Mahler Days – Festive Days
“I was still a student when I heard Leonard Bernstein conducting Mahler in Vienna. I was absolutely overwhelmed by the brilliance of the music. Mahler had incredible imaginative powers. […] In the summertime, he used to live in total isolation. He was composing in a tiny house, where he went out to early in the morning and spent the whole day there. He purposefully arranged everything in order to avoid human beings while working on his compositions. He produced his greatest masterpieces under such circumstances,” says Iván Fischer, who cherishes a special relationship with Mahler’s music.
This relationship is acknowledged by critics too: the orchestra’s recording of Symphony No. 5 brought them two international awards in the summer. Following the tradition of the Mahler Fest, we are organising Mahler Days with performances of his Symphony No. 4 and Songs of a Wayfarer on October 3, 4 and 5. The Mahler programme is completed with Four Last Songs by Richard Strauss. The soloist is Swedish soprano Miah Persson, who has been a guest of the Festival Orchestra several times.
“The point is not to take the world’s opinion as a guiding star but to go one’s way in life and working unerringly, neither depressed by failure nor seduced by applause.” Gustav Mahler
During his lifetime, Gustav Mahler’s works found only minor, local success; after the composer’s death things went to the other extreme giving rise to a Mahler cult. This duality is the subject of the lecture delivered by British writer and music critic Norman Lebrecht (editor of Slipped Disc) on October 5 at 2.30 pm in the Banner Square of the Palace of Arts.
What were the reasons for the negative feelings toward the Austrian conductor-composer in the 19th century and what made him accepted and renowned in the 20th? These are the questions to be answered.