Serenade in E-flat major, Op. 7
WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART
“Giunse alfin il momento . . . Al desio di chi t’adora”, recitative and aria, K 577
“Ch’io mi scordi di te? . . . Non temer”, soprano scene and rondo, K 505
Symphony No. 4 in G major
Martina Janková soprano
conductor Dennis Russell Davies piano
When Gustav Mahler (1860–1911) conceived the idea of composing his Fourth Symphony in 1899, he was already an admired and feared director of the Vienna Opera. His plan for the work started from the song in the finale, which returns to an earlier piece for voice and orchestra from 1892, from the collection Des Knaben Wunderhorn. The song, “Das himmlische Leben”, describing the bucolic and epicurean delights of heaven, thus served Mahler as the conclusion of his symphony. Compared to earlier symphonies, the orchestral apparatus in the Fourth is much reduced. In the second movement, a scherzo, the composer used a part for solo violin, whose unusual, mystic sound is due to the instrument being tuned a whole tone higher than normal, in the Baroque fashion. In the context of Mahler’s oeuvre, where tragedy is a constant, the Fourth, completed in summer 1900, appears as a divertimento, as a lyrical intermezzo. Hiding behind the apparent simplicity, however, is rich invention and a carefully thought-out compositional work.