Thursday 22 July 2021

Chamber-sized version of Mahler's epic Das Lied von der Erde launches a new ensemble supporting freelance performers

Gustav Mahler photographed in 1907 by Moritz Nähr the year before he began Das Lied von der Erde
Gustav Mahler photographed in 1907 by Moritz Nähr
the year before he began Das Lied von der Erde
Arnold Schoenberg's  Society for Private Musical Performances (Verein für musikalische Privataufführungen in German), which he founded in Vienna in 1918, sought to provide a forum in which modern musical compositions could be carefully prepared and rehearsed, and properly performed under conditions protected from the dictates of fashion and pressures of commerce. Over three years the society presented a diverse range of music and Schoenberg had plans for Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde. Mahler was a composer that he revered and he started a version of the work for soloists, string and wind quintets, keyboards and percussion but never finished it. The German composer Rainer Riehn (1941-2015) completed this version in 1980. 

Later this month, there is a chance to hear this more intimate version of Mahler's epic masterpiece at the debut concert of The Fifth Door Ensemble, at Opera Holland Park on 17 August 2021. The soloists are mezzo-soprano Jennifer Johnson and tenor Charne Rochford with an instrumental ensemble of 14 players conducted by Thomas Blunt.

The performers are all freelance, and this points to one of the ensemble's raisons d'etre, to provide opportunities for freelance performers at this difficult time. Named for the moment in Bartok's Bluebeard's Castle when on opening the Fifth Door, there is a glorious, elementary C major chord, in contrast to what has come before, like a shaft of light illuminating the darkness, the ensemble was founded by tenor Charne Rochford, who said "The Fifth Door Ensemble is an organisation that will stimulate live performances of major works on a small scale, offering the public opportunities to watch outstanding freelancers at work, whilst giving performance opportunities to freelancers, hardest hit by the pandemic."

Also dating from the same period is  Hans Eisler, Karl Rankl and Erwin Stein chamber arrangement of Bruckner's Symphony No 7 which was unperformed owing to the Society's closure in 1921, perhaps The Fifth Door Ensemble should think about this for their next concert!

Full details from the Opera Holland Park website.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Popular Posts this month