July 25 & 26 2024 : Awadagin Pratt + Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade

May 8, 2024

July 25 and 26
Peter Oundjian, conductor
Awadagin Pratt, piano CONFIRMED

J.S. Bach, Keyboard Concerto in A major BWV 1055 15’
Jessie Montgomery, Rounds for piano and string orchestra 15’

Rimsky-Korsakov, Scheherazade 42’

J.S. Bach, Keyboard Concerto in A major BWV 1055 

As the municipal director of music in Leipzig, J.S. Bach had two chief responsibilities: overseeing music in the city’s churches and directing the Collegium Musicum, an ensemble of professional and university musicians which gave weekly concerts in coffee houses and public gardens. It was for the latter organization that he composed nearly all of his harpsichord concertos, including the Keyboard Concerto in A major.  

Bach took over direction of the Collegium Musicum from its founder, Georg Philipp Telemann, and starting in 1729, regularly hosted Friday night programs in Gottfried Zimmermann’s coffee house (a distant precursor to today’s “alternative” venues). Bach’s affiliation with the Collegium lasted over a decade and spawned the very first solo keyboard concertos — the harpsichord having been a mostly accompanying instrument in group settings. These were not fully original compositions, but rather, “fleshed out” arrangements of concertos once written for other instruments. 

The BWV 1055 concerto likely started as a (now lost) concerto for oboe d’amore, given how the keyboard’s right-hand melodies perfectly align with that instrument’s range. Scholars believe that this was one of the final concertos that Bach recast, given its notable sophistication. The opening Allegro builds on the ritornello principle pioneered by Antonio Vivaldi, in which the full ensemble, playing the main theme, alternates with showier passages for the soloist and accompanying strings. 

The central Larghetto, in 12/8, is an aria for the keyboard, a melancholy tune punctuated with dissonances. The final Allegro presents a main theme that features an upward leap followed by tumbling scales. One could imagine the coffeehouse crowd clapping or stomping their feet along with the robust, dance-like rhythms. 

J.S. Bach, Keyboard Concerto in A major BWV 1055 

Jessie Montgomery won the Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Classical Composition this past February for Rounds, one of six works that pianist Awadagin Pratt commissioned a few years ago, and subsequently gathered on his 2023 album Stillpoint. Each of the six featured composers was asked to interpret a portion of T.S. Eliot’s poetic masterpiece The Four Quartets. Montgomery was inspired by the early lines in Eliot’s poem Burnt Norton, which reads:  

At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless;  

Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is,  

But neither arrest nor movement. And do not call it fixity,  

Where past and future are gathered. Neither movement from nor towards,  

Neither ascent nor decline. Except for the point, the still point,  

There would be no dance, and there is only the dance.  

Montgomery is no stranger to iconic texts. One of her first major works was Banner, a 2017 meditation on The Star-Spangled Banner, composed for the anthem’s 200th anniversary. A native of New York City, where she studied at the Juilliard School and New York University, Montgomery has played violin in the PUBLIQuartet and the Catalyst Quartet. This past spring, she finished a three-year tenure as the Mead Composer-in-Residence with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra where among her commissioned works was Hymn for Everyone, a 2021 meditation on the pandemic and social-political upheaval.  

In Rounds, Montgomery draws on a potpourri of interests. She references fractals (the infinite patterns found in nature) and the writings of Andreas Weber, a German biologist and philosopher who writes about the interdependency of living creatures. “Like Eliot in Four Quartets,” she explains, “beginning to understand this interconnectedness requires that we slow down, listen, and observe both the effect and the opposite effect caused by every single action and moment.” She adds, “I’ve found this is an exercise that lends itself very naturally towards musical gestural possibilities that I explore in the work – action and reaction, dark and light, stagnant and swift.”  

Rounds contains three sections: Rondine, Playing with opposites, and Fractals. The concluding section features a solo cadenza that can be partly improvised. Since its premiere in 2022, Rounds has been performed more than 30 times around the globe.  

Rimsky-Korsakov, Scheherazade

The character of Scheherazade — the young woman of The Thousand and One Nights who enters a forced marriage with a murderous king and uses her storytelling gifts to avoid execution — is the focus of two programs at this year’s Colorado Music Festival. Ravel’s 1903 song cycle Shéhérazade will conclude the season on August 4, but first comes Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s atmospheric and dreamlike symphonic suite of 1888.   

