Wilkins Conducts Mahler
Composers of the late 19th century generally did not rush hastily into symphonic composition. Bruckner was 42 when he brought forth his First Symphony, Brahms even older. It is notable, therefore, that Gustav Mahler began his career as one of the great symphonists while still in his twenties. His Symphony No. 1 dates from early in 1888, though sketches for it may have been made as early as 1884.
But what is truly remarkable about this symphony is not the youth of its author but the maturity of the music — more precisely, that so many of the traits that would distinguish Mahler’s symphonic output are already in place. We find here the novel orchestration the composer used with such mastery throughout his career, especially when evoking a haunting, macabre atmosphere. The borrowings from “everyday” music — bugle calls, bird songs, dance tunes and the like — which contribute so much to the character of Mahler’s style, also are very much part of this First Symphony.
Join us for a pre-concert lecture at 6:45 p.m. that will guide you step-by-step through the evening’s program.