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Jagdquartett/Hunting Quartet - String Quartet No.3

Jörg Widmann (b. 1973)

Signum Quartet (photo credit: Irene Zandel)

Signum Quartet (photo credit: Irene Zandel)

Composer
Jörg Widmann (b. 1973)
Composition Year
2003
Artists
Signum Quartet (Kerstin Dill, Annette Walther [violins], Xandi van Dijk [viola], and Thomas Schmitz [cello]) [quartet]

Programme Note Writer:
© Kerry Smith

Jörg Widmann is one of the most prominent living composers today, having already served as composer-in-residence for the Schleswig-Holstein and Lucerne Festivals, the Cleveland Orchestra, Vienna Konzerthaus and the West Cork Chamber Music Festival. Widmann, a world class clarinetist, is also deeply passionate about chamber music and will collaborate this season with the Hagen, Arcanto and Minguet Quartets, with Tabea Zimmermann, Antoine Tamestit and Francesco Piemontesi.

Widmann’s Jagdquartett (‘Hunt’ Quartet) is the third in a five-part string quartet cycle; this middle work is the climax and most idiosyncratic of the series. It begins by quoting romantic composer Robert Schumann’s Papillons Op.2 and quickly dissolves into an avant-garde take on the tale of the hunt. This high energy piece represents the fast movement of the cycle, the Scherzo. Whereas Mozart’s Hunt Quartet painted a joyful outing in the country and the gaiety of the sport, Widmann’s Hunt Quartet seeks the thrill of the kill. 

The piece begins with a cry from the quartet: the chase is on! The last variation from Schumann’s Papillons is played brutally and with different stages of recognition, often slipping into a shrieking ponticello or glissando with occasional vocal interjections from the quartet. At first the four parts seem to ebb and flow together, slithering in pursuit of their prey, but the jig from Papillons fades to a distant memory as one travels deeper into the dark forest of Widmann’s imagination. Melody has been replaced with an exploration in soft, scratchy strokes that culminate into a series of screams from the quartet and then the lagging shouts of the cellist. Suddenly, one realizes the cellist has gone from hunter to hunted. The tension is palpable as the upper strings quietly surround their victim and a guttural wail from the cellist signals that dinner is served.

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Jagdquartett/Hunting Quartet - String Quartet No.3

Composer: Jörg Widmann (b. 1973)
Performance date: Saturday 27th June 2015
Venue: St. Brendan's Church, Bantry, Co Cork, Ireland

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Composer Jörg Widmann (b. 1973)
Work Title Jagdquartett/Hunting Quartet - String Quartet No.3
Composition Year 2003
Artist(s) Signum Quartet (Kerstin Dill, Annette Walther [violins], Xandi van Dijk [viola], and Thomas Schmitz [cello]) [quartet]
Performance Date Saturday 27th June 2015
Performance Venue St. Brendan's Church, Bantry, Co Cork, Ireland
Event Crespo Series
Duration 00:10:58
Recording Engineer Richard McCullough, RTÉ lyric fm
Instrumentation Category String Quartet
Instrumentation 2vn, va, vc
Programme Note Writer © Kerry Smith

Jörg Widmann is one of the most prominent living composers today, having already served as composer-in-residence for the Schleswig-Holstein and Lucerne Festivals, the Cleveland Orchestra, Vienna Konzerthaus and the West Cork Chamber Music Festival. Widmann, a world class clarinetist, is also deeply passionate about chamber music and will collaborate this season with the Hagen, Arcanto and Minguet Quartets, with Tabea Zimmermann, Antoine Tamestit and Francesco Piemontesi.

Widmann’s Jagdquartett (‘Hunt’ Quartet) is the third in a five-part string quartet cycle; this middle work is the climax and most idiosyncratic of the series. It begins by quoting romantic composer Robert Schumann’s Papillons Op.2 and quickly dissolves into an avant-garde take on the tale of the hunt. This high energy piece represents the fast movement of the cycle, the Scherzo. Whereas Mozart’s Hunt Quartet painted a joyful outing in the country and the gaiety of the sport, Widmann’s Hunt Quartet seeks the thrill of the kill. 

The piece begins with a cry from the quartet: the chase is on! The last variation from Schumann’s Papillons is played brutally and with different stages of recognition, often slipping into a shrieking ponticello or glissando with occasional vocal interjections from the quartet. At first the four parts seem to ebb and flow together, slithering in pursuit of their prey, but the jig from Papillons fades to a distant memory as one travels deeper into the dark forest of Widmann’s imagination. Melody has been replaced with an exploration in soft, scratchy strokes that culminate into a series of screams from the quartet and then the lagging shouts of the cellist. Suddenly, one realizes the cellist has gone from hunter to hunted. The tension is palpable as the upper strings quietly surround their victim and a guttural wail from the cellist signals that dinner is served.