11.04.2021 - 20 clock
First broadcast


In this concert you can see Jörg Widmann himself on the clarinet, together with the pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard. The two good friends and festival companions will organize this evening with works by Jörg Widmann, Alban Berg, György Kurtág and Carl Maria von Weber. That promises an exciting evening to become favorite works and special musical connections by and with Jörg Widmann.

The event was recorded live on March 31.03.2021, XNUMX.


Jörg Widmann Clarinet
Pierre-Laurent Aimard

Alban Berg
4 pieces for clarinet and piano op.5

Jörg Widmann
Fantasy for clarinet solo

György Kurtág
Selection from "Játékok" for piano solo

Carl Maria von Weber
Grand Duo Concertant in E flat major op.48


Modern music in the Widmann cosmos

Once asked in an interview not so long ago whether there was such a thing as “old” and “modern” music for him, Jörg Widmann said: “I don't approach the music of our time fundamentally differently than classical or romantic music. Of course, the style, the specifics and the technical requirements are different, there are differences. [...] For example, I was just rehearsing with a quartet for the premiere of my new string quartet and I specifically said: 'Please don't play it like new music!' In my music there is an upbeat and a downbeat, tension and relaxation. This is also the basic principle of a Schubert piano sonata and has not changed fundamentally until Alban Berg. Schönberg also pointed this out throughout his life: 'I am a conservative, I maintain progress' was his self-image, the principles have remained more or less the same. I would like to sign that. ”In this respect, step into the cosmos of the composing clarinetist Jörg Widmann, who guides you through music whose center is his dearest friend, the clarinet.

Alban Berg - miniature from 1913

The program begins with Alban Berg, whom Widmann mentions by name in the interview quoted above. His 4 Pieces, Op. 5 - like Anton Webern's Four Pieces for Violin and Piano, Op. 7 and Arnold Schönberg's Six Little Piano Pieces, Op. 19 - are among those miniatures with which the composers of the Viennese School around 1910 on the monumental symphonic at the beginning of the Century responded. The pieces were written in 1913. They are atonal and the tonal interweaving that otherwise appears in Berg is missing. The shortest piece has 9, the longest 20 bars. In total, they take no more than eight minutes. Adorno drew attention to the time factor in these pieces, namely that they only lasted moments, but that these moments know no development and no time, and yet unfolded precisely in time. In keeping with this, there is no fixed meter in the miniatures, in the first movement Berg changes the basic meter almost in every measure.

Jörg Widmann - miniature 80 years later

Jörg Widmann's Fantasy for Solo Clarinet from 1993 also lasts less than 7 minutes. It is the first piece that Widmann composed for his own instrument. He himself said about his fantasy for clarinet: “In her exaggerated virtuosity and in her cheerful, ironic basic character, she reflects the experiences with Stravinsky's 3 Pieces for clarinet solo from 1919 and the tonal innovations that were first introduced with Carl Maria von Weber's spelling came into music for the clarinet and thinks about it in new ways. It's a little imaginary scene that, in the spirit of the Commedia dell'arte, unites the dialogues of different people in a very small space. ”You will hear many a detour to the different places where the clarinet is used: to jazz, klezmer, to dance music. Very important to know, there are no bar lines in this composition. The interpreter, here the composer himself, can and should play the composition freely in the truest sense of the word with fantasy and in the best sense of the tradition of fantasy compositions.

György Kurtág - miniatures since 1973 until today

György Kurtágs Játékok (Games) continues the series of miniatures. Kurtág composes these short character pieces for piano solo, four hands or for two pianos, both to give the impression of children's games in music, as he himself once said, and as educational teaching pieces for children, so that they can learn from their first contact with the instrument to familiarize oneself with the processes and thinking of contemporary music - similar to the microcosm of Béla Bartók.

Játékok is an open work that is constantly expanding. Nine volumes with innumerable miniatures have been published since 1973. At the same time, Játékok is much more than just “child's play”, it is a compendium of small homages to composers from Scarlatti to Stravinsky and other colleagues from Kurtág and their influences. It is also a kind of encyclopedia of Kurtág's thought: it shows all the characteristics in the most compact form and brevity that all of his other works also carry, in terms of style, melody, harmony or form. György Kurtág and his wife Márta used to play selected pieces from Játékok in concerts together.

Carl Maria von Weber - double concerto without orchestra

With Carl Maria von Weber's Grand Duo Concertant in E flat major op. 48 we leave the 20th century and the miniatures and move on to your “double concerto without orchestra”, as the well-known music writer and weaver connoisseur John Warrack once called it. It could also be called a showpiece for clarinet and piano, as both parts are highly virtuoso and equally created. The Grand Duo Concertant is one of the most important compositions written for the clarinet in the Romantic era and belongs to the standard repertoire of every clarinetist. The last two movements, the Andante con moto and the Rondo. Allegro, were composed in July 1815 and the first movement, the Allegro con fuoco, completed the duo in November 1816. Weber probably composed it for himself (at the piano) and his friend Heinrich Baermann, a leading clarinetist of the era. In its gesture, the Grand Duo transfers the aura of great opera into chamber music.

Dr. Anne Röwekamp


Pierre-Laurent Aimard Photo: Marco Borggreve

Pierre-Laurent performs worldwide with the most renowned orchestras under conductors such as Esa-Pekka Salonen, Vladimir Jurowski, Peter Eötvös, Sir Simon Rattle and Riccardo Chailly. He has distinguished himself as a maker, conductor and pianist in numerous residencies, for example in projects for Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center in New York, the Vienna Konzerthaus, the Berlin Philharmonic and the Southbank Center in London. Aimard is also the Artistic Director of the Aldeburgh Festival. Pierre-Laurent Aimard was born in Lyon in 1957 and studied at the Paris Conservatoire with Yvonne Loriod and in London with Maria Curcio.

Aimard has worked closely with numerous important composers, including György Kurtág, Stockhausen, Carter, Pierre Boulez and George Benjamin. He has also had a longstanding relationship with György Ligeti, whose entire piano works he has recorded. Through his professorship at Cologne University of Applied Sciences and worldwide concert lectures and workshops, he spreads his extensive knowledge of music in an inspiring and very personal way.

JÖRG WIDMANN (clarinet)

Jörg Widmann composer-clarinettist Photo: Marco Borggreve

Jörg Widmann is one of the most exciting and versatile artists of his generation. As the owner of the Richard and Barbara Debs Composer Chair at Carnegie Hall New York, the focus will be on his work there in the 2019/20 season. In addition, this season he can be experienced in all his facets, both as clarinetist, conductor and as a composer as resident artist of the WDR Symphony Orchestra, the Palau de la Música Catalana in Barcelona and at the Bergen International Festival.

Longstanding chamber music partners such as Sir András Schiff, Daniel Barenboim, Mitsuko Uchida, Tabea Zimmermann, Antoine Tamestit and the Hagen Quartet will give concerts with Jörg Widmann at the Schubertiade Schwarzenberg, the Salzburg Festival, Carnegie Hall New York and the Vienna Kozerthaus.


Jörg Widmann is an artist phenomenon: interpreter - composer - inspirer.

He and that Heidelberger Frühling have consistently formed an artistic unit since 2004 that has the drive to create something extraordinary for the audience.

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