Thomas Adès is one of the most performed composers of the present day. His orchestral work Asyla, which Sir Simon Rattle performed at his inaugural concert as chief conductor of the Berliner Philharmoniker in 2002, won him the prestigious Grawemeyer Prize. Adès is “also on the road as a performer”, as he says – as a gifted piano virtuoso and as an acclaimed conductor who regularly collaborates with the world’s leading orchestras, opera companies and festivals.
For his conducting debut with the Berliner Philharmoniker, he has included Concentric Paths in his programme, one of the most popular contemporary violin concertos ever. It is an emotionally gripping work which, with its rapid excursions into the highest registers, places enormous demands on the soloist Pekka Kuusisto. Also on the programme: the immensely evocative Exterminating Angel Symphony based on Adès’s successful opera of the same name, which was inspired by the famous surrealist film The Exterminating Angel by Luis Buñuel.
Furthermore, the charismatic English composer presents Gerald Barry’s orchestral piece Chevaux-de-Frise, the title of which refers to palisade-like anti-cavalry defensive obstacles. They are an ironic reference the Irish-born composer uses to allude to the shipwreck of the Spanish Armada in the 16th century. The concert opens with Hector Berlioz’s rhythmically highly complex overture Les Francs-juges, which was inspired by a vision of “hellfire” (Berlioz).