Krzysztof Penderecki

Krzysztof Penderecki
Krzysztof Penderecki (1933-2020) conducting his oratorio "Seven Gates of Jerusalem" at the Winter Palace, St Petersburg, in 2001. Photo by Dmitry Lovetsky

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Gustav Mahler: Symphony No.6 in A minor "Tragic" – Orquesta Sinfónica de Galicia, Dima Slobodeniouk (HD 1080p)

The Russian conductor Dima Slobodeniouk conducts Orquesta Sinfónica de Galicia in Gustav Mahler's Symphony No.6 in A minor. Recorded at the Palacio de la Ópera de A Coruña, on January 5, 2016.

As with his Fifth Symphony, this work is exclusively instrumental. It is also Mahler's most "Classical" symphony in its form and layout. Although the Sixth Symphony has no specific program, much has been written about the "tragic" aspects of the work that gave rise to its subtitle, which, by the way, was withdrawn by Mahler before publication. The prevailingly dark mood is not unusual for Mahler, but there is no transformation into a glorious ending or peaceful resignation. It is his only symphony to end unremittingly in the minor. As for the autobiographical elements, it is known from Alma Mahler's memoirs that it may have been Mahler himself upon whom three hammer strokes of fate fall in the Finale, which seems strangely prophetic of the following year when Mahler lost his Vienna Opera position, lost his daughter, and was diagnosed with heart disease. The song quotes, Ländlers, country tunes, bird calls, and military marches are all gone. In their place is a powerful and stark contrapuntal texture, certainly not devoid of soaring melodies and lush harmonies, but lacking in the referential styles of the early symphonies. The entire symphony is unified by a motto theme that consists of a major moving to minor triad over a characteristic rhythm. It carries particular significance in the Finale, as it is linked with the aforementioned hammer strokes of fate. Many commentators believe this to be Mahler's most cohesive and tautly organized symphony.

Allegro energico, ma non troppo. Heftig, aber markig. (Not too fast. Vigorous, but marked). This is a standard sonata form with repeated exposition. The opening theme is harsh and march-like, while the sweeping second subject, written specifically as a portrayal of Mahler's wife, Alma, is in sharp contrast. The themes are developed imaginatively, and the movement closes triumphantly with the "Alma theme".

Scherzo. Wuchtig. (Forcefully). This movement is usually performed second, but Mahler seems to have always placed it after the Andante. This is the first of Mahler's really diabolical scherzos. It is a bizarre, grotesquely stamping dance full of percussive strokes and shrieking woodwinds. This alternates with a strange little trio to which Mahler gives the marking Altväterisch (Old-fashioned). It is full of rhythmic ingenuity in its timid and hesitant manner.

Andante moderato. (Moderately moving). Alma reported in her memoirs that this pastoral and nostalgic movement was a musical depiction of their children at play. It is simple in form, and rather yearning and plaintive in mood.

Finale. Sostenuto. (Sustained). This huge sonata-form movement is one of Mahler's most epic in scope and conception. It nearly dwarfs the rest of the Symphony and certainly represents its cornerstone, both structurally and emotionally. It opens with an impressionistic sweep that extends out to the somber introduction. After this, the main material is a powerful march that three times rises to exultation, only to be overcome by the motto theme and each of the three hammer strokes. The movement concludes with a long and mournful coda, unremitting to the end.

Source: Steven Coburn (

Gustav Mahler (1860-1911)

♪ Symphony No.6 in A minor "Tragic" (1903-1904)

i. Allegro energico, ma non troppo. Heftig, aber markig [00:00]*
ii. Andante moderato [24:47]
iii. Scherzo. Wuchtig [41:22]
iv. Finale. Allegro moderato [55:16]

Orquesta Sinfónica de Galicia
Conductor: Dima Slobodeniouk

Palacio de la Ópera, A Coruña, January 5, 2016

(HD 1080p)

* Start time of each movement

First publication: February 17, 2016 – Last update: February 17, 2018

In September 2016 Dima Slobodeniouk takes up his position as Principal Conductor of the Lahti Symphony Orchestra and Artistic Director of the Sibelius Festival. Lauded for his deeply informed and intelligent artistic leadership Slobodeniouk is also Music Director of the Orquesta Sinfónica de Galicia since September 2013, a position he will combine with his new posts in Lahti. Combining his native Russian roots with his musical study in Finland Slobodeniouk draws on the powerful musical roots of these countries.

Dima Slobodeniouk also continues to maintain a strong presence on concert podiums internationally. The 2016-2017 season will see him guest conduct London Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre National de France, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Baltimore Symphony, Warsaw Philharmonic, Wroclow Philharmonic. He also returns to SWR Stuttgart Symphony, Helsinki Philharmonic and Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra. He will work with Baiba Skride, Khatia Buniatishvili, Paul Lewis, Nikolai Lugansky, Yvgeny Sudbin including other soloists with whom he regularly works including Chloe Hanslip, Viktoria Mullova, Patricia Kopatchinskaja, Simon Trcepski, Jean-Guihen Queryas and Kari Kriikku.

With his passions for a broad scope of repertoire Slobodeniouk conducts Beethoven, Verdi, Mahler, Sibelius, Stravinsky, Scriabin to the modern repertoire including works of John Corigiliano, Kaija Saariaho, Pierre Boulez, and Vaino Raitio.

Passionate about working with young musicians of the future Slobodeniouk has worked with student musicians of the Verbier Festival Academy over recent years and returned to the Verbier Festival in 2016. In 2015 he began a conducting initiative with Orquesta Sinfónica de Galicia for a ten day period providing an opportunity for students to work on the podium with a professional orchestra.

2015 saw the release of a CD of works of Lotta Wennäkoski with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra for the Ondine label. Maintaining an active collaboration with BIS Records the Finnish composer Sebastian Fagerlund is presented on the BIS label conducted by Slobodeniouk with Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra.

Slobodeniouk, Moscow-born in 1975, studied violin at the Central Music School under Zinaida Gilels and J. Chugajev continuing at the Conservatory’s Music Institute, Moscow in 1989 and at the Middle Finland's Conservatory and the Sibelius Academy under Olga Parhomenko. In 1994, participated in the conductors class of Atso Almila. He continued his Sibelius Academy studies under the guidance of Leif Segerstam, Jorma Panula and Atso Almila. He has also studied under Ilya Musin and Esa-Pekka Salonen.


More photos

See also

Gustav Mahler: Symphony No.6 in A minor "Tragic" – Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, Christoph Eschenbach (HD 1080p)

Dmitri Shostakovich: Symphony No.13 in B flat minor "Babi Yar" – Sergei Aleksashkin, Groot Omroepmannenkoor, Radio Filharmonisch Orkest, Dima Slobodeniouk

Manuel de Falla: Noches en los jardines de España – Iván Martín, Orquesta Sinfónica de Galicia, Dima Slobodeniouk

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