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Length: c. 35 minutes
Orchestration: 3 flutes (2nd = alto flute, 3rd = piccolo), 3 oboes, 3 clarinets, 2 bassoons, contrabassoon, 4 horns, 3 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba, timpani, percussion (bass drum, bongo drums, cabasa, chimes, claves, crotales, glockenspiel, gongs, hand bells, side drum, suspended cymbals, triangle, vibraphone), strings, and solo piano
First Los Angeles Philharmonic performance: May 27, 2008, Thomas Adès conducting, with soloist Nicolas Hodges (U.S. premiere; Los Angeles Philharmonic co-commission, with generous support from Dr. and Mrs. Armin Sadoff)
In Seven Days was commissioned by the Southbank Centre and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. The first performance was given by Nicolas Hodges and the London Sinfonietta, conducted by Thomas Adès, at the Royal Festival Hall, London, on April 28, 2008. Composer Thomas Adès and video artist Tal Rosner have provided the following note:
“This piece is a video-ballet in seven movements, played continuously. The piece follows the story of creation:
1. Chaos – Light – Darkness
2. Separation of the waters into sea and sky
3. Land – Grass – Trees
4. Stars, Sun, Moon
FUGUE: 5. Creatures of the Sea and Sky –
6. Creatures of the Land
“The story is set as a set of variations, reflecting the two-part structure of the story: Days 1, 2, and 3 are complemented by Days 4, 5, and 6. In Day 7 the theme is presented in its simplest form. The visuals also tell the story in an abstract way, using footage and photographs from the two places equally responsible for the work’s commission: Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall and Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, and their immediate surroundings.”
A Note on Tal Rosner’s Work —
Tal Rosner’s approach to interpreting music is in some way informed by his love of the early 20th-century practice of intersections between art and design, like the Brücke group, and especially the Bauhaus.
The visual rhythmical abstractions of artist/film-makers such as Oskar Fischinger are also a model. Working solely in digital formats, Rosner always begins with a combination of digital video and photographs. This material is then treated with various computer-based image interpolation techniques, to create an abstract world where shapes and compositions, all originating from real-world materials, are used to sculpt with the time-line of the music.