French Gems

Ensemble 360
Group type: Ensembles
  • Wednesday 22 May
    7.15 – 6.45pm
Ticket typeCost
UC, DLA or PIP£14
Under 35s & Students£5

The heart of César Franck’s Piano Quintet contains some of the most darkly passionate music he ever composed, surrounded by storms and drama that make this magnificent work a truly captivating experience. Thomas Adès is one of our greatest living composers and his chamber music glimmers with intricate beauty and exquisite colours. Alchymia is inspired by the world of Tudor England, and Adès makes reference to composers of that time as well as the influence of Shakespeare. Opening with Maurice Ravel’s homage to his teacher Gabriel Fauré, this concert looks back to those who shaped him and forward to those writing today for whom he remains a guiding light.

Note from Guest Curator, Steven Isserlis

“Thomas Adès, with his deep love of both Couperin and Fauré, makes a guest appearance in this mostly Gallic affair, with his magnificent clarinet quintet. The programme ends with César Franck’s stormy piano quintet, a shockingly bold outpouring from a composer who until then had been known for his quiet piety; it is said that the transformation was effected by his passionate love for Augusta Holmés. If so, that was quite a passion!”

This concert is generously sponsored by Kim Staniforth.


  • RAVEL: Berceuse sur le nom de Gabriel Fauré for violin & piano (3′)
  • SAINT-SAËNS: Oboe Sonata (12′)
  • ADÈS: Alchymia for clarinet quintet (24′)
  • MESSAGER: Solo de Concours for solo clarinet (6′)
  • FRANCK: Piano Quintet (35′)

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