Program also includes Mendelssohn’s “Italian” Symphony
Mezzo-soprano Theodora Hanslowe and tenor Simon O’Neill make their Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO) debuts, under the direction of BSO Music Director Marin Alsop, in a performance of Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde (“Song of the Earth”) on Friday, May 6 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, May 8 at 3 p.m. at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, and Saturday, May 7 at 8 p.m. at the Music Center at Strathmore. Also on the program is Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 4, “Italian.”
Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 4, “Italian” was inspired by the young composer’s trip to Italy. Commissioned by London Philharmonic society, now known as the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the work premiered in 1833 in London under Mendelssohn’s baton. While many music critics classify it as one of his most perfectly conceived symphonic works, the composer was not happy with the work and continued to revise it until his death. The work was finally published posthumously.
In the summer of 1907, Gustav Mahler endured several devastating life events: his eldest daughter, Maria, died of scarlet fever, his wife Alma collapsed from the strain of this tragedy and he was diagnosed with a serious heart condition, which limited his beloved vigorous outdoor outings. It was the summer after these events that he completed his most personal work, Das Lied von der Erde. Based on Mahler Hans Bethge's The Chinese Flute, seven poems translated from ancient Chinese texts, the work fuses song and symphony creates opportunities for sections of the Orchestra to be heard as small chamber ensembles, highlighting the meanings of the poetry.