Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen Arranj. Arnold Schoenberg (1874 – 1951)
(Cançons del caminant)
José Antonio López, baríton
Simfonia núm.4 en sol major Arranj. Klaus Simon (1968)
per a soprano i orquestra de cambra
Irene Mas, soprano
José Miralles, flauta
Jordi Miralles, oboè
Silvia Insa, clarinet
Josep Sanchís, fagot
Miriam Merino, trompa
Smerald Spahiu, violí
Manel Barrios, violí
Sonia Krasnova, viola
Emmanuel Bleuse, violoncel
Maria del Mar Rodríguez, contrabaix
Yuko Mizutani, piano
Sorkunde Olivares, acordió
Armando Lorente, percussió
José Luís Carreres, percussió
PROCESSES OF VITAL TRANSFORMATION: MAHLER
Bàrbara Duran Bordoy
Musicologist and writer
One may suspect that Mahler would not have been very fond of the fact that some of his works were performed as arrangements as he composed his works with the specific instruments for their performance in mind. On the other hand, however, he would readily accept these magnificent arrangements of two of his works, Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen and Symphony No. 4 in G major, which really makes us think and reflect on the endless possibilities we are faced with in terms of music that we can adapt which, when done in any other way, would be much more costly to include a regular programme.
Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen is a song cycle. Here we see lots of the young Mahler, full of excitement and still coming into his own as a musician, studying in various places in Germany. Although the title is usually translated as "Songs of a Wayfarer," Gesellen refers more to the figure of a roaming apprentice who travels to learn from different maestros. This image undoubtedly leads us to other legendary song cycles, such as Schubert's Winterreise, where we also see this description of a hero embarking on a poetic journey of initiation, a young man thrust towards his destiny. This is a storyline that, reflected in real life, is nothing more than a symbol of personal journey towards self-awareness and awakening to the magnitude of life.
Mahler himself wrote the lyrics accompanying the songs, taking inspiration from a collection of popular poems, Des Knaben Wunderhorn. His melodies are simple, nothing pretentious, and maybe this beautiful simplicity, combined with the expression of a young man’s most intimate feelings—a clear autobiographical reference—is one of the reasons why this song goes straight to the heart. Around 1884, the composer was madly in love with Johanna Richter, but the relationship did not end well. Despite this disappointment in his love life, the four songs fluctuate between a melancholic, grief-filled tone and an unbridled joy for all things nature, which he discovers throughout his journey. The first song, "Wenn mein Schatz Hochzeit macht," conveys his sadness for the marriage of his one-time lover whom he is about to lose forever, and it is at this very moment he commences his journey, accompanied only by the intense conscience presented to him by nature. This same nature is greatly admired in "Ging heut' Morgen über's Feld," which captures his freedom, the newness of everything he encounters and the liberating sensation that washes over him. "Ich hab' ein glühend Messer" recounts the intensity of the pain inside the rejected lover through the metaphor of the excruciating pain inflicted by knife wounds. The final song, "Die zwei blauen Augen von meinem Schatz," begins almost as a miserable march, which bears the unmistakable signature of Mahler, however, the switch from major to minor rounds the sense of melancholy off, which gives way to solace.
The original was created for a full orchestra, with four-string sections, all woodwind, and brass instruments and percussion. Schoenberg, who arranged several of Mahler's orchestral pieces, did so not by creating new sheet music, but instead by redistributing the existing voices among the new instruments in a reduced format, with the keyboard instruments—the organ and piano—more often than not taking over the parts written for wind instruments and harp.
The Fourth Symphony's arrangement is more complex from a musical standpoint, in which wind instruments take centre stage in the first movement, with an interweaving timbre that often crashes over us like an overwhelming wave. Simon's arrangement exudes elegance, leading to lighter and more condensed work, but it is no less appealing as it unfurls clearly while Mahler's textures evolve through the connections between brief themes. The second theme, a burlesque scherzo, precedes the third movement, essentially a variation on two themes. The fourth and final movement, Sehr behaglich, offers to us "The Heavenly Life," a beautiful song that Mahler had unveiled previously. Unlike almost all of his other symphonies, this piece's climax is an ecstasy, a unique moment of contemplation.
Listening to Mahler is like beginning a transformation of sound on a personal, internal journey. The objective music, that which we actually hear, conceals the actual work of art, shrouding it in darkness, compelling us to set out on this process of personal development. Paradoxically, a substance as volatile as the music turns out to be a strong, vital catalyst. Mahler weighs heavy on the soul because he considers his music to be an existentialist, piercing and impressive work of art that never ceases to be profoundly beautiful and poetic.
The Orquestra Simfònica Illes Balears is considered one of the leading symphonies in Spain. It was created in 1988 under the institution called Fundació Pública de les Balears per a la Música, which formed a part of the Gobierno Balear (Balearic government), the Ayuntamiento de Palma (Palma’s local government) and the Consell de Mallorca (Mallorca council).
