In the April 2023 edition of The Strad, violinist Carolin Widmann talks about her late discovery of Benjamin Britten’s Violin Concerto. ‘I learnt it very late in life, actually only about three years ago,’ she says. ‘It’s a bit of an enigma. I think we Germans can be a bit arrogant about repertoire, and we tend to have a very German-centred idea about pieces. I don’t remember anyone ever playing the Britten Concerto. But when I was finally asked to play it, I was blown away. I thought: “How could that have escaped me for so long?”’
Performances were scheduled for a tour in the Netherlands in March 2020, which, Widmann explains, collapsed concert by concert as Covid restrictions began to bite. She finally toured the piece in the Netherlands last autumn, followed by performances in Hanover, Frankfurt and Belgrade, with a concert in Chemnitz in mid-April. ‘It was really like a liberation, and it meant that the pandemic is over. For me, the Britten is an absolute discovery and a masterpiece. It’s astonishing at my age to discover something so amazing.’
Watch Carolin Widmann perform Britten’s Violin Concerto with Hugh Wolff conducting the Frankfurt Radio Symphony at the Alte Oper Frankfurt, Germany, on 10 February 2023.
Read: ‘It feels like everything coming together in life’ - Carolin Widmann (For subscribers)
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