Jörg Widmann (c) Marco Borggreve

Widmann and Late Romanticism


  • Jörg Widmann Trauermarsch (Dutch premiere)
  • Gustav Mahler First symphony 'Titan'

Trauermarsch - Jörg Widmann's title alone recalls Gustav Mahler. But with him, things are not always what they seem.

Hannes Minnaar plays Widmann's moving funeral march
In 2014, Jörg Widmann wrote Trauermarsch for piano and orchestra. It originated as an industrial accident. What should have become a four-movement piano concerto for Yefim Bronfman and the Berliner Philharmoniker became a one-movement piece based on the introduction, which also for Widmann unexpectedly evolved into a colossal funeral march based on the descending second which, as a mourning motif, sometimes explicitly and sometimes hiddenly dominates the entire piece. When you think of a funeral march, you think of Beethoven and Mahler - but perhaps not the almost defenseless intimacy and sometimes touching tenderness of the solo part in this piece.

Ambiguity in Widmann and Mahler
Here again, it turns out that with Widmann you should never take titles at their word. Above the piano part, in bar one, just a few bars before the orchestra launches "solemn and severe", is written: "Laconic, somewhat hesitant. Thus Widmann immediately creates the ambiguity that characterizes Trauermarsch; a dialectical play of light and dark, vital and broken. Just as ironic as the funeral march in Mahler's First Symphony, which, with its Father James canon and its intimate, lyrical-melancholic atmosphere, fits Widmann's masterpiece perfectly.

Saturday 28 January 2023
2:15 pm
The Royal Concertgebouw

Large Hall


Radio Philharmonic Orchestra
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James Gaffigan (c) Vera Mann
James Gaffigan
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Hannes Minnaar (c) Simon van Boxtel
Hannes Minnaar

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