Although the symphonic history of the Balearic Islands dates back to the ‘40s, the formation of the orchestra as we know it today is down to the maestro Luís Remartínez, who was its conductor and artistic director from 1988 to 1994. The maestros following him were: Philippe Bender (1994-1997 and 2005-2009), Salvador Brotons (1997-2000 and 2009-2013), Geoffrey Simon (2001-2002), Edmon Colomer (2002-2005), Josep Vicent (2013-2014) and Joji Hattori (2014-2018) as title Co-Director. Current Director is maestro Pablo Mielgo.
The orchestra performs its regular season symphonically (season ticket period in the Auditorium de Palma, symphonic concerts in Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera, season ticket period in the Auditorium de Manacor, special concerts in Mallorca), as well as lyrically (opera season of the Fundación Teatro Principal de Palma and Amics de l’Òpera de Maó). In its summer season, the OSIB carries out the ‘Veranos Sinfónicos’ festival with the Castillo de Bellver as its headquarters and collaborating with other festivals such as Pollença or Formentor Sunset Classics. In addition to its artistic schedule, there are extensive teaching efforts made through programmes such as ‘Simfònica en família” and ‘Simfònica en Societat” which brings music to groups facing social exclusion, amongst others.
One of our main goals is to release the works of Balearic composers. Prove of that is the fact that we hold Antoni Parera Fons as a composer in residence. Soon we will première a new work, Arxiduc, composed by him and written by Carme Riera, member of the Real Academia Española.
Over the last 25 years, the orchestra has accompanied internationally renowned soloists such as Juan Diego Flórez, Frank Peter Zimmermann, Emmanuel Pahud, Khatia Buniatishvili, Giuliano Carmignola, Valentina Nafornita, Celso Albelo, Juan Manuel Cañizares, Kiri Te Kanawa, Teresa Berganza, Joaquín Achúcarro, Piotr Anderszewski, María Bayo, Simón Orfila, Katia and Marielle Labèque and the young Francisco Fullana, among others.
The OSIB has performed outside of the Balearic Islands on numerous occasions, with their recent trip to Madrid’s Teatro Real together with the tenor Juan Diego Flórez, their trip to Zurich for a concert with the mezzo Kate Lindsey, the concert in Paris’ Radio Hall France with Khayia Buniatishvili and the concert in the UN’s Human Rights Room, in Geneva, as particular highlights.
The OSIB has a label which allows us to distribute our recordings across more than 40 music platforms, such as Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music and Goolge Play Music, among others. Today, there are four albums: “Revolució”, with Symphony No.7 by Beethoven and The rite of Spring, by Tchaikovsky; Symphony No. 2 by G. Mahler, and works by Majorcan composers in “Mallorca Suite” by Baltasar Samper; and “Foners”, by Antoni Parera Fons. Besides enjoying these recordings, through them the OSIB displays the talent and international scope of the Balearic Islands, and its institutions prove their firm commitment to support culture as an essential element for the future of the region.
In 2020, the OSIB has received the Gold Medal, the most important award from the Balearic Government.
Born in Palma (Mallorca), she began her stage and musical training at the city’s Teatre Principal, going on to obtain the Advanced Certificate in Violin from the Conservatory of Music of the Balearic Islands (Conservatori Superior de les Illes Balears) under the tuition of professors Agustín León Ara and José M Álvarez, and the Advanced Certificate in Singing from the Liceu Conservatory (Conservatori Superior del Liceu), where she was instructed by Maria Dolors Aldea, Carmen Bustamente and Marta Pujol.
She made her debut at last year’s El Primer Palau 2019 series at the Concert Auditorium in the Palau de la Música Catalana, performing a solo that gained her the second prize ex aequo and the Premio Juventudes Musicales de España, awarded to the best young musician in Spain.
She was also awarded the first prize and a special prize at the International Music Competition of Les Corts, third prize at the Josep Palet de Martorell Singing Competition and the “Germans Pla, Ciutat de Balaguer” Contest, the Mirna Lacambra Award for her role as Susanna in The Marriage of Figaro at the Sabadell School of Opera, second prize at the L’Arjau Foundation’s 20th Musical Performance Contest for Young Musicians, as well as the Ferrer-Salat Music Foundation’s Promising Young Musician Grant and the AIE’s High Specialisation Grant, also having been selected for Jordi Savell’s Academy of Professional Training.
Some of her most noteworthy opera roles include Sofia in Rossini’s Il signor Bruschino, Giulia in Rossini’s La scala di seta, Belinda in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, Susanna in Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro, Papagena in Mozart’s The Magic Flute, Zerlina in Mozart's Don Giovanni and Despina in the Austrian composer’s opera Così fan tutte. She was bestowed the AOTP 2018 award for the best female non-protagonist vocalist for her portrayal of Sophie in Werther by J. Massenet during the last season at the Teatre Principal de Palma, to win it again in 2019 for her performance of Gianetta in L’elisir d’amore by G. Donizetti.
