Gesang Judit Kutasi
Niedersächsisches Staatsorchester Hannover
1 Hour 45 Minutes, one Intermission
For adults and young people from ages 12
My entire life’s work revolves around the struggle born from the crisis of our century, a crisis of faith. (Leonard Bernstein)
There are many connecting elements between Gustav Mahler and Leonard Bernstein: As a conductor, Bernstein was a passionate interpreter and champion of the composer Mahler. Both of them lived the lives of (at least) two artists, as composer and conductor. Both of them were raised in the Jewish faith. And both of them were “dualist” personalities, as Bernstein wrote about Mahler: “sophisticated and rough, sober and sentimental, bold and timid, proud and self-destructive, always both one and the other at the same time.”
However, there are differences in the nature of Bernstein’s and Mahler’s symphonic debuts. Bernstein’s Jeremiah from the year 1942 stands in his family’s unbroken Jewish tradition. With great empathy, the orchestra illustrates the prophet Jeremiah’s prophecy from the Hebrew bible and his conflict with his people. For the moving lament over the destroyed city of Jerusalem, the orchestra is joined by – in Mahler’s succession – a human voice. Mahler’s first symphony from 1888 is still purely instrumental. It emerges from a single tone, with the instruction to play it like a “nature sound”. “This nature”, said Mahler, “contains everything that is gruesome, great and lovely, too.” Serene Idyll is juxtaposed with a sense of looming downfall, folklore with alienation. The ruptures in the romantic façade, the brittleness of a perishing era unsettled the audience.