The professorial Russian composer was busy completing Alexander Borodin’s unfinished opera Prince Igor in the winter of 1887 when its Central Asian setting sparked an idea: a piece based on The Thousand and One Nights, the collection of Arabian, Indian, and Persian stories written in Arabic and dating back to the Eighth Century. Orientalism had been all the rage and the stories of Aladdin, Sinbad, and Ali Baba lent themselves to the colorful, 19th century Russian orchestral palette. 

Rimsky-Korsakov struggled with how closely to link music to text, and eventually decided on a suggestive, rather than literal, interpretation. Nevertheless, the suite opens with a snarling depiction of Sultan Shahryar, the misogynistic king who has one member of his harem brought to him each evening and executed the following morning. Scheherazade enters, represented by a sinuous violin melody. Skilled in the art of storytelling, she entertains him with her cliffhanging tales, delaying her execution. As the story goes, after 1001 nights, the king decides that she is suitably faithful and abandons his ruthless murder plot. 

In the first movement, titled “The Sea and Sinbad’s Ship,” the cellos introduce a wave-like accompaniment that may recall Rimsky-Korsakov’s service in the Russian navy. Scheherazade’s theme begins the second movement, “The Story of the Kalendar Prince,” whose title refers to the members of a wandering Sufi mystical order. After the brief solo violin introduction, plaintive bassoon and oboe melodies outline a theme and variations, punctuated with brass fanfares.   

The lyrical third movement, “The Young Prince and the Young Princess,” charts a romantic narrative with rippling clarinet and flute figures, gentle harp flourishes, and percussion effects, before Scheherazade again has her say. The finale is titled “Festival at Baghdad. The Sea. Ship Breaks upon a Cliff Surmounted by a Bronze Horseman.” The mood is brisk and agitated but ends not with a shipwreck, but with a lush epilogue, as Rimsky-Korsakov summons his full powers of orchestral color and brilliance. 

— Brian Wise

CO4 July 28
Gemma New, conductor
Christina and Michelle Naughton, piano duo

Mozart, Eine kleine Nachtmusik
Mozart, Concerto in E-Flat Major for Two Pianos, K. 365

Mozart, Symphony No. 35, (Haffner)

Mozart, Eine kleine Nachtmusik, K. 525

For all its popularity, there is no real origin story for Mozart’s Serenade No. 13 in G Major, better known as “A Little Night Music.” Why he wrote it remains a mystery, and a possible fifth movement — a minuet and trio — has long since disappeared. Its title means “a short serenade” (the German term Nachtmusik being the equivalent of the Italian notturno, a term Mozart also used). In 18th century Vienna, serenades were occasional works, used as background music for wedding parties, birthdays, and other gatherings, often taking place in a garden or park. Mozart composed several of these in Salzburg, but after moving to Vienna in 1781, his output tapered off, as he grew increasingly preoccupied with symphonies and operas.  

Number 13 was Mozart’s final serenade, composed during a break from his work on Don Giovanni. Perhaps some of that opera’s adventurous spirit spilled over into this piece, written for two violins, viola, cello, and double bass (and often played by a string orchestra). In phrase after phrase, the four movements show Mozart’s unique combination of sophistication and simplicity, elegance and precision. The extant movements are titled Allegro, Romance (Andante), Menuetto (Allegretto), and Rondo (Allegro). 

Mozart, Concerto in E-Flat Major for Two Pianos, K. 365 

Mozart’s sister Maria Anna was, like her younger brother, a child piano prodigy, and even enjoyed top billing when they toured together. But her musical career quickly fizzled when she turned 18 and married a local magistrate. Nannerl, as she was known to family and friends, taught piano at points during her adult life, but none of her original compositions survived. Yet something of Nannerl’s talent can be gleaned from the Concerto for Two Pianos, a work Wolfgang composed for and performed with his virtuosic sister in Salzburg. 

In 1779 Mozart had recently returned from a tour of Paris, Mannheim, and Munich, where he was exposed to the latest styles and techniques. He began to focus on double and triple concertos, finding that he could fashion engaging dialogues between multiple instruments. In K. 365, passages are lobbed between the solo pianos, creating a stereo-like effect when the first piano introduces thematic material and the second piano echoes it in a lower octave. 