In addition to opera, she has also extensively sung oratorios, with some of her notable performanc-es including Requiem & Vesperae solennes de confessore by Mozart, Requiem by Fauré, Oratorio de Noël by Saint-Saëns, Mass No. 2 in G major by Schubert, Messe de Minuit and Te Deum by Charpentier, Mass in D major Op. 86 by Dvořák, Missa brevis Sancti Joannis de Deo by Haydn, and the Christmas Oratorio, Magnificat and Cantatas 82, 29,129, 51,147, 84 and 140 by Bach. She has recorded an album featuring the works of English composer William Jackson, alongside Emma Kirkby, Charles Daniels and Timothy Roberts, which was released in 2018 by London-based label Tocatta Classics,
Also, she has participated in the Festival Lied Victoria de los Ángeles on three occasions. She has recently made her debut at the Schubertíada, the Bachcelona Festival and Barcelona's L'Auditori, performing G. F. Handel’s Messiah, accompanied by the Vespres d’Arnadí orchestra.
Some of her most recent performances include Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream with the Cadaqués Orchestra, Gloria by Albert Guinovart, Requiem by G. Fauré and the Antoni Lliteres: El Barroc Espanyol a Europa (“Spanish Baroque in Europe”) project, in collaboration with the Finnish Baroque Orchestra.
Among Mas' most notable future projects is the opera La scala di seta by G. Rossini, Gloria and Magnificat by A. Vivaldi, Master Peter’s Puppet Show by M. de Falla, Mass in B minor by J. S. Bach, Mahler’s Symphony No. 4, L'elisir d'amore by G. Donizetti, as well as a programme of Catalan lied in Zurich (Switzerland) to be performed with the pianist Valentina Pfister.
His recent success singing St Matthew Passion at the Musikverein in Vienna, Symphony No. 9 at The Hofburg, which was recorded by Alpha Classics, and A German Requiem at Bozar in Brussels and at the Casals Festival in Puerto Rico, are all irrefutable proof that José Antonio López is currently enjoying the best period of his career so far. Along with these performances, he has also sung in a countless other illustrious venues across the world, including Munich’s Prinzregententheater, Stockholm’s Berwaldhallen, the National Philharmonic in Warsaw, Halle aux Grains in Toulouse and the Theater an der Wien, in addition to, of course, the biggest and best venues throughout Spain. His repertoire effortlessly spans everything from Bach to Brahms, not forgetting Mahler and Britten, Zemlinsky's Lyric Symphony, Requiem by Verdi and Gurre-Lieder by Schoenberg, the performance of which was recorded by the label Deutsche Grammophon. But don't let this collection of compositions fool you; José Antonio López also actively performs music from contemporary repertoires.
This season, among his endless and ever-growing list of commitments, he is set to make his debut at the Barbican in London, where the BBC Symphony Orchestra led by Josep Pons will accompany. He will return to the Musikverein in Vienna to perform St John Passion with the Orchester Wiener Akademie and Martin Haselböck, and he will sing Bach’s Mass in B minor alongside La Cetra and Andrea Marcon on a tour of Switzerland and Austria.
His increasing operatic activity includes a star performance in The Public by Mauricio Sotelo at Madrid’s Teatro Real, which was conducted by Pablo Heras-Casado; recent debut performances as Germont in La Traviata, performed in the Spanish cities of Cordoba, Oviedo, Pamplona and Gijón; Jokanaan in Salomé at the Mérida Classical Theatre Festival; Amonasro in Aida and Iago in Othello, in addition to the leading role in The Flying Dutchman in Valencia. Additionally, he has recently performed for the very first time at Mexico’s Teatro Bellas Artes.
José Antonio López has also sung several operas by Handel, including Giulio Cesare, Rinaldo, Radamisto and, in 2017, Claus Guth’s staging of Rodelinda at the Teatro Real, and has played the roles of Figaro, Don Giovanni, Escamillo and Lord Enrico Ashton, in addition to performing countless zarzuelas. In 2018 he played the eponymous Falstaff by Ford for the first time at the Teatro de la Maestranza in Seville.
He has had the honour of being conducted by many of the best in the business, being led by such eminent figures as David Afkham, Gerd Albrecht, Andrey Boreyko, Ivor Bolton, Iván Fischer, Leopold Hager, Martin Haselböck, Pablo Heras-Casado, Christopher Hogwood, Lorin Maazel, Andrea Marcon, Sir Neville Marriner, Salvador Mas, Juanjo Mena, Gianandrea Noseda, Víctor Pablo Pérez, Maurizio Pollini, Josep Pons, Christophe Rousset, Masaaki Suzuki, Yaron Traub and Antoni Wit, among others.