The repertoire of the Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra’s concert on Friday, 17 March (8pm) includes Mahler’s famous Symphony No 6, directed by conductor John Axelrod. The stage at Kolarac will be tight for the huge orchestra of 109 players, who have prepared more than 80 minutes of music as part of the series For Connoisseurs.
Mahler’s symphonic oeuvre is famous for the pieces of gigantic duration and the inventive orchestration, with which he emulated the sounds from his environment and the nature. The Sixth Symphony requires a huge orchestra – besides the extra woodwinds and brass, it will be the most crowded among the percussions. In addition to two pairs of timpani, two xylophones, a large drum, cymbals, a snare drum, a triangle, a glockenspiel and cow bells, the composition also requires a very special, non-musical instrument, which was developed exclusively for this score. The famous Mahler’s hammer, a sensation in the classical music, will be heard in the final movement as an ominous premonition.
Principal Conductor of LaVerdi Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano and Musical Director of the Real Orquesta Sinfónica de Sevilla, John Axelrod argues that, in Mahler’s music, it is the most important to grasp the psychological and emotional plain: “Serbian culture is profound and intellectual; you have experienced so much throughout your history. The musicians understand the depths of Mahler’s music quite well and they are capable of conveying it to the audience, which, besides the top-notch musical experience, has the opportunity to experience it at a very personal level”. A former student of Bernstein, Axelrod will be making his debut with the Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra. “I am impressed with the quality of the orchestra and the commitment of all its members. Maestro Mehta was absolutely right when he told me how fantastic this orchestra was!”
“There is only one Sixth, despite the Pastoral!” With these words, composer Alban Berg expressed his admiration for Gustav Mahler and his colossal symphony, having compared it to Beethoven, who was the role model for all symphonists. Also known as the Tragic, the symphony gives an autobiographical account of the situations from the composer’s life, his relationship with his wife Alma, as well as the omen of the unfortunate destiny that would befall him.