Chór NFM, fot. Łukasz Rajchert
Orchestral concerts
Boreyko Conducts Mahler's Second Symphony | Closing of the NFM Wrocław Philharmonic Season
30.06.2017
Fri.
7:00 PM
NFM, Main Hall
Programme:

G. Mahler Symphony No. 2 in C minor ''Resurrection' 

Performers:

Andrzej Boreyko – conductor
Olga Pasichnyk – soprano
Nora Gubisch – mezzo-soprano
NFM Choir
Youth choirs of the Choral Academy project
Agnieszka Franków-Żelazny – artistic director
NFM Wrocław Philharmonic

Venue:
NFM, Main Hall
plac Wolności 1, 50-071 Wrocław
Pricelists:
from 25 to 200 zł

Andrzej Boreyko was born in St. Petersburg where, at the Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatory, he studied conducting and composition with Elisabeta Kudriavtseva and Alexander Dmitriev. While with the Jenaer Philharmonie, Boreyko received awards for the most innovative concert programming in three consecutive seasons from the German Music Critics Association, Deutscher Musikverleger-Verband. Boreyko serves as Music Director of the Orchestre National de Belgique and the Düsseldorfer Symphoniker. He is Music Director Designate of the Naples Philharmonic and he holds the position of Principal Guest Conductor of the Orquesta Sinfónica de Euskadi. Boreyko has previously held positions as Chief Conductor of the Jenaer Philharmonie, where he is now Honorary Conductor, and the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, as well as the Berner Symphonieorchester, the Hamburger Symphoniker and the Poznań Philharmonic Orchestra. He was previously Principal Guest Conductor of the Vancouver Symphony and Music Director of the Ural State Philharmonic Orchestra.

Gustav Mahler’s Second “Resurrection” Symphony, was written between 1888 and 1894. Mahler originally wrote the first movement as a symphonic poem titled Todtenfeier (Funeral Rites). Mahler had long entertained the idea of using Todtenfeier as the beginning of a symphony and it was in the summer of 1893 that he composed the second and third movements. The finale followed in the spring and summer of 1894 and later that year, the song Urlicht (Primal Light) written in 1892, was inserted as the fourth movement. The complete symphony was premiered on December 13, 1895 with Mahler leading the Berlin Philharmonic.

In Mahler’s imagination, the hero of the First Symphony is borne to his grave in the funeral music of the Second. The composer claimed that “the climactic dénouement [of the First] comes only in the Second.” The second and third movements represent retrospect. The fourth and fifth movements are the resolution and deal with the Last Judgment, redemption, and resurrection. Thus it is widely felt that the Second Symphony tells a story about the existential search for understanding and a coming to terms with life’s trials and complexities.

When Mahler first visited the Hamburg Opera in 1891 Hans von Bülow was in charge of the symphony concerts. As von Bülow’s health declined, Mahler began to substitute for him. Mahler’s emotions were stirred at the time of von Bülow’s death in 1894. At the memorial service, the choir sang a setting of the “Resurrection Hymn” by the eighteenthcentury Saxon poet Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock. “It struck me like lightning,” Mahler wrote to Arthur Seidl, “and everything was revealed to my soul clear and plain.” He took the first two stanzas of Klopstock’s hymn and added verses of his own that deal still more explicitly with redemption and resurrection.

The first movement of Todtenfeier adheres to the classical sonata tradition with its march-like character. The thematic material of the second movement is a dance that goes back to Leipzig and the time of the Todtenfeier. The third movement is a symphonic expansion of the Knaben Wunderhorn song about Saint Anthony of Padua’s sermon to the fishes. The movement employs chamber music scoring that is organic, detailed and inventive. The score specifies an explicit pause “of at least five minutes” after the first movement and demands that the last three movements follow one another without interruption. In March 1903, Mahler wrote to Julius Buths and told him that there ought to be “an ample pause for gathering one’s thoughts after the first movement because the second movement has the effect after the first, not of contrast, but as a mere irrelevance. . . . The Andante is composed as a kind of intermezzo (like some lingering resonance of long past days from the life of him whom we bore to his grave in the first movement—something from the days when the sun still smiled upon him).”  Writing to the critic Arthur Seidl in 1897, Mahler referred to the middle movements as serving a role solely of an “interludium.” Apart from the Eighth Symphony, this composition was Mahler's most popular and successful work during his lifetime.

 

Alixandra Porembski, English Language Annotator

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