Notable this week at the Seattle Symphony is the Seattle premiere of the violin concerto by the young English composer Thomas AdÃ¨s, with Leila Josefowitz as soloist and the distinguished American conductor David Robertson on the podium. The program also includes Mussorgsky'ês 'êNight on a Bald Mountain,'ê and in the second half Stravinsky'ês great ballet score 'êThe Firebird.'ê
This will be the second Seattle premiere of an AdÃ¨s work this year. In January, as part of their World Music concert at Meany Hall, the Jupiter Quartet played his 'êArcadiana'ê from 1993, which was, somewhat unexpectedly, the outstanding item in a program also including string quartets by Mendelssohn and Beethoven. On a recent visit to London, my wife and I volunteered in the administration of the London String Quartet Foundation's international string quartet competition held at the Royal College of Music. Each of the 12 young quartets reaching the final were required to play the AdÃ¨s piece, so we had ample opportunity to get to know it better and to confirm its attractiveness.
The violin concerto was written in 2005, to a commission by the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Subtitled 'êConcentric Circles'ê it has short opening and closing movements enclosing a longer middle movement which provides the work with a powerful emotional center. It is a fine work. Seattle Symphony supporters who remember Leila Josefowitz'ês brilliant performance of John Adam'ês violin concerto a few years ago will need no persuading to hear her again this week.