Christian Tetzlaff / Daniel Harding / Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra

Jörg Widmann: Violin Concerto; Insel der Sirenen; Antiphon

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For this 2013 release from Ondine, violinist Christian Tetzlaff, conductor Daniel Harding, and the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra present three exciting works by Jörg Widmann, a German composer who possesses an impressive talent for orchestration. The Violin Concerto is the most imposing piece on the program, at nearly a half hour in duration and of an exceptionally wide range of techniques and sonorities, and it serves as a powerfully expressive vehicle for Tetzlaff. Long lines predominate, and the tonal inflections of the chromatic writing make it quite accessible to listeners who don't normally listen to contemporary works. Antiphon is a vivid display of the orchestra's sections in call and response, and the interplay of these groups is transparent to the attentive listener and fascinating on repeated listening. The closing work, Insel der Sirenen (Island of the Sirens), was inspired by Homer's Odyssey, and Tetzlaff's violin is pitted against 19 strings, often grouped in cluster formations, in an extraordinary competition of sounds. Because Widmann's music is uncompromising and decidedly adventurous, audiences may find it a bit challenging, though the coherence of his compositions and the freshness of his orchestral colors go a long way toward making this music appealing.

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