Berliner Philharmoniker I

Thomas Adès, conductor
Berlioz | Adès | Barry

Dinner party guests who are incapable of leaving the house, servants who run away. Thomas Adès’s “Exterminating Angel Symphony”, based on the surrealist film by Luis Buñuel, confounds our senses. Conducted by the composer, the Berlin Philharmonic will perform this work together with Adès’s violin concerto “Concentric Paths”. These are joined by one of Ireland’s leading contemporary voices, Gerald Barry. The evening opens with Hector Berlioz’s overture “Les Francs-juges”.

Thomas Adès lying in an armchair

Oil painting “Thomas Joseph Edmund Adès” by Phil Hale, 2002

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Past Dates

50 minutes before the start of each concert, South Foyer
Work introduction with Kerstin Schüssler-Bach

Concerts online
Livestream of the concert in the Digital Concert Hall,
available 10 September 2022, 19:00

Thomas Adès managed to rise to the status of celebrated British star composer in record time and his works have delighted a broad audience of concertgoers. His concerto “Concentric Paths”, which was premiered in the Philharmonie’s Chamber Music Hall in 2005 as a co-commission by the Berliner Festspiele and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, is one of the most popular contemporary violin concertos: an emotionally gripping work whose breakneck flights to the very top registers represent a mighty challenge to the soloist. Along with “Concentric Paths” with the Finnish violinist Pekka Kuusisto, the Berlin Philharmonic have also programmed the “Exterminating Angel Symphony” based on Adès’s successful opera of the same title, which was inspired by Luis Buñuel’s famous black and white surrealist film: extremely graphic music that includes obsessive marches, melancholy intermezzi and contortedly nostalgic waltzes. The programme goes on to include Gerald Barry’s orchestral piece “Chevaux-de-Frise”, whose title refers to defensive fortifications. This ironic reference is the Irish composer’s allusion to the Spanish armada of the 16th century that was severely affected by the primal forces of Irish nature. The evening opens with the complex rhythms of Hector Berlioz’s overture “Les Francs-juges”, which refers to the horrors of the medieval judiciary and, according to the composer, was inspired by a vision of “the fires of hell”.

Concert Programme

Hector Berlioz (1803 – 1869)
Overture for Les Francs-juges op. 3 (ca. 1828)

Thomas Adès (*1971)
Concentric Paths
Concerto for violin and orchestra op. 23 (2005)

Gerald Barry (*1952)
for orchestra (1987)

Thomas Adès
The Exterminating Angel Symphony (2020)

A Berliner Philharmoniker Foundation event in cooperation with Berliner Festspiele / Musikfest Berlin