Gemma New, conductor
Rihab Chaieb, mezzo-soprano
Mario Bahg, tenor
Jonathan Crow, violin
Mozart: Violin Concerto No. 5 in A Major, K. 219 “Turkish”
Mahler: Das Lied von der Erde (arr. Schoenberg/Riehn)
Mozart adopted the quasi-Middle Eastern or “Turkish” style that was popular in his day on several occasions, such as the comic opera The Abduction from the Seraglio and the Piano Sonata that opens this year’s Festival. Violin Concerto No. 5 is another example. The influence comes to the fore mid-way through the concluding Rondo, where he switches to a minor key and instructs the cellos and basses to strike their strings with the wood of the bow. The result is catchy and exhilarating. In Das Lied von der Erde, Mahler’s symphony for voices and instruments, he set German translations of wise, insightful Chinese poems that date back to the eighth century. Together the words and music address, in soul-stirring fashion, some of the most poignant of all philosophical ideas. Among them are the meanings of life, love, and death, the searing reality of loneliness, and the eternal mystery of reality versus illusion.
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