Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducts Mahler’s Symphony No. 4

22/03/2014

Berliner Philharmoniker
Yannick Nézet-Séguin

Andreas Blau, Christiane Karg

  • Carl Reinecke
    Flute Concerto in D major (00:29:22)

    Andreas Blau Flute

  • Gustav Mahler
    Symphony No. 4 in G major (01:08:02)

    Christiane Karg Soprano

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    Yannick Nézet-Séguin in conversation with Emmanuel Pahud (00:10:55)

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    Andreas Blau in conversation with Emmanuel Pahud (00:29:16)

When Yannick Nézet-Séguin, music director of the Rotterdam Philharmonic, first guest director of the London Philharmonic and chief conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra, debuted with the Berliner Philharmoniker in October 2010, one could read in the press that it had been a “memorable evening” with a “rising star in the conducting firmament”. For his return to the podium at Philharmonic Hall, the charismatic Canadian has this time selected Gustav Mahler’s Fourth Symphony, the last of the so-called “Wunderhorn symphonies”.

Compared to the monumental dimensions of the Second and Third Symphonies, the work appears to be significantly scaled back in scope and instrumentation. After its two predecessors, the Fourth seems almost like a detoxification. It lasts only a good hour and is relatively frugally orchestrated; performance markings like “rather leisurely” or “very comfortable” warn interpreters not to generate excess pressure. And then the Finale – not a monumental climax, but a song of downright suggestive simplicity that recounts the “joys of heavenly life”.

But don’t let yourself be deceived: like Mahler’s other symphonies, the Fourth is also ambiguous. Moods change suddenly in a hardly noticeable way; expectations are dashed and abysses gape abruptly in the seemingly naive idyll. Before the interval, Yannick Nézet-Séguin will devote himself to the virtuoso flute concerto in D major op. 283 by Carl Reinecke. The solo part will be played by Andreas Blau, the solo flutist of the Berliner Philharmoniker.

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