chapter  7
18 Pages

Interpreting Asyla

Critics recognised Asyla as a major work in its own right as well as an important landmark in Ades's development. Tarnopolsky's original programme note set the tone for subsequent commentary, noting that 'the title, the plural of "asylum" is deliberately ambiguous. The practices of social conformity and exclusion are also integral to the notion of asylum as sanctuary, a concept normally treated by commentators on Ades's music as transparent. Tarnopolsky also restricts his comments on asylum to location. Even though it is one of Ades's least typical works, 'Ecstasio' dominates the reception of Asyla. Tom Service has begun to describe Asyla as 'a surrealist symphony'. In doing so, he connects to a critical tradition that stems from Taruskin's review of the EMI recording of Asyla, in which Taruskin highlighted the surreal quality of Ades's of painterly, spatial effects, as well as commonalities with Poulenc's work.