New Bristol Sinfonia - Archive
“It is music coming from another world, it is coming from eternity.”
Herbert von Karajan
Tonight’s concert immerses itself in the world of Gustav Mahler’s 9th Symphony. Mahler’s Symphonies were conceived not so much as musical compositions but rather as rich worlds complete with their own languages and this is no exception. Initially regarded as his “farewell to life, love and mortal existance” this was Mahler’s final completed symphony, and was premiered nearly a year after his death. A deeply suspicious man, Mahler regarded ninth symphonies as “composer-killers” - Beethoven and Schubert completed nine symphonies, and Bruckner died trying to finish his ninth, so Mahler initially refused to give it a number. However, letters from the composer have suggested that he was in fact embracing a thirst for life, and admitted that he regarded the work as being “a very satisfactory addition to my little family. In it something is said that I have had on the tip of my tongue for some time.” The first movement is considered by many to be Mahler’s most accomplished and rich symphonic writing. It is a vast movement, emotionally and rhythmically and is half an hour long. Opening with a soft, arrhythmic rhythm (perhaps a weakened heart-beat?) it’s climax is marked fff “with utmost violence”. A wide spectrum of emotions and themes are layered throughout the movement which ebbs and fades, gradually dissolving into silence.
The second movement provides a bizarre contrast with its jaunty Austrian peasant dances which see clumsy and sometimes grotesque figures whirling and lurching through a series of unsettled harmonic keys. An essence of the first movement is threaded back into the end of the movement through serene, more wistful themes.
The Rondo-Burleske is marked “very defiant”. The grotesque music is gradually transformed into a more calm, and reassuring melody by the solo trumpet, but the bold rebellious music returns to conclude the movement.
Mahler said of the final movement that “There is no more irony, no sarcasm, no resentment whatever; there is only the majesty of death.” The strings intone a hymn of solemn grace, and Malher’s unusual use of keys in this section mean that phrases end unexpectedly. A solo bassoon and double basses inject a sense of anxiety into the hymn which gradually disintegrates into passages of chamber music. The piece climbs to a huge orchestral climax, interruped by the first violins which sends the music into a dwindling, barely audible end which Mahler marked pppp “dying away”.
Date: Saturday 19 June, 2010
Venue: Victoria Rooms, Clifton, Bristol. Click here for a map
- Mahler – Symphony No 9
Conductor: Geoffrey Paterson
Leader: Mark Bunker
We recommend booking in advance with our Box Office: 07796 573869.
Cheques are accepted and there is no booking fee.
Pre-booked tickets will be posted to you or can be picked up at the door.
Most seats for this concert are numbered and can be reserved in advance. Click here to see a seating plan of the Victoria Rooms. The Box Office can advise on which seats are available and which have the best view.
The ticket prices are:
- £13 (£11 concessions) balcony
- £10 adults (£8 concessions) stalls
- £5 students
- £2 children/school parties
Geoffrey will be presenting a pre-concert talk at 6.45pm. This is open to all and entry is free.
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