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Journeys of Discovery: Freedom | Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

Wednesday March 22, 2023 at 19:30
Royal Festival Hall, London
£10 - £50
Book Online
Tickets "at the door" - until sold out
  1. Overture, from Fidelio Op 72 - Ludwig van Beethoven
  2. Excerpts, from Des Knaben Wunderhorn, for voice and orchestra - Gustav Mahler
  3. Symphony No 9 in D minor, 'Choral' - Ludwig van Beethoven, arranged by Gustav Mahler

Beethoven’s iconic Ninth Symphony is given a daring revision by Mahler, with a foreword from both composers inspired by folk songs and tales of derring-do.

Beethoven only wrote one opera, a swashbuckling romance called Fidelio, but he came up with four overtures for it. This one is the final word, offering a compact and dramatic account of the opera’s main themes of persecution, freedom and sacrifice.

Mahler was deeply drawn to the folk songs and texts called ‘Youth’s Magic Horn’. Over half of his songs are based on them and make the most of the range of moods they offer: wistful, parodic, innocent or macabre. These songs fertilised his first four symphonies as well, giving each their central character.

Mahler’s alterations to Beethoven’s ‘sacred’ Ninth Symphony was bound to court controversy, rather like Van Gogh touching up a Rembrandt portrait. But he did so from a deep knowledge and love of the work, having conducted it ten times. Mahler adds extra instruments and aimed to sharpen some of the textures, even adding some new countermelodies. He felt he ‘was carrying out Beethoven’s wishes in their minutest detail.’ You decide.

Royal Festival Hall
Belvedere Road

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