Jörg Widmann: Arche evaluation formidable welcome to the Elbphilharmonie fails to persuade

, Hamburg’s lengthy delayed and wildly over-budget live performance corridor, . did embody a brand new work – an orchestral tune cycle by Wolfgang Rihm – however the main premiere the celebrations adopted two days later, when and the Hamburg Philharmonic launched ’s evening-long oratorio, Arche.

It’s that first efficiency, involving soprano and baritone soloists and , in addition to grownup and kids’s choirs, an organ and an enormous orchestra, all them expertly marshalled by Nagano, which is now launched on disc.

The title, “Ark”, comes from the hanging look the brand new corridor itself, which Widmann noticed as an “ark tradition”, overlooking the water in Hamburg. The music is designed as an exploration the altering relationship between man and God, assembling a textual content in Latin and German that’s a mosaic extracts, ranging chronologically from the Old Testament as much as Nietzsche and Hans Andersen. The scheme 5 large-scale actions appears to start as a biblical pageant earlier than remodeling itself right into a requiem mass: the primary three elements, launched by little one narrators, take care of the creation the world, the flood and the beginnings love and evil, after which come a Dies Irae and a Dona Nobis Pacem.

Whether this turns into the formidable assertion Widmann envisaged is uncertain, and for all its fluency, the music doesn’t make it any extra convincing. There are spectacular orchestral and choral results, dramatically contrasted with passages lieder-like simplicity, and as ever with Widmann, historic references abound inside the polyglot rating – the apocalyptic visions the Dies Irae are answered by a setting Schiller’s Ode to Joy, as an illustration, throughout which Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy is extensively quoted – however it all appears too pat, too contrived.

Other classical picks this week

, Pentatone’s two-disc assortment works by , performed by the performed by , offers belated recognition final yr’s centenary the excellent Korean composer the 20th century, who spent the final 30 years his life exiled in Germany. Together with some solo instrumental items and an orchestral showpiece, the principle focus is a pair substantial concertos. is the very good soloist within the fiercely confrontational, single-movement Cello Concerto from 1976, certainly one the best works for cello and orchestra the final 50 years, whereas is equally completed within the extra lyrical solo writing the primary Yun’s three concertos for violin, composed 5 years later.