interior experience that has fired the spectrum of his work—from his first opera, Powder Her Face, to his masterpiece The Tempest and his acclaimed orchestral works Asyla and Tevot—has largely remained unexplained. Here, in spirited, intimate, and, at times, contentious conversations with the distinguished music critic Tom Service, Adès opens up about his work. “For Adès, whose literary and artistic sensibilities are nearly as refined and virtuosic as his musical instincts,” writes Service, “inhabiting the different territory of words rather than notes offers a chance to search out new creative correspondences, to open doors—a phrase he often uses—into new ways of thinking in and about music.”

The phrase “full of noises,” from Caliban’s speech in The Tempest, refers both to the sounds “swirling around” Adès’s head that are transmuted into music and to the vast array of his musical influences—from Sephardic folk music, to 1980s electronica, to Adès’s passion for Beethoven and Janáček and his equally visceral dislike of Wagner. It also suggests “the creative friction” essential to any authentic dialogue. As readers of these “wilfully brilliant” conversations will quickly discover, Thomas Adès: Full of Noises brings us into the “revelatory kaleidoscope” of Adès’s world.


About Thomas Adès

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Thomas Adès is widely considered the foremost composer of his generation. His first opera, Powder Her Face, has been produced throughout the world; his 1997 orchestral piece Asyla won a Grawemeyer Award; and his 2004 opera The Tempest was staged at the Royal Opera House to huge critical acclaim. The Tempest premiered at the Metropolitan Opera in October 2012, with Adès at the podium. Adès was artistic director of the Aldeburgh Festival for a decade, has conducted orchestras from the New York Philharmonic to the London Symphony Orchestra, and has had festivals worldwide devoted to his music.Tom Servicewrites about music for The Guardian, where he was chief classical music critic, and broadcasts for BBC Radio 3. He has presented Radio 3's flagship magazine program, Music Matters, since 2003. Service was the inaugural recipient of the ICMP/CIEM Classical Music Critic of the Year Award and a guest artistic director of the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival. He is the author of Music as Alchemy: Journeys with Great Conductors and Their Ochestras.
Published October 16, 2012 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 203 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Arts & Photography. Non-fiction

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The New York Times

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As the elusive final piano chords of the Kurtag dissipated, Mr. Adès played a sustained C sharp, which turned out to be the first lingering note of the slowly rippling, bittersweet accompaniment of the first song from Schumann’s “Dichterliebe.” This short song pushes chromatic harmony into fleeti...

Nov 29 2011 | Read Full Review of Thomas Adès: Full of Noises: ...

Publishers Weekly

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For the past 12 years, music critic Service and Adès have been talking about the ways that Adès—the brilliant composer, conductor, and pianist—conjures his musical inventions from the sounds swirling in his head, how he reimagines the music of the past, from Beethoven to Ligerti, and the wa...

Sep 03 2012 | Read Full Review of Thomas Adès: Full of Noises: ...

San Francisco Chronicle

There's a graciousness about its modesty - the film never tries to overpower Adès' score - which is matched by the music's complementary willingness to give the film a bit of space.

Oct 03 2011 | Read Full Review of Thomas Adès: Full of Noises: ...

San Francisco Chronicle

2006-08-05 04:00:00 PDT Santa Fe -- For any composer out to make an opera of "The Tempest," Shakespeare helpfully provides a spec sheet.

Aug 05 2006 | Read Full Review of Thomas Adès: Full of Noises: ...

New York Magazine

But the forefather Adès emulated during his recent Carnegie Hall series was Franz Liszt, who enraptured audiences by performing his own diabolically difficult piano music, and also conducted like a man possessed.

Apr 02 2010 | Read Full Review of Thomas Adès: Full of Noises: ...

New York Magazine

Major new operas often take forever to reach New York.

Aug 19 2012 | Read Full Review of Thomas Adès: Full of Noises: ...

New York Magazine

Get the casting wrong and you’re in for a long night of shrill squeaks, but Audrey Luna surfs on clouds, and in the final scene, her offstage voice blends with the orchestra’s eerie whistle, making it clear that while human order is restored, the isle remains a perpetually enchanted place.

Oct 28 2012 | Read Full Review of Thomas Adès: Full of Noises: ...

LA Times

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Composer/conductor/pianist Thomas Adès – no longer the wunderkind of British music, but not quite a grizzled old-timer at 39 – made his annual visit to Walt Disney Concert Hall Thursday night.

Apr 09 2010 | Read Full Review of Thomas Adès: Full of Noises: ...

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