3 Masterpieces, 3 Soundscapes

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Mahler Symphony Nos. 4 and 5 give orchestral musicians reasons for being. Symphony No. 4 is the other side of the Mahler moon. It doesn’t provide the signature gorgeous racket of Mahler’s great and grandiose Fifth. The Fourth is Mahler’s shortest symphony, and as  double bassist David DeRiso observed: “It’s all the swagger of Mahler with all his pastoral brilliance scaled down, so I don’t have to wear earplugs and can mostly hear myself!”

Gustav Mahler by Emil Orlik, 1902
Gustav Mahler by Emil Orlik, 1902

Also to be heard will be the “transcendent” (hornist Tod Bowermaster’s word) soprano Susanna Phillips, singing both the Mahler 4 and Claude Vivier’s Lonely Child.

Concertmaster David Halen has given this weekend of music (April 2-3) big kudos. For Halen, this program, which includes Ravel’s Mother Goose Suite, “is a favorite, because these three pieces are some of the most beautiful scores ever written. All three are masterpieces from entirely different soundscapes. I can’t image a more incredible program than this.”

 

Top Five Hot Picks

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With single tickets on sale as of Monday for the 2015-2016 St. Louis Symphony season, it’s a good time to unveil the musicians’ Top Five Hot Picks. You’ll see more about the Top Five and the musicians picks through various marketing initiatives over the days and weeks to come, but let’s get the party started. More than 50 musicians responded this summer to my call for hot picks, which is not only a record, but it reflects the good vibes they have for the upcoming season.

Karin Bliznik blows the clouds away. She plays the trumpet solo that begins Mahler's Symphony No. 5.
Karin Bliznik blows the clouds away. She plays the trumpet solo that begins Mahler’s Symphony No. 5 in January.

1) Mahler 5. January 22-23. David Robertson conductor; Timothy McAllister, saxophone. JOHN ADAMS Saxophone Concerto & MAHLER Symphony No. 5.

Susanna Phillips returns to Powell Hall for the first time since her riveting performance in Britten's "Peter Grimes."
Susanna Phillips returns to Powell Hall for the first time since her riveting performance in Britten’s “Peter Grimes.”

2) Mahler 4. April 2-3. David Robertson, conductor; Susanna Phillips, soprano. RAVEL Mother Goose Suite, VIVIER Lonely Child & MAHLER Symphony No. 4.

Symphony Principal Cello Daniel Lee plays the mad knight in Strauss' "Don Quixote."
Symphony Principal Cello Daniel Lee plays the mad knight in Strauss’ “Don Quixote.”

3) All-Strauss. September 25-26. David Robertson, conductor; Karita Mattila, soprano; Daniel Lee, cello; Beth Guterman Chu, viola. RICHARD STRAUSS Don Quixote, Macbeth & Final Scene from Capriccio.

David Robertson brings down the storm in Beethoven's "Pastoral" Symphony.
David Robertson brings down the storm in Beethoven’s “Pastoral” Symphony.

4) Beethoven 6. November 13-15. David Robertson, conductor; Christine Goerke, soprano. BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 6, “Pastoral,” WEBERN Six Pieces for Orchestra, op. 6, & RICHARD STRAUSS Four Last Songs.

Eric Owens is one of the hottest singers on the planet. He sings both Wagner and Beethoven in October.
Eric Owens is one of the hottest singers on the planet. He sings both Wagner and Beethoven in October.

5) Beethoven 9. October 9-11. Markus Stenz, conductor; Heidi Melton, soprano; Thomas Cooley, tenor; Eric Owens, bass-baritone; St. Louis Symphony Chorus; Amy Kaiser, director. WAGNER Selections from Parsifal & BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 9.

Get ’em while they’re hot!