Fabio Luisi leads the Concertgebouworkest in an all-Mahler programme. In Kindertotenlieder, they share the stage with the acclaimed baritone Peter Mattei. After the interval, the programme features Mahler’s Symphony No. 5.
Fabio Luisi conducts two masterpieces by Gustav Mahler. The Swedish baritone Peter Mattei, who has often garnered acclaim for his interpretations of Mahler, joins forces with Luisi and the orchestra in the compelling song cycle Kindertotenlieder. After the interval, the orchestra is performing the Symphony No. 5, into which Mahler put his heart and soul. The last time Luisi led the Concertgebouworkest in an all-Mahler programme was in 2011, when the Dutch daily Trouw lauded their performance of ‘Totenfeier’ and Das Lied von der Erde, writing, ‘Luisi made the orchestra sound tight and transparent, in a performance very true to Mahler’s score.’
The Concertgebouworkest has performed Mahler’s Symphony No. 5 many times, the first of which was under the baton of the composer himself. Mahler had close ties with Willem Mengelberg, the orchestra’s then chief conductor. The score used for the 1906 performance contains all sorts of notes. Mahler assigned to the Adagietto the indication ‘sehr langsam’, which some conductors would subsequently take to extremes. As in Visconti’s famous film Death in Venice, it thus takes on a tragic, languishing character which Mahler never intended: Mengelberg made a note that the Adagietto was a pure declaration of love to Alma, Mahler’s wife.