Mahler 1 & Ibragimova plays Mozart
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Violin Concerto No. 5 in A major, K.219, “Turkish”
Gustav Mahler, Symphony No. 1 in D major, "Titan"
MAHLER’S FIRST SYMPHONY
When Mozart was in the service of the Salzburg archbishops in the 1770s, he wrote a series of five violin concertos. Russian-British violinist Alina Ibragimova performs the last and most substantial of these. Unlike Bach and Haydn, Mozart often allows the solo violin to play in a much higher register, which makes it stand out better against the orchestra. The Fifth Violin Concerto is particularly special in its third and final movement: a rondo that begins with a gentle theme, but suddenly turns into what was known in Mozart’s day as “Turkish music”. The 3/4 bar becomes a 2/4 bar, the key changes to A minor and short musical motifs in a folk style are repeated again and again. The cellos and double basses also add rhythmic accents by hitting the strings with the wood of their bows (col legno). Because of this surprising passage, the Fifth Violin Concerto is sometimes called the Turkish Violin Concerto.
With a performance of Mahler’s First Symphony, the Belgian National Orchestra is launching a major Mahler cycle in collaboration with Bozar and la Monnaie. Our ambition? Brussels top performances of all Mahler’s symphonies in just two years! Mahler’s First Symphony begins with the awakening of nature: the strings spin thin wisps of mist with flageolet tones, while the woodwinds imitate bird sounds. After a boisterous finale bursting with life, the second movement presents a peasant dance grounded in deep strings. For the third movement, an ironic dance of death to the tune of Frère Jacques in a minor key, Mahler is said to have used a woodcut by Moritz von Schwindt as inspiration. Wie die Tiere den Jäger begraben shows how some animals - including some ‘Bremer Stadtmusikanten’ - bury a hunter in a dense forest with barely concealed amusement. The fourth and final movement begins with “a sudden outbreak of despair, coming from a deeply touched heart”. Over the ensuing 20 minutes, Mahler turns darkness into light with an immense effort of power, before a brilliant climax – with all seven hornists standing up together – brings the symphony to a grand conclusion.
A concert in synergy with Bozar & la Monnaie
Roberto González-Monjas, conductor
Alina Ibragimova, violin
Highly sought-after as a conductor and violinist, Roberto González-Monjas is rapidly making a mark on the international scene.