Such dialogues pepper the buoyant first movement, which opens grandly and proceeds with many beguiling turns of phrase. The second movement begins on a profound note, with a lilting oboe melody, before the mood turns livelier, and the pianists offer some playful and elegant banter. The third movement has a witty and carefree air, full of unexpected pivots and hairpin turns. Mozart was clearly energized by the dual-soloist format, and this joyous work remains far more than a simple curiosity in his catalog. 

Mozart, Symphony No. 35 in D Major, K. 385 “Haffner” 

Mozart was skilled at the art of recycling music from one format to another, taking a celebratory piece for a garden party and turning it into a pointedly “serious” work for the concert hall. In 1776, he composed an eight-movement serenade for the wedding of Elisabeth Haffner, the daughter of Salzburg’s late mayor Sigmund Haffner, Sr. The piece used the full forces available in town: pairs of oboes, bassoons, horns, trumpets, drums, and strings. 

This was so successful that six years later, when Elisabeth’s brother, Sigmund Haffner, Jr. was to be elevated to the aristocracy, he naturally asked Mozart to write music for the occasion. By then, however, Mozart had moved to Vienna and was characteristically swamped with other projects, including his opera, The Abduction from the Seraglio, as well as his own wedding plans. Though unenthusiastic, Mozart obliged. Eventually, he ended up reworking the earlier piece to create a second “Haffner” Serenade, four movements of which were then excerpted to create the “Haffner” Symphony

The “Haffner” Symphony maintained the serenade’s celebratory spirit even as a march movement and one of the two minuets were dropped. Flutes and clarinets, both previously unavailable in Salzburg, were added. The opening Allegro is to be “played with great fire,” as it sets out with a bold opening theme that leaps two octaves followed by darting scale passages.  

The middle two movements inherit the serenade’s lighter sound world, with a graceful andante speckled with operatic embellishments, and a minuet full of regal pomp. Mozart wanted the finale played “as fast as possible.” Its main theme is drawn almost note for note from a triumphal aria from The Abduction from the Seraglio

— Brian Wise

Danish String Quartet

Joseph Haydn, String Quartet in G Minor, Op. 20, No. 3
Robert Schumann, String Quartet No. 3 in A Major, Op. 41, No. 3

Folk music

Haydn, String Quartet in G Minor, Op. 20, No. 3

Haydn’s Opus 20 quartets were nicknamed the “Sun,” after an illustration of a rising sun that adorned the cover of the first printed edition. Whether intended or not, the symbolism fits, signifying the rise of a new musical style and the full emergence of Haydn’s career as a string quartet composer. The musical style in question is Sturm und Drang (storm and stress), which swept through Europe around 1770, and signaled a move away from light, courtly pieces and towards music of heightened urgency and emotional depth. The style is especially evident in the two minor-key quartets (Nos. 3 and 5). In this opus Haydn also liberated the cello from its rather staid role as a base line instrument to fully participate in the four-part textures. 

The Quartet Op. 20, No. 3 contains additional breaks with tradition. The outer movements are notably agitated and feature asymmetrical seven-bar phrases (a break from the melodies that fit into four- and eight-bar chunks). The anxious, passionate mood carries into the minuet movement, with its five-bar phrases, though it is relieved by a genial trio section. The slow third movement is a reverie on a single expansive melody while the finale brings crisp accents, lurching pauses, and an unexpectedly hushed ending.

Robert Schumann, String Quartet No. 3 in A Major, Op. 41, No. 3 

Robert Schumann’s Third String Quartet is the product of the busy chamber music year of 1842, when he was visited by “constant quartet thoughts,” according to his diary. He started off the year by joining his wife, the celebrated pianist Clara Schumann, on her concert tour of several German cities. But after a month on the road, Robert’s duties as a music critic for the Neue Zeitschrift für Musik summoned him back to their Leipzig home. Alone and pondering his next compositional moves, he began a prolonged study of the quartets of Haydn, Mozart, and especially, late Beethoven. 

