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Music

Mahler in a happy mood and songs by Wolf

"I feel very close to Gustav Mahler," says Iván Fischer. We have musical proof of the Hungarian conductor's affinity to that composer this hour.

The two composers on our program were both born in 1860 and grew up in the outlying regions of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. But that's where the similarities end. The majesty of Mahler's Seventh Symphony, for example, stands in stark contrast to Hugo Wolf's intimate song settings.

Roman Trekel

Soloist Roman Trekel gives a brief introduction to each of the six Hugo Wolf songs

Mahler's Seventh has somehow stood in the shadow of his other symphonies. Music authors and scholars have especially questioned the last movement, as Iván Fischer related in an interview with DW: "They think that when Mahler is as happy as he is here, there is something suspicious about that - because he's usually gloomy and depressed. But I utterly disagree."

"That movement is not only joyous but also extremely imaginative, with references to everything from Wagner's 'Mastersingers' to Yiddish dances and folklore that's very Austrian. In other words, it's full of the typical Mahler arsenal," Fischer explained.

Gustav Mahler. Photo: dpa - Bildfunk

Is there something suspicious about Gustav Mahler in a good mood?

Hugo Wolf:
Six songs to texts by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Eduard Mörike
· Anakreon's Grave
· Think of it, soul
· Prayer
· Weyla's Song
· Harpist No. 1
· Heart, do not despair

Gustav Mahler:
Symphony No. 7 in E Minor: 3rd and 4th movements

Roman Trekel, baritone
Budapest Festival Orchestra
Iván Fischer, conductor

Recorded by Deutsche Welle, Bonn (DW) in the Beethoven Hall, Bonn on September 18, 2015

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