Paavo Jarvi, The Juilliard String Quartet, Carolyn Sampson

Originally published March 2014

Paavo Järvi is one of the busiest contemporary conductors, working here with the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra on  a programme combining three pieces by Jorg Widmann with complementary works by Mauricio Kagel, Beat Furrer and Peter Ruzicka. The latter’s “Clouds” is an accumulation of sonic droplets and mist into a torrential downpour, while Kagel’s Etude No 3 offers a Stravinskian cacophony of horns. But it’s Widmann’s title track that stands out: inspired by Mozart’s interest in the glass harmonica,  it features a blend of strings, accordion and tuned percussion emulating that instrument’s long, keening tones, everything shaped “lightly and vitreously... like a musical suspension of gravity”,  as Widmann describes it.

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