Juraj Valčuha – conductor
Markus Werba – baritone
Mahler Songs of a Wayfarer
Mahler Symphony No. 1
“Sometimes it sends shivers down my spine… Damn it all, where do people keep their ears and their hearts if they can’t hear that?” So wrote Gustav Mahler to his wife Alma after conducting a performance of his First Symphony.
The shivers begin with the opening of the first movement, barely audible high notes on the violins blooming into a lush evocation of a spring dawn. Then there’s the poignant minor-key version of Frere Jacques, played by the basses, that opens the third movement. In between, there’s music that seems to have escaped from a Jewish wedding, a Viennese café and an Alpine village dance. All this leads to an epic finale, with an ending so life-affirming that the horn section can’t stay seated.
Mahler borrowed several of the themes in the symphony from an earlier work, a cycle of four songs that many consider his first masterpiece. The ‘wayfarer’ or ‘journeyman’ of the title grieves for lost love, before finding consolation and healing in nature. Tonight’s soloist is Austrian baritone Markus Werba, a Royal Opera House regular whose great-grandfather was a friend of Gustav Mahler himself.
Need to know
Prices & Discounts
£12 – £58 (premium)
Subscription discounts available; under-18s and concessions discounts available; £8 tickets for students via Student Pulse one month before the concert (limited availability)
1 hour 40 minutes, including 20 minute interval
Surtitles will be displayed. Please note these will not be visible from the choir seats.
Philharmonia Box Office: 0800 652 6717