Utah Symphony season ends with Mahler No. 4 | ParkRecord.com

Utah Symphony season ends with Mahler No. 4

Submitted by the Utah Symphony | Utah Opera,

Maestro Thierry Fischer and the Utah Symphony conclude their season hitting the midway point in their two-year Mahler Symphony Cycle performing Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 with Artist in Residence, Celena Shafer. Also on the program is Shostakovich’s Concerto for Violin and Orchestra performed by Veronika Eberle in her Utah Symphony debut.

Performances run May 22 to 23 at Abravanel Hall, 123 W. South Temple in Salt Lake City. Tickets, priced from $18 to $69 ($10 for students), are available through http://www.utahsymphony.org or by calling (801) 355-2787 .

Veronika Eberle will make her Utah Symphony debut performing Shostakovich’s first violin concerto. A native of Southern Germany, Eberle’s exceptional talent and musicianship has led her to be recognized by some of the world’s finest orchestras, conductors, venues, and festivals. Her recent successes include performances with the London Symphony Orchestra with Simon Rattle, Montreal Symphony, Concertgebouw Orchestra, and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. Eberle plays the "Dragonetti" Stradivarius (1700), on generous loan from the Nippon Music Foundation.

Shostakovich’s Concerto for Violin and Orchestra is considered one of his most beautiful and significant compositions. Shostakovich’s relationship with Stalin and the Soviet bureaucracy caused him to compose the most famous musical "apology" in history, his fifth symphony, signaling his acceptance of Stalin’s criticism and demonstrating his adoptions of a state-approved composer. His first violin concerto was completed in 1948, the same year when Stalin renewed his attack on intellectuals and artists. Sure in the knowledge that it would provoke the authorities, Shostakovich concealed the concerto until after Stalin’s death in 1953.

Mahler’s first four symphonies are often referred to as the "Wunderhorn" Symphonies because of their themes that originate from his earlier work "Des Knaben Wunderhorn" (The Child’s Magic Horn). The Utah Symphony closes the 2014-2015 season with the conclusion of the "Wunderhorn" symphonies, marking the halfway point in their two-year Mahler Symphony Cycle.

Mahler, the most significant symphonist since Beethoven, gained widespread appreciation in his favor after his fourth symphony. It is considered to be his most accessible symphony and is also the shortest and smallest orchestrated, employing a smaller string section and omitting trombones and tuba. The presence of death as its central theme can be seen in his depictions and descriptions of heaven. Mahler uses the poem, "Das Himmlische Leben," "the heavenly life" from his song cycle "The Child’s Magic Horn" in this work. The child can be heard as a radiant lyrical soprano solo describing the heavenly life. Utah Symphony Artist in Residence Celena Shafer will sing the haunting child’s melody.

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    Vice President of Artistic Planning Toby Tolokan will present a free pre-concert chat for ticket holders each night at 7 p.m., one hour prior to the start of the performance in the First Tier Room of Abravanel Hall.