he work, commissioned by Carnegie Hall and the Berlin Philharmonic, marks ten years of collaboration between Ads and Rattle, who conducted its premiere in Berlin on February 21. Ads's second symphony, following his hugely successful Asyla from 1997, the 25-minute single-movement work is scored for the largest orchestra he has ever used.
Tevot carries double meanings in modern Hebrew and the Bible: "bars of music" and "arks", respectively; in the work, Ads visualizes the journey of earth as a vessel through the cosmos. "The earth would be a spaceship, a ship that carries us - and several other species! - through the chaos of space in safety," the 36-year-old composer told Tom Service in The Guardian of London earlier this year. "It sounds a bit colossal, but it's the idea of the ship of the world.
"I thought of the piece as one huge journey, but in order to make that journey truthful, to give it movement, there had to be many quite sudden and instant changes of landscape," he said. "I was thinking, writing for the Berlin Phil, that what you have is one huge organism made up of hundreds of brilliant individual players. They move together; they play with their bodies, especially in the case of the horn section. They're like paragliders, or people who have just jumped off a cliff wearing a bit of rope. They're very fearless, and they have to be. Watching the orchestra play Tevot feels a bit like watching people on a boat, as the music's being thrown from one side of the orchestra and smashing into the other side, almost as if it's going to capsize - but I don't think it does."
Tomorrow's concert also marks the start of Ads's residency at Carnegie Hall. He makes his New York recital debut as a pianist on November 19, and leads the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group (of which he is music director) in the New York premiere of Gerald Barry's The Triumph of Beauty and Deceit this spring.