Nonesuch to Release First Recording of Thomas Adès’ Dante on April 21, Featuring
the Los Angeles Philharmonic Conducted by Gustavo Dudamel
“A dizzying homage to Liszt, synagogue music and the enchantingly upward infinity of the cosmos. Conceived as a ballet score, it belongs alongside the great dance music of Stravinsky and Tchaikovsky that thrives on the concert stage.”
—The New York Times
“In any new short list of great ballet scores by Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky, Bartók, Ravel, Prokofiev, Britten and Bernstein, Dante must newly be included for its musical invention alone. There is not a second in its 88 minutes that doesn’t delight. All of it is unexpected and wanted.”
— Los Angeles Times
Thomas Adès’ Dante — a ballet score in three parts based on Dante Alighieri’s La Divina Commedia — was recorded by the Los Angeles Philharmonic conducted by Music & Artistic Director Gustavo Dudamel at a concert performance last spring at Walt Disney Concert Hall. Nonesuch Records will release the album, the work’s premiere audio recording, on April 21, 2023. Dante was first performed at London’s Royal Opera House as part of Wayne McGregor’s The Dante Project for the Royal Ballet, with the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House and with designs by visual artist Tacita Dean. In addition to the digital version, Nonesuch will release a collectable limited-edition two-LP vinyl edition of the album, featuring artwork by Dean and photography from the Royal Ballet’s performance; the artwork and photography are also in the CD packaging.
The piece’s three parts are “Inferno,” “Purgatorio” and “Paradiso.” Section XII. of “Inferno,” The Thieves — devoured by reptiles, is available today here. In speaking of “Inferno,” Adès called it “a grateful tribute to Franz Liszt, the composer of hell and demonic music.” The full album track listing and credits are below.
Dante is inspired by the alternately chilling and sunlit landscapes of La Divina Commedia. Written in the 14th century, this seminal Italian poem recounts an initiatory journey through hell, purgatory and paradise. McGregor and Adès bring the medieval Christian fantasy to life with a narrative arc about a young woman named Beatrice who embodies a promise of love and hope. Opéra National de Paris performs The Dante Project this April and May, also conducted by Dudamel, who is that ensemble’s Music Director; the London Philharmonic features Dante’s first part, “Inferno,” on a February 22 concert program conducted by Adès.
Thomas Adès exemplifies a generation of composers who have drawn upon the long history of symphonic music but rethought those traditional forms with a postmodern eye and sometimes ironic distancing. Adès, a prodigious composer, conductor and pianist, was born in London in 1971. His singular body of work is crowned by three critically acclaimed operas — Powder Her Face (1995), The Tempest (2004) and The Exterminating Angel (2016) — as well as the ballet Dante (2019-20). The recipient of numerous awards, including the 2015 Léonie Sonning Music Prize and the 2000 Grawemeyer Award (for his 1997 orchestral work Asyla), Adès was Artistic Director of the Aldeburgh Festival for a decade and has conducted many of the world’s greatest orchestras, including Wiener Philharmoniker, Berliner Philharmoniker, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the New York Philharmonic and the London Symphony Orchestra. In 2016 he became the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s inaugural Artistic Partner; he premiered his Concerto for Piano and Orchestra with Kirill Gerstein as soloist with that orchestra in March 2019. He performs worldwide as a pianist and coaches annually at the International Musicians Seminar, Prussia Cove.
Redefining what an orchestra can be, the Los Angeles Philharmonic (LA Phil) is as vibrant as Los Angeles, one of the world’s most open and dynamic cities. Led by Music & Artistic Director Gustavo Dudamel, this internationally renowned orchestra harnesses the transformative power of live music to build community, foster intellectual and artistic growth and nurture the creative spirit. This is the fourth recent recording by the orchestra on the label; the others were the Louis Andriessen pieces The only one and Theatre of the World and Steve Reich’s Runner/Music for Ensemble and Orchestra. Additionally, the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s recordings of The Gospel According to the Other Mary and Must the Devil Have All the Good Tunes?, with Yuja Wang, released on Deutsche Grammophon, are included in last year’s John Adams Collected Works Nonesuch boxed set. Nonesuch also released an LA Phil recording of Adams’ Naive and Sentimental Music in 2002. The label most recently recorded the LA Phil’s January 2023 performances of Adams’ Girls of the Golden West, conducted by the composer (release date TBD).
Gustavo Dudamel is driven by the belief that music has the power to transform lives, to inspire and to change the world. Through his dynamic presence on the podium and his tireless advocacy for arts education, Dudamel has introduced classical music to new audiences around the globe and has helped to provide access to the arts for countless people in underserved communities. He currently serves as the Music & Artistic Director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Music Director of the Opéra National de Paris and Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra. Dudamel’s bold programming and expansive vision led The New York Times to herald the LA Phil as “the most important orchestra in America – period.”
I. Abandon Hope
II. The Selfish—stung by wasps
III. The Ferryman
IV. Pavan of the Souls in Limbo
V. Paolo and Francesca—the endless whirlwind
VI. The Gluttons—in slime
VII. The Suicides—the bleeding trees
VIII. The Deviants—on burning sand
IX. The Fortune-tellers—facing both ways
X. The Popes’ Adagio—heads first—
XI. The Hypocrites—in coats of lead
XII. The Thieves—devoured by reptiles
XIII. Satan—in the lake of ice
I. Dawn on the Sea of Purgatory
II. Mount Purgatory
III. The Valley of Flowers
IV. The Healing Fire
V. The Earthly Paradise
VI. The Heavenly Procession
VII. The Ascent
Paradise—Moon—Mercury—Venus—Sun—Mars—Jupiter (The Eagle)—Saturn (The Golden Ladder)—Fixed
Los Angeles Philharmonic
Gustavo Dudamel, Music & Artistic Director
Los Angeles Master Chorale
Grant Gershon, Artistic Director
Jenny Wong, Associate Artistic Director
Recorded voices in Purgatorio
Khazan Gabriel A. Shrem and the
Khazan and congregation of the Great
Ades Synagogue, Jerusalem
The music of The Dante Project, a collaboration between choreographer Wayne McGregor, composer Thomas Adès and artist Tacita Dean, lighting designers Lucy Carter and Simon Bennison and dramaturg Uzma Hameed was staged at the Royal Opera House in London in October 2021.
Score commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Royal Opera House Covent Garden Foundation for The Royal Ballet with the generous support of the Lenore S. and Bernard A. Greenberg Fund. “Inferno” co-commissioned by the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra.
Melissa Cusick, Nonesuch Records, email@example.com or 212.707.2912