Melbourne Symphony Orchestra
Lawrence Renes conductor
Jacqueline Porter soprano
Mahler Symphony No.4
About this performance
Consumed by his job with the Vienna Court Opera and with little time to compose, Mahler went almost three years without writing a scrap of music. When he finally began work on his Fourth Symphony he did so in the summer months – beginning the work at a lakeside resort in Austria and finishing it in his own second home on the Wörther Lake.
- Unlike his other symphonies, which often centre on explorations of the binaries of human existence – heaven and hell, good and bad, evil and charity – Mahler’s Fourth is tuneful and direct, exploring a charming, childlike view of the world.
- The first three movements lead clearly toward the finale, which includes the evocatively-named folk song “Heaven is Hung with Violins,” originally written for this third symphony.
- The visions of heaven that Mahler paints suddenly become clear as day when the soprano sings “we enjoy heavenly delights,” before imagining life in heaven. Dancing, playing, music, food (asparagus, no less!) and saints are described with playfulness and desire.