Harding meets Widmann x 2
The siblings, Carolin and Jörg Widmann, are frequently also colleagues – composer Jörg has written several pieces for his younger sister, award-winning violinist Carolin, and his Violin Concerto No. 2 is also dedicated to her. Benjamin Britten dedicated his song cycle, Nocturne, to Alma Mahler with whom he corresponded for many years. The lyrics are taken from all the great writers and Alma was very fond of the piece.
Music director Daniel Harding has recovered after he took ill earlier this week. The rehearsal has therefore been partly led by the young conductor of Finnegan Downie Dear, who also conducts Sibelius Valet Triste at the week’s concerts.
As a composer, it is not a bad thing to have a skilled musician in the family. As a 16-year-old clarinettist, Jörg Widmann started writing down his improvisations in order to remember them. Since then, he has dedicated his time as a composer, alongside his career as a clarinettist and conductor, to exploring non-traditional approaches to music and instruments – preferably together with his younger sister, violinist Carolin Widmann. ”Having Carolin there to conduct my wildest experiments is wonderful,” he said in an interview.
The Widmann siblings were born into a family of amateur musicians in Munich. Both have an impressive CV each, with numerous awards and engagements worldwide. Jörg Widmann’s newly written Violin Concerto no 2, dedicated to Carolin, was premiered in Tokyo in August 2018, conducted by Jörg himself. ”It was a magical evening. Afterwards, I heard that many associated the concerto with Kabuki and Noh performances. I was happy that the piece felt like a drama. Not much happens, but what happens is of great importance.” In Stockholm, Daniel Harding will conduct the performance. ”He is like a brother to me and knows my music really well, so the concerto is in the best possible hands.”
Benjamin Britten wrote his song cycle Nocturne for Alma Mahler. The two met in New York in 1942 and began a correspondence. In 1958, when Britten asked her permission to dedicate his new piece to her, the answer arrived by telegram: “My happiness is great. I cannot feel or think of anything else. My deepest thanks!” Nocturne, written for tenor soloist, flute, cor anglais, clarinet, bassoon, harp, French horn, timpani and strings, presents eight poems by Shelley, Tennyson, Coleridge, Middleton, Wordsworth, Owen, Keats and Shakespeare. In each part of the through-composed piece, a solo instrument emerges beside the solo vocalist.
Andrew Staples, one of Britain’s most versatile tenors, with everything from Händel and Mozart to Britten and Elgar in his repertoire, is a frequent partner to Daniel Harding and the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra. Staples is also a director and a portrait photographer.
Text: Anna Hedelius
Please notice the programme change. Instead of Schoenberg’s Verklärte Nacht we will hear Valse Triste and Finlandia by Jean Sibelius.
The Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra is one of Europe’s most versatile orchestras, with a worldwide reputation and a repertoire that combines the major classical works as well as exciting new music. In collaboration with the most important conductors, soloists and composers, there is a constant striving to break new ground. The orchestra’s extensive and high-quality music-making has been rewarded with numerous prizes and accolades and they regularly perform at international festivals and concert halls. “The orchestra has a unique combination of humility, sensibility and musical imagination”, says Daniel Harding, chief conductor of the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra. “I have never had a concert with the orchestra where they haven’t played as though their lives depended on it!” he continues. The first radio orchestra was formed in 1925, the same year that the Swedish Radio Service began its broadcasts and since then the orchestra’s concerts have always been broadcast by the Swedish Radio. The Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra received its current name in 1967 and over the years has had such distinguished chief conductors as Sergiu Celibidache, Herbert Blomstedt and Esa-Pekka Salonen.
The tenor Andrew Staples is a diligent concert singer who has performed with conductors such as Simon Rattle, Daniel Harding, Andrew Manze and Robin Ticciati. Most recently, he has played Froh in Wagner’s Das Rheingold at the Royal Opera House in London. He also toured Europe with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and Simon Rattle, performing Bach’s St John’s Passion, as well as with the Orchestre de Paris and Daniel Harding, performing Britten’s War Requiem. In addition, he will soon debut at both Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin and the Metropolitan Opera. Andrew Staples is also a frequent guest at Berwaldhallen where he will be performing Britten’s Nocturne in the spring of 2019.