“A monumental mix of dark and epic classical music based on Dante’s Inferno from The Divine Comedy to accompany you in your journey through the circles of hell, including Ludwig Van Beethoven, Stravinsky and Penderecki.” — Moontopmountain, 8tracks, 2013.
Reviewed: Thomas Adès’ “Inferno” (2019)
“Thomas Adès’ ‘Inferno,’ the first half of what will eventually be a full-length Dante ballet, makes an uproarious heaven of hell. An equal-opportunity score, it offers wry reasons for celebrating our vices — be we among the selfish, gluttonous, suicidal, deviant, papally pretentious; be we illicit lovers, pollsters (the fortune-tellers), hypocrites, thieves, lost souls of one sort or another, satanic majesties or, yes (thanks for thinking of us, Tom), critics.
“It proved the most ambitious and electrifying of more than five-dozen commissions celebrating the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s just-completed centennial season and a bonanza for choreographer Wayne McGregor. In an exceptional collaboration among the Royal Ballet, the L.A. Phil and the Music Center, the staged “Inferno” had its premiere at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion over the weekend in a production for which celebrated British artist and filmmaker Tacita Dean created the design. The composer conducted with the L.A. Phil in the pit.” [. . .] –Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times, July 14, 2019.
Franz Liszt, “Dante Sonata”
“Franz Liszt’s Dante Sonata, also known as the Fantasia Quasi Sonata, is a sonata written for piano solo (different than Liszt’s Dante Symphony). Written as program music during the Romantic period, there are nine different motifs used throughout the piece, representing the nine different levels of Hell. In addition, within the nine motifs, Liszt created two major themes or ideas, one in major and one in minor. The minor is said to represent the dark nature of Hell, and the major is said to represent Beatrice and Heaven.” –Contributor Ian Peiris
Listen to Mikhail Pletnev’s recording of the piece on YouTube (last accessed February 19, 2020). See also the previous post for Liszt’s Dante Symphony here.
Contributed by Ian Peiris (The Bolles School ’22)
Wertyo, Tartarus (2019)
“Hailing from Alberta, Canada, Wertyo began as a Vaporwave artist, releasing two EPs in the genre. Together, they were streamed over 1 million times from people all over the world. Enter Tartarus, Wertyo’s first feature length album. No longer vaporwave, this concept album changes from romantic era classical to avant-garde jazz over the course of its 25 tracks. Inspired by Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy, the album follows the poem through its three cantiche– Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso.” —Wertyo