Jörg Widmann

Started by Herman, March 12, 2023, 02:09:07 PM

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Born in 1973 this terrific clarinet soloist and highly prolific and successful composer needs a spot on GMG.

The last couple of days I have been listening to Widmann's 2nd Violin Concerto, as performed by his sister Carolin Widmann. It hasn't been CD-recorded yet (there is however a Ondine recording of the first concerto, by Christian Tetzlaff and Daniel Harding).
In its entirety the piece lasts over 35 minutes, and like more Widmann pieces one occasionally thinks some minor cuts would not have hurt, but hey, what do I know? Widmann likes to play with allusions to historical works (most notoriously the Bach Badinerie at the end of Widmann's Flute Concerto) and in the 2nd VC the Berg VC would be the motherlode.
There is a youtube video of Carolin Widmann performing the piece with the hr-Symphony Orchestra in Frankfurt, conducted by Andres Orozco-Estrada.



I'm a bit surprised to see someone start a Widmann thread, since in well over a decade I had never met anyone who is actually passionate about his music – all of his many commissions seem to meet with merely polite acceptance but without sparking fandom.

There is a very acerbic article at Van Magazine that makes much the same observation.


Funny to see the Van article makes the same observation about Widmann's works being a little self-indulgent and longish.

I am a fan of this second violin concerto. I love the drama. Whether I'm a Widmann fan in general, I'm not at that point yet...

San Antone

I have enjoyed a number of the works of his I've heard: Viola Concerto; 24 Duets; Es war einmal; Octet; I generally enjoyed the recording of his piano music. My favorite work of his is probably Elegie.

I forgot to mention his string quartets.  He's written five, and as a fan of the genre, I am always interested in new quartets.  His I consider among the better ones from this century.

San Antone

Listening to his first five quartets on a recording from 2008, I was wondering if he had written any others.  Come to find out he has, but not until 2019 when he embarked on a second cycle of works.

Study on Beethoven (String Quartet No 6)
My quartets composed between 1997 and 2005 were conceived as an interconnected, self-contained cycle of works ranging from the (in my opinion) quasi revolutionary Quartet No. 1 to the Quartet No. 5 entitled Versuch über die Fuge [Attempt at a Fugue]. The Quartet No. 6 – Study on Beethoven – composed fourteen years after No. 5 should be conceived as a new approach and the commencement of a new quartet cycle with an unknown ending. All that can be said is that the subsequent quartets will be devoted to an intense study of Ludwig van Beethoven's unique and consummate artistry of quartet composition. Despite a reverence for Beethoven at a very early stage, my own compositions have steered well clear of this unapproachable cosmos with the exception of my concert overture "Con brio".

Here's an excerpt

He's written four others since, totaling ten quartets, the last five of which are part of the Beethoven cycle.


I watched a performance earlier of his Viola Concerto. The soloist wanders round the orchestra and interacts with the players while duetting with them.