- Life Story, for soprano, 2 bass clarinets & double bass, Op. 8
- Traced Overhead, for piano, Op. 15
- Five Eliot Landscapes, for soprano & piano, Op. 1
- Under Hamelin Hill, for chamber organ, Op. 6
- Still Sorrowing, for piano, Op. 7
- Darknesse Visible, for piano
- Catch, for clarinet, piano, violin & cello, Op. 4
Thomas Adès is a composer who seems to have sprung practically fully formed onto the new music scene while he was still an adolescent. He completed "Five Eliot Landscapes," for soprano and piano, the earliest work recorded here, when he was 19, and "Traced Overhead, for piano," when he was 25. Since then he has continued to deepen and broaden his aesthetic reach, but even in his earliest works he displays a fully assured technique, an exceptionally fertile inventiveness, and his music has something to say. It's this last characteristic, combined with an apparently innate ability to speak emotionally through his music, that has given his work such traction and assured him a place as one of the most daring, respected, and frequently performed composers of the early 21st century. In the landscape of 21st century composers it could probably be said that he comes down more as a modernist than as a neo-romantic or even a post-modernist (though his music does have elements of post-modernism); it's a testimony to his gift that while his language may be spikier than some, he communicates clearly and with old-fashioned directness. Most of the seven pieces recorded here include piano, featuring Adès, who is also a masterful performer. The three movements of the piano solo, "Traced Overhead," offer a sampling of the elements that characterize Adès at his best: clarity, surprise, virtuosic inventiveness, a sense of rightness and inevitability, and strongly purposeful dramatic direction. The song cycle "Five Eliot Landscapes" aptly demonstrates the knack for distinctive vocal writing that Adès continued to develop in his operas "Powder Her Face" and "The Tempest," and has more substance than the discursive, jazz-inflected song "Life Story." EMI's sound is clear, clear, balanced, and present. This album should be of interest to fans of smart, original, and striking new keyboard, chamber, and vocal music.