Andris Nelsons conducts the BSO at Carnegie Hall

On November 19, Andris Nelsons conducts the BSO and Swedish trumpeter Håkan Hardenberger at Carnegie Hall. In the midst of his whirlwind month of five concert programs with the BSO, the concert program includes HK Gruber’s marvelously eclectic trumpet concerto Aerial, a piece Gruber wrote for Mr. Hardenberger, and one of Mahler’s most popular works, his sublime Fifth Symphony. Join WQXR on Monday, November 19 at 8 pm EST for a live broadcast of the concert from Carnegie Hall.

Program Notes:

Aerial’s title comes from the idea that both movements are aerial views of a landscape. The first is the far north, a nod to Hardenberger’s homeland of Sweden. “Done with the compass—Done with the chart!,” from Emily Dickinson’s poem “Wild nights—Wild nights!” (no. 269), suggests something unfettered and brilliant, but Gruber instead wrote a slow movement that lets the listener focus on the subtle and surprising flows of instrumental color, especially within the solo part.

The group of three purely instrumental symphonies—nos. 5, 6, and 7—reveals Mahler’s growing interest in the independence of the instrumental lines in a highly contrapuntal texture. He more frequently uses small subsections of the orchestra, as if the entire ensemble consisted of an immensely varied series of chamber groups. The Fifth was written under the specific influence of Beethoven’s late quartets, which Mahler described to a friend as “far more polyphonic than his symphonies,” and of the intricate tonal counterpoint of J. S. Bach, whose work Mahler studied for hours on end.

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