The highlight of the Irish Chamber Orchestra’s residency at this year’s Festival is a pair of concerts that brings two of Schubert’s key late works into creative juxtaposition with the music of Jörg Widmann, the ICO’s renowned artistic partner and one of Germany’s greatest living composers.

Performed by soloists of the ICO, with Widmann on clarinet, this first programme presents two radically different, yet complimentary, octets. Schubert’s pioneering work adds double-bass, clarinet, bassoon and horn to the traditional string quartet, enabling him to alternate the intimate tones of chamber music with large-scale orchestral effects in a delightfully light-hearted composition. It’s an approach to which Jörg Widmann pays tribute in his own octet, with its Schubertian intrada, anguished middle movement and energetic finale. 

Jörg Widmann was apparently born with enough energy for two people The Irish Times