Programme Guide

Folk music has a prominent place in Gustav Mahler’s work – not only in his lieder, but also in his symphonies. In Mahler’s own words, such elements are an echo of his childhood. Moreover, it is especially the Wunderhorn lieder that reveal the specific quality of this folk poetry: their apparent simplicity and serenity, which, paradoxically, convey happiness and sorrow just as intensely as wordy pathos. The soloist is Matthias Goerne, “one of the best lieder singers of his generation” (Die Zeit). 

In contrast to Mahler’s lieder, Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony is a work which does not shun powerful emotions. Even after its completion, however, the composer complained that the symphony suffered from “pretentiousness”. And Tchaikovsky really does take a big risk in describing here a personal psychological drama, the struggle between his own self, destiny and hope. With the passage of time Tchaikovsky nevertheless grew to appreciate his work – which is in fact both an impressive and authentic portrayal of human emotions.

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