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BBC Philharmonic - Nielsen, Mahler

Live from the Bridgewater Hall in Manchester, John Storgards conducts the BBC Philharmonic. Nielsen: Symphonies Nos 6 and 3. Mahler: Des Knaben Wunderhorn (excerpts).

Nielsen: Symphony No. 6 'Sinfonia semplice'
Mahler: 4 songs from Des Knaben Wunderhorn: Rheinlegendchen; Das irdische Leben; Revelge; Lob des hohen Verstandes.

8.25 Music Interval

Nielsen: Symphony No.3 'Sinfonia espansiva'

Gillian Keith (soprano)
Hanno Müller-Brachmann (bass-baritone)
BBC Philharmonic
John Storgards (conductor)

Live from the Bridgewater Hall in Manchester

Presented by Martin Handley

In the final concert of a series of three celebrating the 150th anniversary of the birth of Nielsen, the BBC Philharmonic and John Storgards open the evening with the most paradoxical of his symphonies. Although he said he intended the work to be "idyllic" this extraordinary symphony contains tragedy, satire and anxiety with a series of heart attacks he'd recently suffered seeming to punctuate the climax of the first movement and, in his words, "death knocking at the door" in the Finale. In an interview at the time of the first performance he told an interviewer that, "it's natural for us to long for what we don't have"; perhaps the symphony's title is more a wish than description. Before the interval Hanno Müller-Brachmann joins the orchestra for four songs from Mahler's Des Knaben Wunderhorn and the concert ends with Nielsen's Third Symphony, his sunniest, with its gripping exuberant opening and hypnotic pastoral in which the orchestra are joined by Gillian Keith and Hanno Müller-Brachmann. (The first two concerts in this series were broadcast live on 9 and 13 June and are available on BBC iPlayer.).

2 hours, 30 minutes

Music Played

  • Carl Nielsen

    Symphony No. 6 'Sinfonia semplice'

    Orchestra: BBC Philharmonic. Conductor: John Storgårds.
  • Gustav Mahler

    4 songs from Des Knaben Wunderhorn

    Orchestra: BBC Philharmonic. Conductor: John Storgårds.
  • Carl Nielsen

    Symphony No.3 'Sinfonia espansiva'

    Orchestra: BBC Philharmonic. Conductor: John Storgårds.

    The Flowers, op.85

    Performer: Folke Grasbeck (piano).


Role Contributor
Performer BBC Philharmonic


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