The Concertgebouworkest is undertaking an extensive tour of China. Daniel Harding leads the orchestra in Schubert’s Third and Mahler’s First Symphony, introduced by Tan Dun’s festive Fanfare Overture.
It is difficult to comprehend what Mahler set in motion with his First Symphony. He became the inventor of a new, incredibly rich orchestral sound and turned the symphony into a veritable psychological landscape. The First Symphony offers an impressive foretaste of what would follow. The work is popularly known as the ‘Titan’ for several reasons, yet according to Mahler, it alludes to the vast emotional world that lies behind the music. Mahler often drew from his own experiences, but this is music in which all of us can recognise ourselves.
Daniel Harding is an all-round conductor with a predilection for unexpected programme choices. Here he juxtaposes Mahler’s First Symphony with Franz Schubert’s rarely performed Third. Schubert is widely admired for his songs and chamber music, but was long underrated as a symphonist. All the same, his symphonies have the same intimacy, expression and drama as do those works which he scored for smaller ensembles. The Third Symphony is an outstanding example.