Zimmermann, Gerhaher, Widmann, Stefanovich

Stabat Mater
Music by Wolfgang Rihm

Tabea Zimmermann, Christian Gerhaher, Jörg Widmann and Tamara Stefanovich – these artists are long-time friends, musicians who have time and again brought Wolfgang Rihm’s compositions to resounding life and continue to do so: Together with members of the Berliner Philharmoniker, they will create an entire evening of the composer’s music. At the centre of the concert stands the world premiere of “Stabat Mater”, a great duo for baritone and viola.

Wolfgang Rihm

Wolfgang Rihm

© Universal Edition / Eric Marinitsch

Past Dates

For Christian Gerhaher, Wolfgang Rihm wrote the lied-cycle “Tasso-Gedanken” two years ago; for Tabea Zimmermann, he composed the viola concerto “Über die Linie IV” twenty years ago: “There it is. Again, it’s nothing Paganini-esque … inner monologue from beginning to end … Everything is line, there’s no scraping anywhere, but singing all the time,” he wrote to the dedicatee. The vocal quality is the viola’s strength, says Zimmermann, and this is what she endeavours to do at all times: “to let my instrument sing.” In his new work, Wolfgang Rihm brings together two voices that have always wanted to sing together, a duo of baritone and viola. The work is a “Stabat Mater”, a largely dimensioned duo of two intertwined lines. Rihm has turned to the medieval poem once before: In the Passion pieces according to Luke, “Deus Passus”, he put five of the 20 verses to music for mezzo-soprano, alto, harp and strings. The new “Stabat Mater” includes all of the verses and assigns the text to the male voice. – “Vier Male” was the title of four pieces for solo clarinet, created for his clarinettist and fellow composer Jörg Widmann. This developed into “Male über Male” for clarinet and strings and, finally, into “Male über Male 2” for clarinet, piano, harp, percussion and strings. The clarinet’s line, carried by breath, receives a counteracting sound: the beaten, percussive, torn and resonating sounds of harp, piano and percussion. The composition “Sphäre nach Studie”, which will open the concert, is entirely pervaded by these sounds.

Concert Programme

Wolfgang Rihm (*1952)

Sphäre nach Studie (1993/2002)
for 6 instrumentalists

Stabat Mater
for viola and baritone (2020)
Commissioned by Berliner Festspiele / Musikfest Berlin and Berliner Philharmoniker Foundation
World premiere

Male über Male 2
for clarinet and 9 instrumentalists (2000/2008)


Christian Gerhaher baritone
Tabea Zimmermann viola

Tamara Stefanovich piano
Jörg Widmann clarinet

Musicians of the Berliner Philharmoniker
Anastasia Makropoulou, Marion Ravot harp
Jan Schlichte, Franz Schindlbeck percussion
Ulrich Knörzer, Micha Afkham viola
Claudio Bohorquez cello
Matthew McDonald, Peter Riegelbauer double bass

Stanley Dodds conductor

Programme and cast are subject to change

A Berliner Festspiele – Musikfest Berlin event in cooperation with the Berliner Philharmoniker Foundation.