Published online by Cambridge University Press: 18 November 2021
Thomas Adès’s piano concerto In Seven Days (2008) outlines the biblical creation story in seven connected movements, merging the figurative and the abstract to parallel modern allegorical readings of Genesis 1:2. This capacious model of musical growth and transformation will include the development of a vast tonal edifice from two primary harmonies, reference the birth of the modern orchestra and repurpose traditional compositional techniques from the Renaissance to the present. But In Seven Days embraces a meta-musical role as well, through allusions to select works that have broached the subject of creation. As the composer avers, it tells ‘the story of the material and also of “material”, all of it, in the world’ writ large, as a musical paradigm of world-building that draws on medieval, Baroque and contemporary compositional techniques to recover the inexhaustible promise of the musical past.