Mahler Fourth: A Wicked New Look
Turn-of-the-century Vienna was the epicenter of an artistic explosion that was cosmopolitan and irreverent, mixing tradition with folk influences from across the Austro-Hungarian empire. It was here that Mahler penned his Fourth Symphony —not long after his fellow Bohemian Dvorak adapted African American and Indian influences for his New World Symphony.
In a sense, Mahler 4 presages the emergence of jazz: the music riffs on itself throughout, replacing “classical” repetition of themes with constant variation. It feeds upon folk and dance tunes and rollicks with inner conflicts and contradictions, expressing Mahler’s own struggles as an assimilated Jew in the Hapsburg capital that was both artistically liberating and anti-Semitic.
PostClassical Ensemble premieres a new chamber version that spotlights these influences center stage. The symphony’s whirling scherzo becomes a concertino for bass trombone —a wicked showcase for one of the world’s great instrumentalists, David Taylor. Mahler wanted this solo to sound odd, other-worldly, if not diabolical, directing the violin to tune up a whole tone and to play roguishly. This style is squarely in Taylor’s sweet spot and will be a performance unlike any other.
- Gustav Mahler: Funeral March (from Symphony No. 1). Arranged by Angel Gil-Ordóñez for chamber ensemble.
- Gustav Mahler: Wenn mein Schatz Hochzeit macht (from Songs of a Wayfarer, 1884-1885). Arranged by Angel Gil-Ordóñez for bass trombone and chamber ensemble.
- Gustav Mahler: Symphony No. 4 (1899-1900). Arranged by Klaus Simon for chamber ensemble (2007):
- Bedachtig, nicht eilen
- In gemachlicher Bewegung, ohne Hast. Recast by Joseph Horowitz and Angel Gil-Ordóñez as Mahlerei for bass trombone and chamber ensemble. Premiere performance.
- Ruhevoll, poco adagio
- Sehr behaglich
- David Taylor, bass trombone
- Madeleine Murnick, soprano
- PostClassical Ensemble conducted by Angel Gil-Ordóñez
- Phone: (202) 467-4600
- Venue: The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Terrace Theater, 2700 F St., NW, Washington, D.C. 20566
News / Reviews
Best of classical music in 2022— The Washington Post, published on December 22, 2022
PostClassical Ensemble gives Mahler’s 4th symphony ‘A Wicked New Look’— The Washington Post, published on April 21, 2022
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