Join the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra for an evening of incredible music when Artistic Director and Conductor José-Luis Novo presents Gustav Mahler’s “Tragic” Symphony No. 6, a rarely performed piece renowned for the huge size of the orchestra, special instrumentation, and deep emotion, at Maryland Hall on March 3rd and 4th, 2023.
Mahler’s “Tragic” Symphony No. 6 is a monumental undertaking, technically, operationally, and musically. The performance requires 94 musicians on stage. By comparison, at Masterworks III, the ASO employed 73 musicians. “As a french horn player, this is one of the greatest of all symphonies to perform. There will be nine horn players playing almost constantly to convey the wide range of emotions in the piece,” said Annapolis Symphony Orchestra French Horn Steve Barzal. Dave Perkel, Principal Trombone, notes that complications in producing Mahler’s 6th Symphony make it one of the highlights of this year’s ASO season. “Mahler’s compositional style, particularly for the large brass section, is absolutely incredible. Mahler’s music is soulful, full of energy, and rich with beautiful melodies. I consider myself very fortunate to be given an opportunity to perform this amazing work,” he said.
This symphony requires instruments not typically seen in an orchestra, most notably Mahler’s Box and Mahler’s Hammer. Mahler described the sound produced by the instrument to be “brief and mighty, but dull in resonance and with a non-metallic character — like the fall of an axe.” The three blows of the hammer in this piece represent cataclysmic moments in Mahler’s life: the death of his eldest daughter, his condition of a weakened heart (which eventually caused his death) and his ouster from the Vienna Opera.
“What a rare opportunity to hear such tremendous work. This Symphony is a true window into man’s soul and psyche regarding fate’s ultimate (hammer) blow – impending death. The finality of life is something we must all wrestle with and is evidently depicted throughout this massive, tumultuous work. Mahler’s “Tragic” 6th Symphony has always been a bucket list work for me and I look forward to experiencing it with our audience,” said Annapolis Symphony Orchestra Principal French Horn Alex Kovling.
Because of the logistics involved with extra musicians performing a long piece that requires special instruments, “Tragic” is rarely performed. In fact, this is the first time Artistic Director and Conductor Maestro José-Luis Novo will play this moving and beautiful music in Annapolis. Purchase tickets to experience the performance March 3rd and 4th at Maryland Hall. “What I am really looking forward to performing Mahler’s monumental 6th Symphony is the sheer inspiring journey it takes to go through the approximately 80-minute long masterwork: it is a real test to physical and emotional endurance, one that makes you more human in the end,” said Maestro Novo.
Tickets are available at https://sforce.co/3Yv6KYn. Student tickets are just $10.