Mahler´s Eighth Symphony
The Symphony of a Thousand doesn’t quite require 1,000 performers, but close to 300 singers and instrumentalists. Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 is in every way a musical epos, and a grandiose tribute to love and the salvation of mankind. Watch the livestreaming of Friday´s concert on Play.
Inspiration struck Gustav Mahler with incredible force in the summer of 1906 when he wrote the whole piece in a matter of months. His wife, Alma, later told how the Veni Creator Spiritus music of the first movement was composed before Mahler received the text, and yet fit like a glove. Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 brought together the Latin 9th century hymn and Goethe’s 1,000 years younger play Faust. It’s a pioneering and optimistic piece that, in the words of the composer, sounds ‘as if the whole universe began to sing’!
The Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra serves as a symphony orchestra for the whole of Sweden. Regardless of where you live you can listen to the orchestra’s concerts through the Swedish Radio’s broadcasts or on their website, and several concerts are also shown on Swedish Television. The Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra is one of the best and most versatile orchestras in Europe – perhaps even in the world. Every year they perform well-loved works from the classical repertoire as well as new music by exciting contemporary composers such as Victoria Borisova-Ollas, Magnus Lindberg and Unsuk Chin. In addition they perform music from popular films and computer and video games and collaborate with leading jazz, pop and rock artists in a constant endeavour to develop and to break new ground.
The Swedish Radio Choir is like a leading mountaineer in the world of music. The choir’s chief conductor Peter Dijkstra has described the ensemble as “the group that leaves base camp first and stakes out the course for others to follow.” Three hundred years of Swedish a cappella tradition, combined with an ambitious and culturally diverse repertoire with some of the world’s finest conductors, has established the Swedish Radio Choir as one of the foremost ensembles of its kind. The 32 professional singers are as equally at home in completely new music by today’s most exciting composers as they are in classic favourites from the rich international treasure trove. Through the Swedish Radio’s broadcasts and website the choir not only reaches concert audiences but also radio listeners everywhere.
The Eric Ericson Chamber Choir was founded in 1945 by the then 27-year-old Eric Ericson and has since been a prominent hub of the Swedish as well as the international music scene. The ensemble’s interest in continually finding new music and new fields of work has given them a very extensive repertoire: from early music to the very latest. For generations of Swedish and international composers, the choir has represented an ideal with its characteristic Nordic sound and skilful virtuosity. The Eric Ericson Chamber Choir is part of the international elite of professional ensembles. Fredrik Malmberg has been their choirmaster since 2013.
The Saint Jacob Chamber Choir regularly performs at church services and concerts in the Saint Jacob Church and in Storkyrkan (Church of St. Nicholas) in Stockholm. The choir’s repertoire comprises a cappella music from a wide range of styles and periods, as well as major works for choir and orchestra. The choir has won several of Europe’s leading choir competitions, amongst them the prominent European Grand Prix, and they regularly participate in major international festivals. The choir represented Sweden at the sixth IFCM world symposium for choral music in Minneapolis in the US, together with Eric Ericson, in order to demonstrate “the Swedish choral miracle”. The choir is led by Gary Graden.
The Chorista Youth Choir consists of young people in secondary or upper secondary school with a passion for singing. The choir performs at church services and concerts at Uppenbarelsekyrkan (the Church of Revelation) in Hägersten, as well as going on concert trips. Their choirmaster is Kerstin Börjeson.
The Adolf Fredrik Church Children’s Choir consists of children from the age of 9-12. The choir has a high level of ambition and sings choral works for single as well as several harmony parts. The choir performs alone or together with a pianist or organist, various musical ensembles or orchestras. The repertoire is focused on the classical choral tradition but also encompasses jazz, traditional songs, folk songs and others. The choir is led by Christoffer Holgersson.
Soprano Hanna Husáhr hails from Borlänge and studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, at the Academy of Music and Drama in Gothenburg as well as at the Stockholm Opera Studio. In 2009, she made her operatic debut as Leïla in Les pêcheurs de perles. She has also played Adina in L’elisir d’amore, Romilda in Xerxes and Zerlina in Don Giovanni. In addition, Hanna has a broad concert repertoire that spans the entire period from early baroque to newly written music, and she has worked with conductors such as Leif Segerstam, Pinchas Steinberg, Mikko Franck and Herbert Blomstedt. Hanna received the Jussi Björling prize in 2011, the Christina Nilsson scholarship in 2013, the Mozart Prize in the Stenhammar competition in 2016 and the Birgit Nilsson scholarship in 2017.
The American dramatic soprano Lise Lindstrom was born and raised in California. She was introduced to the world of music by her mother who is also a singer, as well as music teacher. After studying at San Francisco State University and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Lise made a spectacular and highly acclaimed debut at the Metropolitan Opera, where she stood in as princess Turandot with less than two hours’ notice. Her other leading roles include Elektra, Salome and Brünnhilde at operas such as the San Diego Opera, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Wiener Staatsoper, the Royal Opera House, Teatro alla Scala, Hamburg Staatsoper and Arena di Verona.
Performing Mendelssohn’s Elias with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and receiving the Kathleen Ferrier Award in 2002 were two early high points in the career of Scottish mezzo-soprano Karen Cargill. Since then, she has performed with a number of philharmonic orchestras, including in Boston, Philadelphia, Seoul, Rotterdam, Berlin and London. She has worked with prominent conductors such as Myung-Whun Chung, Bernard Haitink, Robin Ticciati and Valery Gergiev. On the operatic stage, Cargill has appeared as Waltraute in Ragnarök at Deutsche Oper, Suzuki in Madama Butterfly at the English National Opera and as Isabella in L’italiana in Algeri at the Scottish Opera.
Canadian contralto Marie-Nicole Lemieux had her breakthrough in Belgium in 2000, when she was awarded first prize in the prestigious Queen Elisabeth Competition. That was the start of an extensive international career during which she performed at venues such as La Scala, the Paris Opera, Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona, as well as at festivals in Salzburg and Glyndebourne, amongst others. Lemieux cultivated her career in baroque music and has gradually taken on the 18th century French and Italian opera repertoire as well. She also performs with great symphony orchestras and conductors and gives chamber concerts with a particular preference for the French, Russian and German repertoire.
The tenor Simon O’Neill from New Zeeland performs on several of the world’s opera stages. He has sung at Teatro alla Scala, the Metropolitan Opera House, the Royal Opera House, Bayerische Staatsoper and the Salzburg as well as the Bayreuth Festival. He is primarily known for the demanding roles of Parsifal and Lohengrin. Simon O’Neill is currently considered one of the world’s finest heroic tenors with his majestic and dense voice. On Queen Elizabeth’s birthday in 2017, he was appointed Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his contribution to music. Besides Wagner roles, Simon O’Neill’s repertoire includes Othello, Florestan in Fidelio, Cavaradossi in Tosca, and Mao in Nixon in China.
Bass-baritone Shenyang was born in Tianjin, China, and studied at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music. In 2010, he performed the world première of Ye Xiaogang’s Song of Farewell, which was written for him, with the China National Symphony Orchestra. In 2012-13, Shenyang played the title role in Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro at the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing. In North America, he has performed Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and at the Metropolitan Opera House, he played Masetto in Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Garibaldo in Handel’s Rodelinda and Colline in Puccini’s La bohème. In 2010, Shenyang won the Montblanc New Voices at the Stars of the White Nights Festival.