chapter  3
28 Pages

‘Trying to find refuge’

The symphonic logic of the first movement

During the procession of composition, Ades had the idea of images of huge crowds of people moving across the space. A space that was unpopulated, fleeing to safety, trying to find their own refuge, and of course there are political implications to that – it's an image we see all the time, from the Hungarian refugees in the '50s through to very much the present day. The strain and strangeness of the journey is composed into the timbres and textures, sometimes naggingly beautiful, sometimes grotesquely so, casting long shadows over the repeated efforts to find a musical refuge for the melody, infusing it with a sense of profound unnaturalness, disorder and dislocation. In the presentation of the movement in the documentary Thomas Ades: Music for the 21st Century, the visual material for Section B intersperses excerpts from a concert performance amongst archive footage of refugees, including numerous shots of men, women and children in tears.