Many of Jörg Widmann’s works reveal a specific engagement with traditional musical forms, and his new Piano Concerto Trauermarsch – his first work in the genre – is no exception. “I don’t consider what is new a self-contained quality,” says the composer. In these concerts conducted by Sir Simon Rattle, none other than Yefim Bronfman will premiere Widmann’s Piano Concerto. “What keeps me going is the new repertory,” the world-renowned pianist tells the Los Angeles Times. “Learning new pieces and commissioning new works is what I enjoy most.”
The concert begins with the Prelude to Richard Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde and ends with Jean Sibelius’s mystical tone poem The Swan of Tuonela and his Fifth Symphony. The last work clearly links to Sibelius’s Impressionist tone poems from the same era and boasts an entire palette of brilliant orchestral effects. Despite the success of the premiere, Sibelius revised the work and wrote as he worked on the Finale, “The entire piece [...] is a vital heightening towards the end. Triumphant!” In this form, the Fifth quickly became the most popular of Sibelius’s symphonies.