Jonathan Crow Plays Beethoven

We all know that composers like Felix Mendelssohn and Ludwig van Beethoven are at the center of the European music tradition. I believe that Jörg Widmann is a continuation of that tradition, which is why I decided to link pieces written in the first half of the nineteenth century to one composed in 2008. Widmann is one of the best clarinetists of our time, as well as an internationally-acclaimed composer. He uses clear quotations from Beethoven in his piece Con brio, but in his own language. In Widmann’s music, the influence of the German tradition, from Brahms to Alban Berg, is always clear. (Something to note: Widmann’s Con brio and Beethoven’s Violin Concerto both start with an unusual timpani solo!)

I believe that Felix Mendelssohn is a composer who really resonates with our time. His contemporary personality and his interest in traveling and discovering new things connects with us, and this is something reflected in his music. When I think of the concept of the “singing violin,” I believe there is no other piece quite like the Beethoven Violin Concerto. This piece, with its virtuosic passages and cantabile lines, is like an opera for violin and orchestra.

I am delighted to conduct this program in my Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony debut.