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Mahler champion leads NZSO in death-defying final symphony

7 July 2014

Mahler champion leads NZSO through death-defying final symphony

Superstar conductor Edo de Waart, the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, and Mahler’s death-defying Ninth Symphony come together for an epic night in the concert hall this August.

Ever-ambitious, Mahler wanted his music to capture the world. His Ninth Symphony is a beautiful farewell to life on earth, brimming with courage in the face of inevitable death. A triumph in symphonic form and expression, it is a jewel of the repertoire.

It opens with aching beauty and what rushes after is perhaps the most powerful symphonic journey ever written. Leonard Bernstein described Mahler’s Ninth as “terrifying and paralysing”.

…as the strands of sound disintegrate… in ceasing, we lose it all. But in letting go, we have gained everything.

The fact that Mahler’s Ninth was his final completed symphony may give rise to the old superstition about that dreaded last symphony. Composers have been known to die after completing their Ninths (Beethoven, Bruckner and Schubert are famous examples) and according to Arnold Schoenberg, this superstition began with Mahler.

Composed after the death of his daughter, and the diagnosis of his own fatal heart disease, Mahler may even have intended his Ninth to be ‘goodbye’. Perhaps one of the greatest farewell symphonies ever written, Mahler marked the final page of his first movement with the note, ‘lingering’ and in his sketches, he wrote ‘Leb’wohl! - Farewell!’ Despite launching straight into his Tenth symphony, as if to defy fate, a blood infection took his life shortly before his 51st birthday and the Tenth was never finished.

Nobody leads Mahler like Maestro Edo de Waart. A specialist in his works, de Waart has an international reputation for conducting Mahler. At the age of 23, he won the Dimitri Mitropoulos Conducting Competition which resulted in his appointment as Assistant Conductor at the New York Philharmonic with pre-eminent Mahler champion Leonard Bernstein. De Waart recorded the complete cycle of Mahler symphonies at the Concertgebouw with the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra and last year he released Mahler’s Symphony No 1 with the Royal Flemish Philharmonic, of which he is Chief Conductor. Seven years after his last visit, when he led the NZSO through Rachmaninov’s Second Symphony, this performance of Mahler Nine will be one to treasure.

Dutch violinist Simone Lamsma makes her New Zealand debut with Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 4. She comes to us after season débuts with the San Francisco and Chicago Symphonies and a tour of China with the Hong Kong Philharmonic. Last year she worked with Edo de Waart performing Korngold’s Violin Concerto with the Royal Flemish Philharmonic.

Graceful and exuberant, Mozart’s Fourth Violin Concerto is a perfect fit for this rising star. Known for its demanding passages, this violin concerto will show off the technical brilliance and expressive quality of Lamsma’s playing.

This is your chance to experience one of Mozart’s much-loved violin concertos plus one of history’s most gripping symphonies in the hands of international Mahler authority Edo de Waart.

Join us and be overwhelmed by this powerful and moving music, in association with Minter Ellison Rudd Watts.

MAHLER 9
In association with Minter Ellison Rudd Watts

Edo de Waart Conductor
Simone Lamsma Violin

MOZART Violin Concerto No. 4
MAHLER Symphony No. 9

WELLINGTON / Michael Fowler Centre / Friday 8 August / 6.30 pm
TICKETEK / 0800 842 538 / TICKETEK.CO.NZ

CHRISTCHURCH / CBS Canterbury Arena / Tuesday 12 August / 7.00 pm
TICKETEK / 0800 842 538 / TICKETEK.CO.NZ

HAMILTON / Founders Theatre / Thursday 14 August / 7.30pm
TICKETEK / 0800 842 538 / TICKETEK.CO.NZ

AUCKLAND / Town Hall / Friday 15 August / 7.00 pm
TICKETMASTER / 0800 111 999 / TICKETMASTER.CO.NZ

www.nzso.co.nz

ENDS

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