Péter Csaba, principal conductor of the MÁV Symphony Orchestra, is tackling Gustav Mahler‘s symphonies in turn: in January 2014, he conducted the first, and now he presents the second. The composer himself would be delighted with this, since his symphonic oeuvre is marked by a vast, arching continuity. In a letter, he wrote of how the hero of the first symphony is buried at the start of the second, for example. His Symphony No. 2 is also notable for being the first occasion on which ...Mahler took the "Beethoven step” of supplementing the orchestra with a chorus of voices. This symphony also sees the first appearance of the world drawn from the collection of folk poems entitled The Boy's Magic Horn that would recur throughout his ouevre. Like all his symphonies, No. 2 follows a single broad arc to its conclusion. This arc begins with the funereal atmosphere of the first movement and progresses through the horrors of the judgement to the euphoria of resurrection. This is the first time we are able to witness the composer's struggle to fulfil the enormity of what had to say with earthly instruments, and so he increased the number of movements, the length of the work and the scale of the performing apparatus.
Edvard Grieg's piano concerto originates from 1868, some 25 years before the Mahler symphony. It is with a wonderful sense of proportion that the Norwegian composer blends the traditions and fairy tales of his own people, and the characteristically Romantic experience of the harsh natural world, with all that he learned from the great European composers, above all Schumann and Liszt.
Presented by: MÁV Symphony Orchestra Foundation
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