Saturday, September 24, 2016

HSO Performs A 'Titanic' Symphony

The fetching Mrs. B and I are really looking forward to going to Jones Hall tonight [Saturday] in Houston, TX to hear Maestro Andres Orozco-Estrada lead our world class Houston Symphony Orchestra perform a truly titanic symphony by the Austrian late Romantic composer, Gustav Mahler, and his Symphony #1 in D Major, known as "The Titan". 


As in all of Mahler's brilliant symphonies this is a large work of just under an hour with a big sound, as Mahler scores this for a huge symphony orchestra.  This epic work has also been described as a symphonic tone poem. 

Gustav Mahler [1860 - 1911]
It contains one of my favorite movements of any symphony as in his third movement Mahler brilliantly uses a variation of the children's song "Frere Jacques" in a slower tempo and D minor key to create a haunting funeral march.  Mahler also inserts a touch of a Jewish Klezmer sound that I love in this movement.  The dramatic "energetic" and long final movement, which brings back some of the earlier themes, begins in F minor before returning to the D Major key for an exhilarating climactic ending.  As in Dvorak's final movement of his New World Symphony you get a false climax before a calm sets in until the actual dramatic ending many minutes later.

I have no doubt the Jones Hall audience will leap to their feet with shouts of Bravo after what I know will be a great performance by our Houston Symphony Orchestra. 

From the Houston Symphony Orchestra website"Mahler’s titanic Symphony No. 1 takes listeners from the lyrical purity of nature to the triumph of the earth-shattering finale, reflecting Mahler’s belief that "a symphony must be like the world: it must embrace everything."

You can also go to the HSO website to hear our great HSO musical ambassador, Maestro Carlos Andres Botero, "Podcast on the Music" discuss Mahler and his first symphony:  "Growing up is tough, especially if you're a German-speaking Jewish kid from Bohemia trying to make it as a composer in the 1880s.  Discover how the young Mahler's passions—for nature, philosophy and a married woman—inspired his first symphonic masterpiece." 

Sheralyn [whose birthday was yesterday September 23] and I are also looking forward to go early [about 45 minutes before the concert] to Jones Hall to hear Carlos Botero's "prelude" talk about Mahler and his "titanic" symphony.  Maestro Botero's informative and interesting talks are one of the special treats of going to an HSO concert at Jones Hall. 

Please turn up the volume to hear the first and final movement of this "titan" of a symphony that the fetching Mrs. B and I will enjoy tonight. 

Gustav Mahler:  Symphony #1 in D Major, "The Titan", Movement 3, Funeral March [based on "Frere Jacques" in D minor]:



Gustav Mahler: Symphony #1 in D Major, "The Titan", Movement 4, Agitated - Energetic:




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