chapter  2
27 Pages

Towards Asyla (1990–97)

Morrison's early glimpse into Ades's compositional studio demonstrates the important role played by harmony in Ades's thinking. Many of the rhythmic devices employed by Ades in his early music parallels or complements those used for pitch. The fluidity of Ades's rhythms owes much to the use of both irrational and additive rhythms. In his early music, Ades frequently inserts irrational bars based on incomplete triplet rhythms. Given the important role played by sonority in Ades's early encounters with music, the significant role it plays in his own compositions is unsurprising. Ades conforms neither to modernism's aversion towards existing genres and material, nor to an uncritical romantic or postmodern adoption of them. Asyla marks a watershed moment in Ades's artistic development. The early publicity for Asyla made much of the fact that the strained relationship between the work and the symphony as genre enables an exploration of the 'pull between the safety of tradition and daunting freedom'.