News - 08 Jun 2023
Introducing the conductor and soloists for Song of the Earth : James Judd
Mahler famously said, ‘A Symphony must be like the world. It must contain everything’. Surely we can say the same about Mozart, whose 'Piano Concerto No. 21' opens this evening’s concert.
Mahler famously said, ‘A Symphony must be like the world. It must contain everything’. Surely we can say the same about Mozart, whose Piano Concerto No. 21 opens this evening’s concert. Through the different languages of these masters, we experience every nuance of human emotion. Of course, Mahler was renowned as a great conductor and an admirer of Mozart’s music. Whilst Director of the Court Opera in Vienna Brahms reported ‘The Mahler productions of Mozart operas have become the model for all Europe’.
We welcome Benjamin Carter as piano soloist tonight. A remarkable young musician, Benjamin and I performed together with the NZSO during the Covid times. The musicians and I were greatly impressed and I am sure you will be too.
Performing Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde (The Song of the Earth) from 1908 is always the most special experience for everyone. When talking to Bruno Walter about the final movement Abschied, Mahler pointed out the difficulties for the conductor and jokingly asked “Can you think of a way to conduct that, because I can’t.“ Unfortunately, the composer died before ever conducting this great masterpiece, the first performance being undertaken in 1911 by Walter. In 1909 Mahler wrote “If I am to find my way back to myself, I have got to accept the horrors of loneliness. I speak in riddles, since you do not know what has gone on and is going on within. It is surely no hypochondriac fear of death, as you might suppose. I have long known that I must die. Without trying to explain or describe something for which there are probably no words, I simply say that at a single stroke I have lost any calm and peace of mind that I have ever achieved. I stand vis-à-vis de rien [face to face with nothingness], and now, at the end of my life, have to learn again to walk and stand.”
We are all especially fortunate to welcome Simon O’Neill and Wendy Dawn Thompson who join us for what promises to be an extraordinary evening.
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