On 4 November Christian Tetzlaff joined the Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra and Modestas Pitrenas at the GAIDA Festival in Vilnius for the Lithuanian premiere of Thomas Adès’ 2005 Violin Concerto Concentric Paths. On 27 January Tetzlaff will return to the work with the BBC Philharmonic and John Storgårds at Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall, with a recording of the work planned.
Though the 20-minute work follows a traditional three-movement pattern of fast-slow-fast, an enlarged middle movement – the work’s centre of emotional and musical gravity – creates in effect what Adès calls a triptych. It begins with a freewheeling perpetuum mobile (‘Rings’) with restless rising figures passed back and forth between soloist and woodwinds, on top of constantly shifting harmonic sands. ‘Paths’ follows and is created from, as Adès puts it, “two large, and very many small, independent cycles, which overlap and clash, sometimes violently, in their motion towards resolution”; a cyclic character comes from chaconne-like repetitions of the movement’s opening sequence. The finale – Rounds – hints at a traditional rondo, with a jaunty, syncopated melody in the violin and songful gestures, before spiralling high-jinks conclude the concerto.
Since its premiere with Anthony Marwood and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, conducted by the composer, the concerto has been performed over 200 times. Alongside Marwood’s world premiere recording of the piece, it has also been recorded by Peter Herresthal, Andrew Manze, and the Norwegian Radio Orchestra; Pekka Kuusisto, Nicolas Collon and Aurora Orchestra; and Augustin Hadelich, Hannu Lintu, and the RLPO. A newly-published edition of the score for solo part and piano reduction, with the solo part edited by Marwood, is now available to purchase.
Outside of the concert hall the Violin Concerto provided the score for choreographer Wayne McGregor in Outlier, which debuted at the New York City Ballet in 2010 before appearing at Sadler’s Wells in 2014. In 2019 McGregor presented it alongside the world premiere of Adès’ first specially-composed ballet score Inferno – the first part of what would become The Dante Project; this November has seen the Danish premiere of the ballet at the Royal Danish Opera and the first revival of The Dante Project at London’s Royal Ballet.
In spring 2024 Tetzlaff joins Kirill Gerstein for four performances of the Suite from ‘The Tempest’ for violin and piano in the United States, presenting the piece at Ithaca College, the Library of Congress, Carnegie Hall, and Jordan Hall between 4-7 April. The Suite, written for the duo, is cast in four movements, each based on a key moment of the opera: Caliban - "This island's mine" (Act 1 Scene 4); Ariel – “full fathom five thy father lies” (Act 1 Scene 5); Miranda: Aria and Quintet; and Caliban and Ariel, Free. The 12 ½-minute piece premiered on 1 October 2022 at the Kronberg Academy, and received its first UK performance at Wigmore Hall on 5 October.