ADÈS Thomas, Alchymia for for clarinet quintet

  1. A Sea-Change (…those are pearls…)
  2. The Woods So Wild

III. Lachrymae 

  1. Divisions on a Lute-song: Wedekind’s Round


The clarinet quintet Alchymia is woven from four threads leading out of the alchemical world of Elizabethan London. The movement titles refer to: 

William Shakespeare, The Tempest 1611 – the  king’s eyes transformed by the sea into pearls. 

The Woods So Wild 1612 – Tudor popular song transformed by William Byrd into keyboard divisions (variations). 

Lachrymae 1600 – (Tears) – John Dowland’s lute-song, which he transformed into viol consort Fantasias.  

Divisions on a Lute-song: Wedekind’s Round – variations on the playwright Frank Wedekind’s Lautenlied (lute-song), which is played by clarinet, imitating a barrel-organ in the London street, in the final scene of Alban Berg’s opera Lulu. 


© Thomas Adès 


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