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BBC Symphony Orchestra - Michael Zev Gordon, Mahler

Episode 1 of 2

2 hours, 30 minutes
First broadcast:
Wednesday 03 October 2012

The BBC SO's exciting new Barbican Season opens with Shostakovich's 4th Symphony, a new work by Michael Zev Gordon, and mezzo Alice Coote sings Mahler. Jukka-Pekka Saraste conducts.

Presented by Petroc Trelawny

Shostakovich was never closer to the spirit of Mahler than in his phantasmagoric fourth symphony, written and withdrawn during Stalin's Great Terror. The composer intended it to be his 'Symphonic Credo', and it's a work with an astonishing spectrum of characters and styles, from satire to high tragedy, romanticism to grotesquerie, all fuelled with a near-delirious life force. Shostakovich was fascinated by Mahler's vast orchestra and extended forms, a world away from the transparent orchestration of his mini-psychodramas, the Rückert-Lieder, performed here by one of the UK's most treasured mezzo-sopranos, Alice Coote. The concert begins with a seven-movement exploration of our awareness of time passing by Michael Zev Gordon. Bohortha is a tiny hamlet on the Cornish coast with no roads from it: in Gordon's words, 'a beautiful image of open-endedness'.

Michael Zev Gordon: Bohortha
Mahler: Rückert-Lieder *

Alice Coote (mezzo-soprano)
Jukka-Pekka Saraste (conductor)
BBC Symphony Orchestra.

Music Played

2 items
Timings (where shown) are from the start of the programme in hours and minutes
  • Part 1

    • Image for Michael Zev Gordon

      Michael Zev Gordon Bohortha - 7 pieces for orchestra

      Conductor: Jukka-Pekka SARASTE Performer: BBC S O.

    • Image for Gustav Mahler

      Gustav Mahler 5 Ruckert-Lieder vers. for voice and orch

      Conductor: Jukka-Pekka SARASTE Performer: Alice COOTE - Mezzo-soprano Performer: BBC S O.


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