Under the baton of the famous American conductor Kent Nagano, the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, the Women's Voices of the Gothenburg Symphony Chorus, the Brunnsbo Children's Choir and the Swedish contralto Anna Larsson perform Gustav Mahler's Symphony No.3 in D minor. Recorded at Gothenburg Concert Hall, on May 19, 2018.
The Third is Gustav Mahler's longest Symphony, in six movements and lasting nearly two hours. Mahler's concept of the symphony as a world unto itself finds its complete exposition here in the highly diverse styles and elements, creating problems of continuity and coherence that he did not completely solve. The primary theme of the Third is Nature and Man's place therein, and its principal literary inspirations are Das Knaben Wunderhorn (as in the previous symphony) and Nietzsche. As in the Second Symphony, Mahler added words and voices to expand his means of expression and used material from one of his earlier Wunderhorn Songs. The original program ran like this: "The Joyful Knowledge: A Summer Morning's Dream". I. Pan Awakes: Summer Marches In; II. What the Meadow Flowers Tell Me; III. What the Creatures of the Forest Tell Me; IV. What Night Tells Me (Mankind); V. What the Morning Bells Tell Me (the Angels); VI. What Love Tells Me; and VII. The Heavenly Life (What the Child Tells Me). Ultimately, Mahler dropped the seventh movement and used it as the core around which he built the Fourth Symphony. The sum of this program represents Mahler's cosmological hierarchy at this point in his life and the Third Symphony as a whole is his most specific example of "world building" in artistic terms.
Kräftig. Entschieden. (Strongly and Confidently). This is the single longest sonata-form movement ever written. Mahler sets bizarre, primordial, and harsh brass and percussion rumblings depicting Pan's awakening in opposition to pastoral music of bird calls and light fanfares over tremulous strings and woodwind trillings. These elements are transformed into the ultimate example of Mahler's symphonic military marches. The entire movement covers a vast soundscape of imagery, from bold, assertive proclamation to harsh and grotesque fugal passages, to despairing outcries, to a lighthearted and popular sounding march tune.
Tempo di Menuetto. (Minuet Tempo). This is a light and folk-like dance movement in the style of the comic Wunderhorn Songs. It stands in sharp contrast to the weighty first movement.
Comodo. Scherzando. Ohne Hast. (Moving, Scherzo-like, Without Haste). This movement quotes extensively from Mahler's song Ablösung im Sommer (Relief in the Summer) about a dead cuckoo. Its comic vein is interrupted twice, once by a sentimental posthorn solo, and later by a dramatic outburst symbolic of the great god Pan's intrusion into the peaceful summer.
Sehr langsam. Misterioso. Durchaus ppp. (Very Slow, Mysterious, Pianissimo Throughout). Here Mahler moves into a more metaphysical realm by setting Nietzsche's "Midnight Song" in this slow and haunting movement.
Lustig im Tempo und keck im Ausdruck. (Happy in Tempo, Saucily Bold in Expression). Boys and women's voices are used here to sing this angel's song about the redemption of sin from Das Knaben Wunderhorn. Mahler imitates church bells to delightful effect in this innocent and uplifting movement.
Langsam. Ruhevoll. Empfunden. (Slow, Peaceful, Deeply Felt). A majestic and awesome Adagio concludes the Symphony in a hymn-like paean on love. It rises to a powerful climax as "Nature in its totality rings and resounds".
Source: Steven Coburn (allmusic.com)
Gustav Mahler (1860-1911)
♪ Symphony No.3 in D minor (1893-1896)
i. Kräftig. Entschieden (Pan Awakes, Summer Marches In)
ii. Tempo di Menuetto, sehr mäßig (What the Flowers in the Meadow Tell Me)
iii. Comodo. Scherzando. Ohne Hast (What the Animals in the Forest Tell Me)
iv. Sehr langsam. Misterioso (What Man Tells Me)
v. Lustig im Tempo und keck im Ausdruck (What Man Tells Me)
vi. Langsam. Ruhevoll. Empfunden (What Love Tells Me)
Anna Larsson, mezzo-soprano
Women's Voices of the Gothenburg Symphony Chorus
Choirmaster: Alexander Einarsson / Mats Nilsson
Brunnsbo Children's Choir
Choirmaster: Patrik Wirefeldt
Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra
Concertmaster: Sara Trobäck
Conductor: Kent Nagano
Gothenburg Concert Hall, May 19, 2018
Kent Nagano is renowned for interpretations of clarity, elegance and intelligence. He is equally at home in music of the classical, romantic and contemporary eras, introducing concert and opera audiences throughout the world to new and rediscovered music and offering fresh insights into established repertoire. Since September 2006 he has been Music Director of Orchestre symphonique de Montréal and became Artistic Advisor and Principal Guest Conductor of Gothenburg Symphony in 2013. In September 2015, Kent Nagano takes up the position of General Music Director of the Hamburg State Opera and Philharmonic Orchestra. At the Hamburg State Opera he will start his first season with the premiere of Berlioz Les Troyens, the world premiere of Toshio Hosokawas Stilles Meer and also Messiaen's Turangalîla-Symphonie choreographed by John Neumeier.
