Londoners who followed with envy the launch of the dynamic Elbphilharmonie concert hall in Hamburg in January 2017 – in many ways a model for good practice at London's own new hall on the site of the Museum of London – may remember Widmann's contribution. He talked eloquently and movingly about the bonding power of music at a time when Brexit-obsessed Britain was busy falling out with its cultural neighbours and friends. And his oratorio ARCHE was chosen for the first-night programme in Hamburg.
Catch this remarkable musical ambassador in one or all of his many guises, starting with a conversation about music before his own performance of a new piece in a concert that also features music by Schumann and Mozart (both 4 Jan). Over the following six months, Widmann's music will be featured in seven concerts, including two by the excellent Heath Quartet (14 Mar, 16 June and 20 July). In the second they are joined by soprano Mary Bevan.
Mary Bevan joins the Heath Quartet in music by Jörg Widmann and others at Wigmore Hall on 16 June. Photo: Victoria Cadisch
Widmann's music is recognisably rooted in the classical tradition, while adopting a new vocabulary for the 21st century. Appearing with the fine Hagen Quartet (30 Jan), he plays the clarinet in both Mozart's much-loved Clarinet Quintet and in the UK premiere of his own Quintet for clarinet and string quartet. That work was given its world premiere in April in Madrid.
Widmann plays again when he joins pianist András Schiff (12 May), and then the Tetzlaff Quartet (10 June), led by his countryman, the outstanding violinist Christian Tetzlaff.
Accessible, witty and edgy, Widmann's music feels simultaneously recognisable and unfamiliar. Recommended for those who like to season the classics with the spice of the new.
|What||Jörg Widmann Season, Wigmore Hall|
36 Wigmore Street, London, W1U 2BP | MAP
|Nearest tube||Bond Street (underground)|
04 Jan 18 – 20 Jul 18, Nine events; times vary
|Price||£5 - £38|
|Website||Click here for more information and booking|