The three String Quartets Op. 41 would result from this investigation, published with a dedication to his friend, Felix Mendelssohn. The Quartet in A major Op. 41, No. 3 begins with a two-note descending figure that is nearly identical to the opening gesture of Beethoven’s String Quartet Op. 31, No. 3—a possible salute to the late master. The motive becomes a unifying device throughout the opening movement, starting with the main theme. The second movement, marked Assai agitato, is a turbulent theme and variations built on brisk, syncopated phrases over unstable harmonies. In the third movement, a brooding, lyrical Adagio, Schumann introduces a heartbeat-like motive in the second violin. This gesture carries over into the finale, a jaunty rondo notable for its bouncy refrain and rousing finish. 

Schumann’s quartets were introduced by an ensemble led by Ferdinand David, a leading virtuoso and the dedicatee of Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto. Presenting the works to his publisher, Schumann said that “you may rest assured that I have spared no pains to produce something really respectable—indeed, I sometimes think my best.” 

Peter Oundjian, conductor
Augustin Hadelich, violinProgram:
Kevin Puts, Two Mountain Scenes (2007)
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 35

Antonin Dvořák, Symphony No. 7 in D Minor, Op. 70

Kevin Puts, Two Mountain Scenes (2007) 

Visitors to 2023 edition of the Colorado Music Festival may recall The Elements, a suite inspired by the natural world and featuring five leading American composers as contributors. Among them was Kevin Puts, whose expansive Earth and Earth (Reprise and Finale) bookended the piece. Commissioned by Joshua Bell and introduced here in Boulder, The Elements went on to receive performances in Hamburg, Hong Kong, New York, and several other cities.  

Puts’ 25-year career has spanned numerous formats and sources of inspiration. His debut opera, Silent Night — about a Christmas Eve truce during World War I — won the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Music and has been staged in two-dozen productions. His fourth opera, The Hours, played to full houses at the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Metropolitan Opera in 2022, and starred sopranos Renée Fleming and Kelli O’Hara and mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato (the Met revived it this past spring). No less substantial is Puts’ orchestral catalog, which includes works for the St. Louis, Atlanta, Baltimore, and Fort Worth Symphonies, among others. When Musical America named him its Composer of the Year in 2023, an accompanying article cited his gift for cinematic, narrative lines, “treating musical themes as protagonists and guiding audiences through metaphorical journeys.” 

Two Mountain Scenes (2007) was jointly commissioned by the Bravo! Vail Music Festival and the New York Philharmonic. Puts writes the following: 

With the impressive backdrop of the Rocky Mountains in mind, I set out to create a true showpiece for the stellar musicians of the New York Philharmonic. The first movement, marked maestoso, begins with a quartet of virtuoso trumpets combined to create the sonic illusion of a single trumpet reverberating across the valley. The strings answer with lyrical melodies which rise and fall in long-breathed arches, suggesting the silhouettes of mountain peaks.

The second movement (Furioso) begins in the swirl of a mountain storm, with torrents of arpeggios played by the strings. Distant bells ring out in the valley far below; the woodwinds adopt their rhythms and press forward insistently, gaining momentum as the music builds to a climactic finish.

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 35 

Tchaikovsky completed his dazzling Violin Concerto in just 11 days and following one of the most difficult periods in his tumultuous life. The 37-year-old composer had fled Russia following the recent failure of his marriage to a troubled ex-pupil. The brief but unhappy relationship had driven him to a halfhearted, unsuccessful suicide attempt, in which he stood waist-deep in the freezing Moskva River, hoping to catch a cold and to die from pneumonia. He settled in at the Swiss resort of Clarens, on Lake Geneva.  

In this idyllic locale, Tchaikovsky’s emotional state improved, and before long he summoned Iosif Kotek, a violinist and former composition student living in Berlin. Kotek arrived with a suitcase stuff with scores, including a violin-and-piano arrangement of Lalo’s Symphonie espagnole, which they played through with relish. In a letter to his patron, Nadezhda von Meck, Tchaikovsky raved about Lalo’s “freshness, lightness, piquant rhythms and beautiful, superbly harmonized melodies.” Tchaikovsky’s relationship with Kotek was much more than platonic, and with the Lalo in his ear, he found the catalyst needed to finish the Violin Concerto.

Still, other obstacles awaited. The work’s dedicatee, the Russian violinist and pedagogue Leopold Auer, declared that the concerto was “unplayable,” and turned down the composer’s request to perform its debut in 1879. Two years later, the Russian virtuoso Adolf Brodsky gave the premiere with the Vienna Philharmonic, conducted by Hans Richter. However, the orchestra was unprepared, and Tchaikovsky’s ultra-Russian style divided the conservative audience. Reviewers had a field day. The concerto “brought us face to face with the revolting thought that music can exist which stinks to the ear,” wrote influential critic Eduard Hanslick.  

