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 Jorg Widmann in the Mozart Quintet
Author: seabreeze 
Date:   2018-03-05 00:33

Splendid performance of the Mozart Clarinet Quintet in A by composer/clarinetist Jorg Widmann. No vibrato, few embellishments, expressive, rhythmic rendition with full, ringing sound from his Oehler:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oesyiVgMoxo



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 Re: Jorg Widmann in the Mozart Quintet
Author: Klose 2017
Date:   2018-03-05 01:37

Unfortunately there is no video. In terms of recording, his Brahms quintet recording with Hagen quartet is also very wonderful. Probably because he plays so many contemporary music (his clarinet pieces are among the most difficult ones in clarinet literature), I think his sound, which sounds quite contemporary and more flexible, is an evolution of traditional german sound.

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 Re: Jorg Widmann in the Mozart Quintet
Author: Tobin 
Date:   2018-03-07 23:55

Thank you for posting. Having listened to the Mozart and enjoyed it, I went and listened to two YouTube’s of Widmann performing the concerto — and didn’t like the performances any where nearly as much.

For those who have listened to Widmann more extensively, which is a better representation of his playing (if that’s a legitimate question, because I can see where it’s not)?

James

Gnothi Seauton

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 Re: Jorg Widmann in the Mozart Quintet
Author: seabreeze 
Date:   2018-03-08 00:01

What did you not like about his Mozart Concerto?

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 Re: Jorg Widmann in the Mozart Quintet
Author: Tobin 
Date:   2018-03-08 01:56

Hello seabreeze,

Primarily how forced and edgy his sound was on both recordings. Quite Unlike the quintet recording — the most robust sound in the quintet (which is delivered significantly) never approaches sounding forced.

Obviously the ensemble size is completely different.

This is one of the recordings:
https://youtu.be/NUX7FLbey3s

James

Gnothi Seauton

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 Re: Jorg Widmann in the Mozart Quintet
Author: Klose 2017
Date:   2018-03-08 03:21

Of course different people have various opinions here but I would like to mention that recently Widmann has played Mozart concerto with Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Valery Gergiev. For a world leading orchestra which regard performing Mozart's music as one proud part of their culture and tradition, this certainly means they also consider Widmann's interpretation is outstanding. However, to me, his most extraordinary feature is showed in his contemporary music playing.

First of all, I never heard any other clarinetist ever had a clarinet only recital (yes, without piano), but for Widmann, he does this very frequently. Most of the pieces are either composed by himself or by some other composers dedicated to him, e.g.,

https://www.elbphilharmonie.de/en/whats-on/jorg-widmann/7166

Second, his own clarinet pieces are also fantastic. Here are several examples:

-Fantasy for solo clarinet. Most people know this piece and it has become a standard piece for both performance and competition. Widmann played this piece in the opening concert of the Pierre Boulez hall and also the 50 years anniversary concert of Orchestre de Paris.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8kDIvG0Ck0k

-Three Shadow Dances. To me, the most technically difficult piece for solo clarinet. It used literally all possible extended techniques and it is even far more difficult to play on French system clarinets due to some multiphonics. He recorded this piece on his Mozart, Weber album.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8MknZGgGiMk&t=2s
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UsRMF2MPnV0
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aD9k3IcLRIY

-Five Fragments. Widmann himself called this piece as a crazy one. However, to me it shows every extreme thing our instrument can do. A good video played by Yulia Drukh:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lSVp6EOKBxs&t=26s

Widmann on CD:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TBeyuUT0nYM&list=PLVt18Aj71ill6ivVIjlNIMDJ7wH9pwvyy&index=11

-Elegie. A concerto paying homage to Mozart. It has a similar orchestration but of course the piece itself is completely modern.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQaY3mVsgII&list=PLVt18Aj71ill6ivVIjlNIMDJ7wH9pwvyy&index=16

-Echo Fragmente. A concerto much less performed than Elegie because it requires two orchestras, one modern, one baroque, and with different tuning!!! However, Widmann will perform this piece shortly with Orchestre de Paris.

-Clarinet Quintet. A new piece. He is now playing this piece with several renowned string quartets (e.g, Hagen Quartet) all over the world.



Post Edited (2018-03-08 08:28)

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 Re: Jorg Widmann in the Mozart Quintet
Author: seabreeze 
Date:   2018-03-08 03:52

The recorded sound is different, the phrasing style and overall musical approach similar. Widmann may be using a crystal mouthpiece in the Mozart Quintet and an Acrylic (?) one in the Mozart Concerto. The mike placement is probably different. He does play with more edge and detailing in the sound than we have been led to expect from a Wurlitzer Oehler clarinet, but if you listen to recordings by Anthony Gigliotti, Stanley Drucker, and Mitchell Lurie from the 50s and 60s on their Buffets they are just about as "bright" toned.

