“This week’s program from Andris Nelsons and the Boston Symphony Orchestra [featured] German clarinetist-composer Jörg Widmann’s ‘Partita (Five Reminiscences for Orchestra),’ ” writes Jeffrey Gantz in Friday’s (3/30) Boston Globe. “Commissioned jointly by the BSO and the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, which Nelsons also directs, ‘Partita’ had its world premiere in Leipzig; Thursday marked the 40-minute work’s US premiere. It’s a gloss on a Baroque dance suite, with movements marked Grave—Gigue, Andante, Divertimento, Sarabande, and Chaconne…. The Grave—Gigue is very grave (with Wagner tuba nods to ‘Tannhäuser’ and ‘Parsifal’)…. In the siciliana-like Andante, the pastoral English horn is overtaken by screaming strings…. The Sarabande pushes the bassoon to the spooky limit of its upper register. The concluding Chaconne is built on a rising 11-note scale…. Nelsons treated the piece as a five-movement symphony, keeping it under tight control and maintaining clarity even in the densest passages while underlining Widmann’s sly wit. He had superb support from his solo winds: Clint Foreman (alto flute), Robert Sheena (English horn), Alcides Rodriguez (bass clarinet), Craig Nordstrom (contra bass clarinet), and Richard Svoboda (bassoon).” Also on the program were Mozart’s Symphony No. 23 and Richard Strauss’s Don Quixote with cellist Yo-Yo Ma.

Posted April 3, 2018