HSO Performs a Powerful Titan of a Symphony

What a great day Saturday, April 22, 2023, will be for me and Sheralyn. First in the afternoon we will be seeing what hopefully will be a great movie about the amazing life of the Chevalier de Saint Georges, “Chevalier”. For more on that please check out my post: “The Amazing Life and Music of The Chevalier de Saint Georges”.

Then in the evening we will be once again in our home away from home, Jones Hall in downtown Houston, Texas, to be in attendance to hear our world class Houston Symphony Orchestra performing the powerful “Titan” Symphony #1 from Gustav Mahler. The concert program begins with Jaakko Kuusisto’s Violin concerto.

Gustav Mahler [July 7, 1860 – May 18, 1911]

From the Mahler Fest Web Site: “Gustav Mahler was born on July 7, 1860 to a middle-class Jewish family in Kaliste, Bohemia, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. He received his principal musical training at the Vienna Conservatory, beginning in 1875. Mahler’s drive to compose began in his early years, but he found he could make a good living by conducting, which in turn allowed him time to compose.”

“As a Jew, Mahler was exposed to anti-Semitism all his life, including an official “Anti-Semitic” press in Vienna. Some music commentators treated Mahler favorably, while others were vitriolically opposed.  To obtain the Vienna State Opera directorship, it was necessary to be a Catholic, so Mahler converted.

In his lifetime, Mahler was “Best known as a leading orchestral and operatic conductor.”  He composed 9 large and powerful, and I would say amazing symphonies, many of which contained choruses; he also composed an “unfinished” 10th symphony.

Mahler’s first symphony named “The Titan” was scored in D Major. 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.”  “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.

From the Houston Symphony Orchestra Website about this concert: “Epic. Heroic. Monumental. Prepare for an extraordinary musical journey when renowned Finnish conductor Jukka-Pekka Saraste leads Mahler’s thunderous and blazingly theatrical First Symphony, a thrilling showcase for the Houston Symphony’s virtuosity and expressive power. Jaakko Kuusisto wrote his Violin Concerto to show off the skills of the phenomenally talented Elina Vähälä, and she joins the Symphony in these performances.”

Mahler’s Titan Symphony in D Major has four movements: 1. Slowly, restrained throughout; 2. Moving strongly-restrained-Trio; 3. Funeral March; and 4. Stormly Agitated-Energetic.

Please turn up the volume, play in full screen and enjoy this magnificent symphony from the great Austro-Bohemian Romantic composer, Gustav Mahler.

Mahler Symphony #1 in D Major, “Titan”:

One thought on “HSO Performs a Powerful Titan of a Symphony

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s