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English Symphony Orchestra & April Fredrick perform Mahler, Strauss & Schubert

Saturday February 10, 2018 at 19:30
Huntingdon Hall, Worcester
£10 - £22
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Tickets "at the door" - until sold out
  1. Kaiser Waltz, 'Emperor' Op 437 - Johann Strauss II, arranged by Arnold Schoenberg
  2. Sandman's Song, from Hansel and Gretel - Engelbert Humperdinck
  3. Die Forelle D 550 - Franz Schubert
  4. Das irdische Leben - Gustav Mahler
  5. Der Tod und das Mädchen D 531 - Franz Schubert
  6. Symphony No 4 in G, arranged for chamber orchestra - Gustav Mahler, arranged by Erwin Stein

The English Symphony Orchestra (ESO) welcomes the return of superstar soprano, April Fredrick, for an evening of Mahler and Schubert celebrating childhood and nature, at Worcester's Huntingdon Hall,

The ESO offer their first foray into the symphonies of Gustav Mahler in partnership with the charismatic and virtuosic soprano, April Fredrick (ESO Artist-in-Affiliation). Conductor Kenneth Woods, also Artistic Director of Colorado MahlerFest, whose recordings of and writings about Mahler have been hailed world-wide, conducts an evocative programme exploring themes of childhood, nature and Vienna, presented in partnership with Worcester Live

The English Symphony Orchestra, hailed as the International Orchestra of Elgar Country, continue their popular series of concerts as Orchestra-in-Residence for Worcester Live with a concert on the 10th of February which includes the rarely heard version of Mahler’s Fourth Symphony for chamber ensemble.

“We listen carefully to our audiences about what they want to hear more of, and one unanimous response to last year’s concerts seemed to be that our audience really loved April Fredrick’s gala concert in Huntingdon Hall this time last year and wanted to hear more of her,” says the ESO’s Artistic Director, Kenneth Woods, who will conduct the 10th February concert. “April and I have performed the Mahler together before, and she sings it so beautifully that I knew a performance in Huntingdon Hall would be a highlight of the year.”

Gustav Mahler is a composer often associated with very long works written for huge forces. His most famous work may be his Eighth Symphony, the so-called Symphony of a Thousand, but for this concert, Woods and the ESO are presenting Mahler at his most personal. “Mahler’s Fourth Symphony is his most intimate, most personal work,” says Woods, “but this version for a very small chamber ensemble of solo virtuosi, makes the experience of the music even more immediate. Mahler’s friend and protégé Erwin Stein made this arrangement of the Fourth Symphony so that that the piece could be heard and studied in an age before recordings in a really intimate way. Huntingdon Hall’s cosy atmosphere and wonderful acoustic make it the perfect place in which to appreciate the piece.”

April Fredrick was appointed Affiliate Artist of the ESO in 2017 following her triumph with the orchestra in the title role of John Joubert’s opera Jane Eyre, a performance hailed as the 2016 Premiere of the Year in Classical Music Magazine and Recording of the Year in MusicWeb International. Her recording of Philip Sawyers’ Songs of Loss and Regret with the ESO was also a Gramophone Magazine Critics’ Choice winner for 2017. “April has a particularly lovely voice,” says Woods, “but what really endears her to audiences is her warm and her communicative gift. She brings the music to life in a very moving way.”

This concert marks the first time that Woods, who also serves as Artistic Director of the Colorado MahlerFest, will conduct a Mahler symphony with the ESO. “Mahler’s music is special to me, and I think any performance of a Mahler symphony should be a special occasion. I’ve wanted to wait until the time was right for us to tackle this music, and I’m so excited we’re finally doing so, especially with April, who makes every concert she sings in a memorable event.”

Mahler’s Fourth Symphony is a work which abounds in evocation of memories of nature and childhood, and so Woods has invited April Fredrick to join the orchestra for a set of romantic songs on the first half of the concert by Schubert, Mahler and Humperdinck which explore similar themes. The concert opens with Johan Strauss Jr.’s beloved Emperor Waltz, also arranged for chamber ensemble.

Huntingdon Hall
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