About the program
From the biography of Alma Mahler we know how intensively Gustav Mahler worked in the summer of 1909. It was at this time that he finished his ninth symphony, to which, however, he did not give a number. He was afraid of the number nine: Beethoven composed nine symphonies before he died. The same applies to Dvořák and Bruckner. Mahler’s intention was to trick fate when he gave the title ’a symphony for tenor and alto (or baritone)’ to his piece “Song of the Earth”, which he composed after the Eighth Symphony.
Anyway, Mahler did not manage to cheat fate in his short life, the ninth was his last complete symphony and he could only make drafts of the tenth. In April 1910 he informed Bruno Walter, one of the most authentic interpreters of his works, about the new symphony. “The composition itself (…) is a very pleasant enrichment of my little family. I express something that I have been meaning to say for a long time, it might perhaps (when completed) be paired with my fourth symphony. (But it is completely different.)”
Though in terms of character the fourth and the ninth symphony are very much different from one another, after the experimental approach he took in-between the two, Mahler returns to the classical four-movement form in the last symphony. The premiere conducted by his loyal friend Bruno Walter took place in June 1912, after Mahler’s death.
Around the concert
Franz Willnauer: Rätselhaftes Spätwerk – Gedanken zu Mahlers Neunter Symphonie
Palace of Arts, Budapest
November 28, 6pm, 2013
Mahler researcher and festival director Franz Willnauer will deliver a lecture on the piece of the evening concert, Mahler’s Ninth Symphony, as part of the Mahler Days at the Palace of Arts on 28 November, 6pm. Says Willnauer of his very first experience of the Ninth Symphony: “Although the paper that I was working for sent me to this concert to write a review, I found myself in a peculiar state of mind after leaving the concert hall that words absolutely failed me, what is more, I was barely able to take a breath. I could not help but borrow one of Rilke’s most beautiful poems, which contains the response to the effect of high artistic experiences: “You must change your life.”
Mahler in Budapest
Palace of Arts, Budapest
November 28-December 1, 2013
Also in relation to the Mahler Days, we remember Mahler’s time spent in Budapest with a photo exhibition at the Palace of Arts.