Back to All Events

Concentric Paths

  • St Peter's Church Kensington Park Road London, England, W11 2PN (map)
Thomas Ades

Thomas Ades

Conductor: Marc Dooley
Violin: Fenella Humphreys

Adès Concentric Paths
Beethoven Symphony no. 3 Eroica

Our first concert of the 2017-18 season features the fascinating piece Concentric Paths by contemporary British composer Thomas Ades.

As Tom Service wrote in 2012 for The Guardian:

"Adès talks about hearing the "magnetism" in each note of Polaris (his latest orchestra plece), every one of which becomes, under his composer's microscope, a seething mass of musical possibilities. For Adès, this way of hearing is an absolute, a golden thread he follows in each piece he writes. The results, though, are the opposite of predictable or pre-planned.

To hear what I'm talking about, listen to Violin Concerto: Concentric Paths, which he composed in 2005. In just 20 minutes, this three-movement piece does something magical. The way it swirls ethereally in the first movement, exerts a tragic and vice-like grip in the chaconne-like second part and finally propels you into the uninhibited flight of the finale is like being spun into an infinite space.

Yet you never lose your footing, never lose a sense of where you are, even as you glimpse an unbounded region out there behind the notes. Technically, that's because of Adès's seemingly infinitely subtle and infinitely expandable tonal universe. As with all really good music, however, it's a piece whose detail is endlessly absorbing but whose emotional impact is immediate and impossible to resist. In my opinion, at least."

Fenella Humphreys


With playing described in the press as ‘alluring’, ‘unforgettable’ and ‘a wonder’, violinist Fenella Humphreys enjoys a busy career combining chamber music and solo work. Performances have taken her around the world to venues including the Wigmore Hall, the South Bank Centre, and the new Helsinki Music Centre. She has broadcast for the BBC, Classic FM, DeutschlandRadio Berlin, West-Deutsche-Rundfunk, ABC Classic FM (Australia) and Korean radio, and performed the Walton Concerto at the composer’s home at the invitation of the Walton Trust in a performance that was recorded by Canadian TV.

Fenella performs widely as soloist. Her first concerto recording, of Christopher Wright’s Violin Concerto for Dutton Epoch with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and Martin Yates was released in 2012 to great critical acclaim (“Fenella Humphreys’s performance is a wonder” International Record Review; “Fenella Humphreys captures the music’s wistful cantabile to perfection, producing a golden tone in all registers with the utmost sensitivity to where every phrase is moving.” The Strad Magazine), and was selected as Orchestral CD of the Month in a 5 star review in the BBC Music Magazine.

A number of eminent British composers have written works for Fenella, both in her own right and as a former member of the Lawson Trio. During 2014/15 Fenella premiered Bach to the Future, a set of 6 new unaccompanied violin works by Cheryl Frances-Hoad, Gordon Crosse, Sally Beamish, Adrian Sutton, Piers Hellawell and Sir Peter Maxwell Davies. The project has so far seen performances at Aldeburgh, St. Magnus Festival, Presteigne Festival, Ryedale Festival, The Forge, Manchester University, Queen’s University, Belfast etc. and is to be recorded over two CDs for Champs Hill Records. A “radiant recording” with “golden precision and effortless virtuosity” (Five Stars, The Scotsman) the first of these discs, released in August 2015 was picked by BBC Music Magazine as October’s Instrumental disc of the month. The recently released second CD received the same accolade in January 2017’s issue, and was Editor's Choice in Gramophone Magazine in February 2017.

Earlier Event: June 25
St. Jude's Proms
Later Event: December 16
Fairy-Tale Opera