Monday, April 26, 2010

Symphony No. 1 In D Major, "Titan"

I am so excited to be going for the performance of Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 1 in D Major "Titan" tomorrow at the beautiful Boettcher Concert Hall. Mahler (top left) is my favorite orchestral composer. Titan Symphony was first composed between 1884 and 1888 (with heavy subsequent revisions through 1894). The initial premiere was in Budapest in 1889, where it was presented by the Budapest Philharmonic Orchestra as a five-movement symphonic poem under the title "Symphonische Dichtung in zwei Teilen" (symphonic poem in two parts). In subsequent performances in Hamburg (1893) and Weimar (1894), the piece was titled "Titan," eine Tondichtung in Symphonie-form (a tone poem in the form of a symphony). After further revisions, Mahler eventually dropped the title, the descriptive movement titles, and the Andante second movement, titled "Blumine". The piece "premiered" again in Berlin in 1896 as the unnumbered "Symphony in D major", with a duration of approximately 55 minutes. When the symphony first appeared in print in 1899, it received its ultimate title, "Symphony No. 1" - but it is still intimately called "Titan" in the music world. The symphony is scored for a large orchestra consisting of approximately 100 musicians. Unlike his later symphonies, Mahler does not use the entire forces in every movement. Several parts are used in the last movement only, especially in the woodwinds and brass.

The above is an excerpt of the 4th movement entitled türmisch bewegt - Energisch. The conductor is Maestro Claudio Abbado (top right) - one of the giants in the music field. The Italian Maestro Abbado had an illustrious career conducting some of the best orchestras in the world including as music director of the La Scala opera house in Milan, principal conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra, principal guest conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, music director of the Vienna State Opera, and, most recently, principal conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic orchestra from 1989 to 2002 replacing the iconic Maestro Herbert von Karajan, when he retired from the position for health reasons. In his conducting career, he had won various awards, including the Mahler Medal. He is seen here conducting the Lucerne Festival Orchestra at the Lucerne Festival in August 2009.

I will be looking forward to tomorrow's live majestic performance!

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