With this concert, the Berliner Philharmoniker say their farewells for the 2011/2012 season from the Philharmonie. Andris Nelsons conducts works from the late 19th century. Firstly, Mahler’s songs based on folk poems from the collection Des Knaben Wunderhorn, which are characterised by multifaceted nuances and ambiguities. In striking contrast to this is Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony with its intense, unbridled emotions.
Folk music has a prominent place in 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.