Ulster Orchestra: Rustioni Conducts Mahler Symphony No.4
R. Strauss Death and Transfiguration
Mahler Symphony No. 4
Daniele Rustioni Conductor
Erika Baikoff Soprano
A concert to raise the eyes heavenward, with two of the of the most beautiful orchestral reflections on the afterlife ever created.
Richard Strauss’s majestic tone poem Death and Transfiguration is the story of the death of an artist with a theme of heroic destiny at its core. Based on a poem by the composer’s friend Alexander Ritter, it portrays a sick and lonely man who recalls experiences from his life as he struggles with death, a struggle which resolves as the music soars ever upwards and he is transfigured.
Mahler’s Fourth Symphony is strewn throughout with childhood memories, disarmingly melodic and totally charming. In its final movement, Mahler sets the words of his own song Life in Heaven, which describes a child’s view of what the afterlife might be like. Full of dancing, playing, wonderful music and excellent food (surely the only mention of asparagus in a symphony?!), this carefree imagining fades into quiet, eternal bliss.