Brodsky did not give up, however, and the work’s fortunes steadily improved with performances in London and Moscow. The piece eventually became a favorite of many violinists, in part because it sits so comfortably on the instrument, its virtuosic passages couched in music of lyricism and warmth. The first movement’s two main themes are both songful and lead to a development section full of virtuosic fireworks. The second movement, Canzonetta, unfolds with a lyrical, songlike theme, first delivered over muted strings and then in duet with flute and clarinet. The finale casts the soloist as a folk fiddler, striking up a vigorous Cossack dance embellished with dizzying scales, leaps, and trills, before building to a tremendous conclusion. 

Antonin Dvořák, Symphony No. 7 in D Minor, Op. 70  

Although the New World Symphony is Dvořák’s best-known symphonic score, the Seventh is often cited — by scholars, musicians, and the composer’s Czech biographer— as his greatest. There were several motivating factors behind the work. London’s Royal Philharmonic Society had elected Dvořák an honorary member in June 1884 and at once commissioned a new symphony. The composer had recently heard Brahms’s latest symphony, the Third, which gave him a new benchmark to aim for. Brahms had been a constant source of advice, support, and tough love and Dvořák told his publisher, Fritz Simrock, that he didn’t want to let his mentor down.  

For his part, Simrock was not particularly helpful in nurturing Dvořák’s talent. The publisher was hoping for another set of Slavonic Dances that he could easily print and sell. But others in the Dvořák circle, including the critic Eduard Hanslick, pressured him to compose in a more cosmopolitan, less provincial manner—even if this meant denying the very Bohemian traits that brought him success in the first place. Simrock offered a paltry 3,000 marks for the Seventh Symphony and insisted on printing Dvořák’s name using the German “Anton” rather than the Czech “Antonín,” deeply offending the composer. They eventually compromised on “Ant.”  

Amid the fray, Dvořák fell back on a favorite hobby—trainspotting. He claimed that the main theme of the first movement came to him as he stood at the Prague railway station. He had gone there to see the arrival of a train bringing several hundred anti-Hapsburg Hungarians to a national theater festival. A graceful woodwind melody then provides contrast to the stormy atmosphere; both themes are tightly developed before the movement ends with the principal theme dying out over an unbroken low D.  

After opening with a sumptuous clarinet melody, the second movement is rich in themes and counterpoint, spiced with some pungent dissonances. The Scherzo third movement suggests a Czech national dance called a furiant, and moves with zesty and vigorous cross-rhythms. The finale sums up the symphony’s assortment of moods as several themes are explored, before building to an affirmative D major conclusion. 

— Brian Wise

Peter Oundjian, conductor
Karina Gauvin, sopranoProgram:
Johann Strauss, Overture to Die Fledermaus
Maurice Ravel, Shéhérazade

Gustav Mahler, Symphony No. 4

Johann Strauss, Overture to Die Fledermaus

Vienna was still reeling from the “Black Friday” stock market crash of 1873 when Johann Strauss II introduced what would become his most famous operetta, Die Fledermaus (The Bat) at the Theatre an der Wien on April 5, 1874. The financial meltdown had triggered a global depression along with a decline in the city’s costume balls and other lavish shindigs; Fledermaus was a reminder of the carefree life from before.  

Strauss himself was cushioned from the crash’s effects, having just come off a lucrative run of his now-forgotten operetta Karneval in Rom (Carnaval in Rome). Though he was hardly new to the operetta stage, his fame rest mainly in short-form dance music, earning him the nickname the “Waltz King.” He had a pop-star persona to match, with a mane of black hair and a stormy, much-chronicled love life. 

Die Fledermaus was based on the French farce Le Reveillon, whose title means a Christmas or New Year’s Eve party, written by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy (they also wrote librettos for Bizet and Offenbach). After a minor aristocrat named Eisenstein is sentenced to eight days in prison for insulting a government official, he desperately searches for a way to postpone his sentence so that he can enjoy an elaborate dinner party (where a friend dresses in a bat costume). There are extramarital flirtations, mistaken identities, and practical jokes, wrapped in a tuneful, accessible score.  

