Verizon Hall, Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, Philadelphia
The Jack Wolgin Orchestral Concert Series
Mahler’s compositional output throughout his life was relatively small, but his works were and remain among the largest and most demanding in the orchestral repertoire. In a famous comment to Jean Sibelius, Mahler remarked, "A symphony must be like the world. It must embrace everything." He certainly practiced what he preached, as his works span the spectrum of human emotion, often with abrupt changes of mood. The Symphony No. 5, completed in 1902, is intensely autobiographical, offering an intimate look at his views on love, life, and death.
1. Trauermarsch (Funeral March): The symphony opens with a distinctive funereal trumpet solo, immediately setting a macabre tone while also referencing the opening to Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5, one of the most famous themes in all of Western music. Mahler had a near-death experience prior to writing the symphony, which would influence much of his music during this period. Moments of nostalgia and rural folk music from his native Bohemia interrupt the action throughout.