Reykjavík Arts Festival

By choosing four or more concerts you receive a 20% discount of your purchase
Date Location Price
6 Jun 2024 » 19:30 » Thursday Eldborg | Harpa 4.000 - 10.200 kr.
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  • Program

    Gustav Mahler Symphony No. 3

  • Conductor

    Eva Ollikainen

  • Soloist

    Christina Bock

  • Choirs

    Vox feminae, Stefan Sand Groves choir director
    Aurora, Sigríður Soffía Hafliðadóttir choir director
    Reykjavík Girls' Choir, Margrét Pálmadóttir choir director:

Mahler's Third Symphony is a whole world unto itself, as the composer thought all symphonies should be. It is both an ode to nature and a deep, philosophical examination of the human condition. Mahler himself said that the voice of nature could be heard in the piece. He wrote it by the banks of the Attersee in Austria, where the views across the water and the surrounding mountains were a constant source of inspiration, causing him to weave images of the weather and the flora and fauna of different seasons into the soundscape of the work. Mahler had thought to keep the length of the piece within limits, but when the spirit moved him there was no turning back: "It is as though the river of creation has swept me up," the composer wrote in a letter.

"I see no way out!" The symphony became the longest of his ten symphonies. It is in six movements and takes around an hour and a half in performance. Despite its massive scale, it is an exceptionally accessible piece, pulling the listener along by the same creative current that had drawn Mahler of old. The emotional journey on which the symphony leads the listener is also conveyed through Mahler's titles for each movement, although he chose to leave these out of the published edition. The epic first movement opens with the burst of summer, and each of the subsequent ones is dedicated to living organisms: flowers in a meadow, animals in the forest, and man himself. The final two movements kneel to higher powers: angels and love. The last movement is a slow and heartfelt song of gratitude to the entire world.

This masterpiece by Mahler is scored for an oversized symphony orchestra, three choirs, and soprano, sung this evening by Germany's Christina Bock.

The concert is a collaboration of the Reykjavík Arts Festival and the Iceland Symphony Orchestra and is led from the podium by chief conductor Eva Ollikainen.