Prom 63: Friday 2nd September at 7.00 p.m. (Liszt, Mahler)
Ivan Fischer and the Budapest Festival Orchestra perform the usual 4-movement version of Mahler's First Symphony after the interval, and the extra movement Blumine before it. And around Blumine are two devilish dances by their compatriot Franz Liszt - continuing the Proms celebrations of his bicentenary this year.
The concert opens with the First Mephisto Waltz (inspired by the demon Mephistopheles who tempts Faust) and the first half ends with Dejan Lazic as the virtuoso soloist in the Totentanz - Dance of Death.
It was in Budapest back in 1889 that Mahler - then Director of the Royal Budapest Opera - conducted the premiere of his First Symphony. At that point it had 5 movements, not the four we're used to today: in the 1890s Mahler removed a slow movement that he'd called Blumine - 'bouquet of flowers'.
The Budapest Festival Orchestra was only founded in 1983, but it's already universally recognised as one of the world's great orchestras. Conducted throughout its life by Music Director and joint founder Ivan Fischer, the orchestra has built a reputation for shedding new light on old favourites.
Liszt: Der Tanz in der Dorfschenke (Mephisto Waltz No. 1)
Mahler: Symphony no. 1 in D major
Dejan Lazic (piano)
Budapest Festival Orchestra
Iván Fischer (conductor)
Last edited by Eine Alpensinfonie; 02-09-11 at 18:14.
A pedant writes:
I thought the work premièred in 1889 was Titan: Symphonic Poem in Two Parts, and that the First Symphony was a later work derived from Titan but without Blumine and with revised orchestration of the four movements recycled. The symphony, as against the earlier symphonic poem, had no attendant soubriquet, though many have mistakenly applied the Titan label to it.
Including "Blumine" in the concert, but not in the symphony, seems a really good idea. Has this been done before?
I've heard it done a few times (and agree with you). It's been done at the Proms once before, on 4 August 1997 (Slatkin/BBCSO).
Originally Posted by Eine Alpensinfonie
Hmm, not bad. Not bad at all.
I can only think (never having seen a score) that Mahler was singularly vague in his intentions at the end of the First Symphony, the way the tempo gets pulled about by different conductors
Indeed !! - that was quite something.
Originally Posted by Bryn
Mercia - I don't know about "singularly vague" - but open to interpretation, yes. See for yourself - here is a score:
I guess it depends on things like how you want to interpret "Im Tempo (aber etwas gemässigter)" (p. 133) and similar spots.
I tend to think it can take quite a number of approaches if the conviction is there.
Originally Posted by Bryn
Say what you mean Bryn. A cracking Titan from a cracking orchestra that has enhanced the Proms for a year or two now. Hope they have been signed up for the next few years!
It was indeed cracking - and a very interesting performance too. I've been a bit lukewarm about some of Fischer's concerts in the past, but this one definitely grabbed me a lot.
Originally Posted by barber olly
I've not heard a live Mahler 1 in about 10 years as far as I can recall. Overexposure had caused me to lose interest rather... I'm very glad that, on impulse (having worked out I just had time to detour into London on my way home from another week's toil) I broke the drought with this concert when a suitable seat was going. Purists may take issue with a few bits of manipulation, but in the hall the result was thrilling and quite convincing, not empty showmanship. Even getting the entire brass and ultimately woodwind sections on their feet in the final bars. Probably the only way to get somewhere near the blazing volume Mahler was hoping for, when in such a vast and unfillable acoustic. The first half wasn't bad either, though Liszt's kind of bombast isn't really for me...