Widmann, Znaider, Terfel: The best classical music concerts this week

Beethoven’s knottiest composition opens ICO’s programme; Welsh bass-baritone Bryn Terfel at NCH

The Irish Chamber Orchestra’s latest programme under opens under Jörg Widmann (pictured). File photograph


ICO/Jörg Widmann
Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin, 8pm, €25/€22/€10/€5, irishchamberorchestra.com; also Limerick, Thurs
Hot on the heels of the ConTempo String Quartet's performance of Beethoven's Grosse Fuge at Music for Galway's Midwinter Festival comes another, this time with an orchestral perspective on the work. The piece, which has a fair claim to being Beethoven's knottiest composition, opens the Irish Chamber Orchestra's (ICO)latest programme under Jörg Widmann. It's in pretty rarefied company. Erich Wolfgang Korngold's rarely-heard Symphonic Serenade of 1947 aims for full orchestral texture and richness with just a body of strings and was written for a complement of 64 players, a multiple of what the ICO will use. Also on offer is the aria for 13 strings that Widmann wrote in 2015, and one of the series symphonies for strings that Felix Mendelssohn wrote as a teenager. He completed the ninth of these youthful works on March 12th, 1823, a month after his 14th birthday.


Nikolaj Znaider
NCH, Dublin, 8pm, €27.50-€55, nch.ie
Danish-Israeli violinist Nikolaj Znaider, one of the most refined and musicianly of virtuoso, returns to the National Concert Hall with regular piano partner Robert Kulek. Their programme includes sonatas by Beethoven (Op 12 No 1 in D), Brahms (Op 78 in G) and Prokofiev (Op 94 in D) as well as a selection of Shostakovich's Preludes for piano (Op 34) arranged for violin and piano by Dmitri Tsyganov. Tsyganov was the leader of the Beethoven Quartet, which gave the premiers of most of Shostakovich's quartets. The composer, he reported, preferred his arrangements to the original, and told Tsyganov, "I don't even know why I wrote the Preludes as piano pieces; I think they sound much better on the violin."


Bryn Terfel
NCH, Dublin, 7.30pm, €29.50-€69.50, nch.ie

Bryn Terfel

Bryn Terfel, the Welsh bass-baritone, is one of the most popular singers to visit Ireland. He sings. He talks. He does a handful each of opera arias and numbers from musicals. And he has audiences eating out of his hand. Terfel's latest visit, with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra under another Welshman, Gareth Jones, has arias by Mozart, Wagner and Boito, Kurt Weill's Mack the Knife and selections from Oklahoma, Camelot and Fiddler on the Roof. I said he was popular, so if you haven't got your ticket yet, you'll have to get in the queue for returns.