One of the attractions of Widmann for me is that I can't really tell just by listening that he might be playing an Oehler. He doesn't try to dampen or muffle the upper partials; he lets them ring. As a contemporary composer as well as a clarinetist, he seems to be aiming for a sound for today that is very different from the rather featureless, hollow quality many Americans players want from their Boehms and he is a long way from the stolid mellowness of Leister.

Do we really know whether Stadler got a dark, subdued sound or a bright, sparkly one on his basset clarinet? In phrasing on the Mozart Concerto, Widmann seems as eloquent and and respectful of the long flowing line as one would expect a mature composer/performer to be. The slow movement is especially beautiful and Mozartean. And the faster movements are rhythmic and sprightly.

Needless to say, Widmann plays 21st century contemporary music with great color, spirit, and verve. His mutiphonics and other extended techniques sound like they belong in the piece rather than "unintended consequences." Thanks, Klose for the sampling. You saved me the trouble of posting those.



Post Edited (2018-03-08 07:16)

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 Re: Jorg Widmann in the Mozart Quintet
Author: Tobin 
Date:   2018-03-08 07:05

Thank you, Klose, for the links -- I look forward to listening to them.

Thank you, Seabreeze, for your thoughts. I don't have any expectation of what Stadler sounded like, nor what Widmann should do. I agree that Widmann performs eloquently and accentuates the line.

It is not reasonable to have much expectation after hearing one recording, so the issue is mine.

James

Gnothi Seauton

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 Re: Jorg Widmann in the Mozart Quintet
Author: Klose 2017
Date:   2018-03-08 08:15

Furthermore, I would like to add that in our clarinet world, we really need people like him. Music of Mozart, Brahms, Weber etc. are certainly great, but we cannot play them only forever. We need new contemporary pieces to give our instrument new life and also extend the expression ways of our instruments, otherwise people would only think, ok, the clarinet is just an instrument with far less repertoire than violin, cello and piano, and clarinetists will never have a chance to have recitals or to perform concertos as frequently as violinists. Many years ago, when I first had a listen of the piece "Five Fragments" performed by him in live, it changed my understanding of my instrument, and suddenly I realized the clarinet can express much more things than we normally know.

FYI, please also have a look at the sheet music of his Three Shadow Dances. Reading the instructions would be as interesting as listening (just click preview).

https://en.schott-music.com/shop/drei-schattentaenze-no306699.html



Post Edited (2018-03-08 08:59)

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 Re: Jorg Widmann in the Mozart Quintet
Author: Liquorice 
Date:   2018-03-08 11:32

"how forced and edgy his sound was"

I just listened to some of the Concerto recording with the hr Sinfonieorchester. It seems to me that Widmann is struggling, especially at the beginning, to bring his instrument up to the pitch of the orchestra. This is most noticeable in the right hand clarion register. The combination of trying to play loudly enough over a modern symphony orchestra while simultaneously trying to lip up the intonation is bound to bring out the most forced and edgy aspects of your sound.

I heard Widmann once live playing the Brahms Quintet with the Hagen quartet. It was a fantastic performance and I thought his sound was gorgeous, although he never had to push his sound to be heard over the quartet.

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 Re: Jorg Widmann in the Mozart Quintet
Author: Tobin 
Date:   2018-03-08 18:13

Thank you Liquorice — obviously there will be significant differences between concerto performance and chamber playing. I’m please that I’m not alone in hearing something that was less flattering in and around a beautiful performance.

Earlier is said that “I didn’t like the performance anywhere near as much”. This is wrong. Specifically (as already discussed) it was the sound. The performance was wonderful.

James

Gnothi Seauton

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 Re: Jorg Widmann in the Mozart Quintet
Author: seabreeze 
Date:   2018-03-08 20:09

Here's Widmann in two different performances of his solo clarinet Fantasie:

Lot's of colors in this palette--https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=jorg-widmann+fantasie+fur+Klarinette+solo.



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 Re: Jorg Widmann in the Mozart Quintet
Author: Klose 2017
Date:   2018-03-19 10:26

Is anyone here able to watch Mezzo Live HD?

http://www.orchestredeparis.com/fr/concerts/concert-a-trois-orchestres_3027.html

Widmann is going to play his Echo-Fragmente with Orchestre de Paris, and this concert will be live streamed on Mezzo Live HD. Although I have the audio recording, it would be super nice if someone could record the video because it is really interesting to see how two orchestras, one modern, one baroque, with different tuning (modern 443 HZ, baroque 430 Hz), can be linked together by the solo clarinet.

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