Martin Adámek clarinet
Jeanne-Marie Conquer violin
Renaud Déjardin cello
Dimitri Vassilakis piano
Messiaen Quatuor pour la fin du temps
Thomas Simaku a2 (b) for violin and cello
Martin Suckling Visiones (after Goya)
Founded by Pierre Boulez in 1976, Ensemble intercontemporain is one of the finest contemporary music ensembles in the world. The Ensemble’s 31 soloists work in close collaboration with composers and run various education projects for young musicians across the globe. Their three-day residency at the University of York culminates in a performance of one of the most significant pieces of the twentieth century. Written and premiered in 1941 while he was incarcerated in a prisoner-of-war camp, Messiaen’s Quatuor pour la fin du temps was inspired by the composer’s deep religious faith and demonstrates humanity’s remarkable resilience in the face of the most challenging of circumstances.
The programme also features two intriguing works by acclaimed York-based composers Thomas Simaku and Martin Suckling. Written during the composer’s DAAD residency in 2007, Simaku’s duo for violin and cello is based on the idea of ‘two things seen and heard as one’ and was inspired by the remnants of the Berlin Wall on Bernauer Straße – a clear reminder of what not so long ago were two different worlds in one city. Suckling describes how he was ‘haunted’ by Goya’s drawing ‘Visiones’ from The Witches and Old Women Album when composing his clarinet trio. The Spanish artist’s macabre imagery served as a ‘catalyst’ for the work; as Suckling explains, ‘it’s not that I was trying to make a musical version of the image but rather that the image became a lens that brought everything into focus for me’.