Performance Sunday, April 2, 2017 | 3 PM

Jörg Widmann
Mitsuko Uchida

Zankel Hall
Masters meet when clarinetist-composer Jörg Widmann and pianist Mitsuko Uchida perform music of Schubert, Schumann, Brahms, Berg, and Widmann. The Times (London) has praised Widmann for his “masterfully fluid tone control over every register, from the highest cloud-covered peak to the lowest velvet burblings.” Uchida, of course, is “among the most respected artists of our time” (The New York Times).


  • Jörg Widmann, Clarinet
    NY Recital Debut
  • Mitsuko Uchida, Piano


  • BRAHMS Clarinet Sonata in F Minor, Op. 120, No. 1
  • BERG Four Pieces for Clarinet and Piano, Op. 5
  • JÖRG WIDMANN Fantasie for Solo Clarinet
  • SCHUBERT Impromptu in C Minor, D. 899, No. 1
  • JÖRG WIDMANN Sonatina facile (co-commissioned by Carnegie Hall)
  • SCHUMANN Fantasiestücke

Event Duration

The printed program will last approximately two hours, including one 20-minute intermission.

At a Glance

Towards the end of his extraordinary career, Johannes Brahms was encouraged out of self-imposed retirement by the singing soulfulness of the clarinet. The playing of German clarinetist Richard Mühlfeld inspired an extraordinary crop of late masterpieces from the composer, including two clarinet sonatas in 1894.

At the time of Brahms’s death three years later, Alban Berg was already a teenager and would soon begin to compose music in his own right, starting with songs and later—under the guidance of his teacher Arnold Schoenberg—a series of increasingly bold instrumental works. The harmonic language of this so-called Second Viennese School reached an expressive peak just before World War I, as heard in the Four Pieces for Clarinet and Piano that Berg wrote in 1913. Aphoristic and atonal though they may be, these works pack a considerable emotional punch.  

That is also the case, of course, in Schubert’s miniatures—written nearly a century earlier—such as his 1827 piano impromptus. We hear one of these poetic songs without words between contemporary composer and clarinetist Jörg Widmann’s life-filled Fantasie—in which he imagines various figures coming together “in the spirit of commedia dell’arte”—and his Sonatina facile, a work that reflects the composer’s creative engagement with music of the past, in this case Mozart’s popular Piano Sonata in C Major. Schumann’s musical vision takes center stage in the final work on this afternoon’s program; the composer often trod a difficult emotional path, but in his 1849
Fantasiestücke, we find him reconciling differences and closing on a palpably positive note.
Program Notes
Lead support for the 125 Commissions Project is provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Public support for the 125 Commissions Project is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts.
Additional funding is provided by members of Carnegie Hall's Composer Club.
This performance is part of Chamber Sessions III.