At the Bayerische Staatsoper, where he was General Music Director from 2006-2013, he commissioned new operas from Jörg Widmann Babylon, Wolfgang Rihm Das Gehege and Unsuk Chin Alice in Wonderland and new productions there have included Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov and Khovanshchina, Idomeneo, Eugene Onegin, Ariadne auf Naxos, Die Schweigsame Frau, Les Dialogues des Carmélites, St François d'Assise, Wozzeck, George Benjamin's Written on Skin and Der Ring des Nibelungen. With the Bayerisches Staatsorchester Nagano has toured throughout Europe and in Japan and together they have recorded Bruckner Symphonies Nos. 4, 7 and 8.
In September 2011, Kent Nagano and the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal inaugurated their new concert hall La Maison Symphonique. Highlights with the Orchestra include the complete cycles of Beethoven and Mahler symphonies, Schoenberg's Gurrelieder, concert versions of Wagner's Tannhäuser, Tristan und Isolde, Das Rheingold, Honegger's Jeanne d'Arc au Bûcher, Messiaen's Saint François d'Assise, and concert series featuring the works of Dutilleux (2010-2011) and Boulez (2011-2012). Nagano has taken the Orchestra on a coast-to-coast tour of Canada and also to Japan, South Korea, Europe and South America. Their recordings together include the Juno award winning album "Ideals of the French Revolution" with Beethoven's Symphony No.5, Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde and Beethoven's Piano Concertos Nos. 4 and 5, as part of a recording of all the Symphonies by Beethoven. The Symphonies Nos. 3, 6, 8 and 9 have also been released by Sony Classical/Analekta.
As a much sought after guest conductor, Nagano has worked with most of the world's finest orchestras including the Vienna, Berlin and New York Philharmonics, Chicago Symphony, Dresden Staatskapelle and Leipzig Gewandhaus. He has an ongoing relationship with Sony Classical and has also recorded for Erato, Teldec, Pentatone and Deutsche Grammophon as well as Harmonia Mundi, winning Grammy awards for his recordings of Busoni's Doktor Faust with Opéra National de Lyon, Peter and the Wolf with the Russian National Orchestra and Saariaho's L'amour de Loin with the Deutsches Symphonieorchester Berlin.
A very important period in Nagano's career was his time as Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, from 2000-2006. He performed Schönberg's Moses und Aron with the Orchestra (in collaboration with Los Angeles Opera), and took them to the Salzburg Festival to perform both Zemlinsky's Der König Kandaules and Schreker's Die Gezeichneten, as well as to the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden with Parsifal and Lohengrin in productions by Nikolaus Lehnhoff. Recordings with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin for Harmonia Mundi include repertoire as diverse as Bernstein's Mass, Bruckner's Symphonies Nos. 3 and 6, Beethoven's Christus am Ölberge, Wolf Lieder, Mahler's Symphony No.8 and Schönberg's Die Jakobsleiter and Friede auf Erden, as well as Brahms's Symphony No.4 and Schönberg's Variationen für Orchester Op.31. In June 2006, at the end of his tenure with the Orchestra, Kent Nagano was given the title Honorary Conductor by members of the orchestra, only the second recipient of this honour in their 60-year history.
Kent Nagano became the first Music Director of Los Angeles Opera in 2003 having already held the position of Principal Conductor for two years. His work in other opera houses has included Shostakovich's The Nose (Staatsoper Berlin), Rimsky Korsakov's The Golden Cockerel (Châtelet, Paris), Hindemith's Cardillac (Opéra national de Paris), Dialogues des Carmélites (Metropolitan Opera) and at the Salzburg Festival Les Contes d'Hoffmann, Zemlinsky's Der Koenig Kandaules, Schreker's Die Gezeichneten and the world premiere of Saariaho's L'amour de loin. Other world premieres include Bernstein's A White House Cantata and operas by Peter Eötvös (Three Sisters), and John Adams (The Death of Klinghoffer and El Niño).
Born in 1951 in California, Nagano maintains close connections with his home state and was Music Director of the Berkeley Symphony Orchestra from 1978-2008. His early professional years were spent in Boston, working in the opera house and as assistant conductor to Seiji Ozawa at the Boston Symphony Orchestra. He played a key role in the world premiere of Messiaen's opera Saint François d'Assise at the request of the composer, who became a mentor and bequeathed his piano to the conductor. Nagano's success in America led to European appointments: Music Director of Opéra National de Lyon (1988-1998) and Music Director of the Hallé Orchestra (1991-2000).
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