BFO
Budapest Festival Orchestra

Tour: Amsterdam

Tour: Dortmund, Amsterdam (May 2020)

Amsterdam, Concertgebouw May 17, 2020, 20:00

Gerhild Romberger (mezzo-soprano) • Andrew Staples (tenor) • Conductor: Iván Fischer

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About the concert

Gustav Mahler: Adagio from Symphony No. 10 in F-sharp major;
Das Lied von der Erde

A farewell – to composing, to life, and to the beauty of Earth. With two outstanding Mahler singers, the Budapest Festival Orchestra will perform pieces by Mahler that no words could decipher. The evening will be conducted by Iván Fischer, who has devoted extraordinary attention and professionalism to Mahler’s oeuvre for several years.

Gustav Mahler was terrified by “the curse of Beethoven” or death following the composition of the ninth symphony, and his angst left some wonderful imprints in music. After the composer’s death, his entire Ninth Symphony and the sketches of his Symphony No. 10, including the first movement almost finished, were left in his drawer. The work, intended to have five movements, continues the meditative, tragic tone of the Ninth Symphony. The Adagio, the slow opening movement left to us, can be interpreted as the swansong of Mahler, who died while outlining the other movements, although a feeling of death approaching had already permeated his works for some time.

Mahler first expressed the looming possibility of his own death in Das Lied von der Erde (The Song of the Earth). The composition – in fact a symphony in its genre following Symphony No. 8 but without the fearsome number 9 – is the most personal piece of the composer. A piece with solo singers, it could also be called an orchestral song cycle. However, its theme, reaching out to the whole universe, makes it closer to the genre of symphony, which means “sounding together”. Mahler, who had lost his daughter a few years earlier and was suffering from heart problems, composed all his misery into this piece. However, his attitude to death does not stem from religion, but from celebrating nature. He is saying goodbye to the perennial beauty of Earth, where eternal life resides. The six songs include Das Lied von der Erde (The Song of the Earth), Der Einsame in Herbst (The Lonely One in Autumn), Von der Jugend (Of Youth), Von der Schönheit (Of Beauty), Der Trukene im Frühling (The Drunkard in Spring) and finally Der Abschied (The Farewell)…

For this performance, the orchestra will be joined by Gerhild Romberger, winner of several awards and famous for her Mahler recordings, as well as the English tenor, Andrew Staples, who was praised by Brachtrack for his resilient and lusty tone when singing this composition.