Journeys of Discovery: Freedom
Beethoven Fidelio: Overture
Mahler Des Knaben Wunderhorn (excerpts)
Beethoven arr. Mahler Symphony No.9, 'Choral’
Sir Andrew Davis Conductor
Elizabeth Watts Soprano
Claudia Huckle Contralto
Nicky Spence Tenor
Matthew Brook Bass-baritone
The Bach Choir
Tickets on sale Autumn 2022
Beethoven’s iconic Ninth Symphony is given a daring revision by Mahler, with a foreword from both composers inspired by folk songs and tales of derring-do.
Beethoven only wrote one opera, a swashbuckling romance called Fidelio, but he came up with four overtures for it. This one is the final word, offering a compact and dramatic account of the opera’s main themes of persecution, freedom and sacrifice.
Mahler was deeply drawn to the folk songs and texts called ‘Youth’s Magic Horn’. Over half of his songs are based on them and make the most of the range of moods they offer: wistful, parodic, innocent or macabre. These songs fertilised his first four symphonies as well, giving each their central character.
Mahler’s alterations to Beethoven’s ‘sacred’ Ninth Symphony was bound to court controversy, rather like Van Gogh touching up a Rembrandt portrait. But he did so from a deep knowledge and love of the work, having conducted it ten times. Mahler adds extra instruments and aimed to sharpen some of the textures, even adding some new countermelodies. He felt he ‘was carrying out Beethoven’s wishes in their minutest detail.’ You decide.
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