The initial reception to Die Fledermaus was lukewarm. But within a few seasons, it played in some 200 theaters, ensuring that Strauss would continue to churn out operettas over the next 25 years. The overture previews the operetta’s main themes, notably with a duple-time dance number and a delightfully intoxicating waltz. 

Maurice Ravel, Shéhérazade

The fantastic yarns of The Thousand and One Nights count among our most universal stories, first spun by poets, beggars and professional storytellers in the marketplaces of the Middle East and India. No one knows precisely when — or by whom — they were written, but as the tales of Aladdin, Sinbad, and Ali Baba traveled the globe, they inspired artists as diverse as Marcel Proust and Salman Rushdie, Pablo Picasso and René Magritte, Rimsky-Korsakov and John Adams. 

With his longstanding penchant for the exotic, Maurice Ravel made two efforts at adapting the centuries-old Nights, beginning with plans for an opera about the heroine narrator Scheherazade. Only an overture was completed and performed in Paris in 1899. Scheherazade again beckoned Ravel in 1903, when he was 28 and part of a circle of avant-garde artists dubbed Les Apaches. One member of the group, the writer and painter Arthur Leclère — a.k.a. Tristan Klingsor — published a book that year of Eastern-focused poems titled Shéhérazade. Ravel set three of them for this brief but marvelously rich orchestral song cycle. 

Leclère’s texts are less about The Thousand and One Nights than a generalized sense of wanderlust and longing, as announced in the hushed opening line of the first movement: “Asia, Asia, Asia, Ancient wonderland of fairy tales, Where fantasy sleeps like an empress in her mystery-filled forest.” References to Damascus and Persia bring fluttering strings while a line about “portly mandarins” is underscored with pentatonic scales. In The Magic Flute, a flute hypnotically decorates the singer’s enraptured chant, while in the Indifferent One, a tone of mysterious, wistful desire is underscored with a kaleidoscope of timbres. 

Gustav Mahler, Symphony No. 4 

Anyone who has ever felt that a composition would benefit from a good editor can be thankful for Gustav Mahler. Even the master of the gargantuan symphonic statement knew his limits, dropping a planned seventh movement for his enormous Third Symphony and repurposing it for the finale of his Fourth Symphony. The Fourth, in turn, would be his most economical symphony, scored for an almost Haydn-esque orchestra, lacking trombones or tuba. When Mahler introduced it in Munich in 1901, there were sighs of relief at its modest dimensions, and it became his most popular symphony throughout his lifetime.  

The song that comprises the finale — and which serves as the kernel for the whole symphony — is “Das himmlische Leben” (“The Heavenly Life”), which Mahler wrote in 1892 as an independent composition, based on German folk poetry. Sung by a soprano, it depicts a child’s sweetly naïve vision of heaven, with singing, dancing, and a lavish feast being prepared for all the saints. The previous three movements build to this finale by becoming progressively simpler and more direct in tone.

The first movement has an elegant Neo-classicism with a chirping refrain of flutes and sleigh bells leading into a Mozartean melody that is passed from the violins to horns, woodwinds, and lower strings. For all its surface innocence, the theme is developed with considerable sophistication and subtlety.  

The Scherzo is a sinister, nocturnal dance, in which the concertmaster plays a solo violin retuned a step higher to suggest a street fiddler. According to Mahler, it evokes a skeletal figure intoning “the gruesome dance of death.” The slow third movement is a set of variations on two themes which conveys both an easy calm and a darker intensity. After a final outburst, the movement ends with a suggestion of eternity, masterfully anticipating the finale. 

The fourth movement consists of eight stanzas of pastoral imagery, interspersed with a sleigh bell refrain that recalls the first movement. There are also sinister undercurrents, suggesting a forest with “mysteries and horrors,” according to Mahler. Yet the overriding impression is that of radiant simplicity, as the soprano sings of a “cloudless blue sky,” angels baking bread, and St. Martha cooking in the kitchen, before the music fades on a consoling E Major chord. 

— Brian Wise 


Downes: Guide to Symphonic Music
Steinberg: The Symphony
Keller: Chamber Music: A Listener’s Guide







Puts https://www.kevinputs.com/works/two-mountain-scenes





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