Kent Nagano conducts Ravel and Mahler

Orchestre symphonique de Montréal

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Jennifer Swartz — Harpist

Andrew Wan — Violinist

Olivier Thouin — Violinist

Victor de Almeida — Violist

Brian Manker — Cellist

Albert Brouwer — Flutist

Todd Cope — Clarinetist

Orchestre symphonique de Montréal

Kent Nagano — Conductor

Program notes

Under the baton of its musical director Kent Nagano, the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal transports us to the beginning of the 20th century with Ravel’s Introduction et Allegro and Mahler’s Fifth Symphony.

Maurice Ravel’s Introduction et Allegro for harp, flute, clarinet, and string quartet features soloists of the OSM. This very original work is dedicated to Albert Blondel, Director of the Erard harp-making company, which commissioned its composition as part of their promotion of their then newly-invented double action pedal harp. The model would eventually evolve into modern harp, ousting the chromatic harp of Erard’s competitor Pleyel from its place, despite the latter instrument’s association with Debussy’s Danse sacrée and Danse profane.

Mahler’s Fifth Symphony was the first of a trilogy of purely instrumental symphonies from the middle period of the composer’s creative evolution. Here Mahler compensates for the absence of voice by accentuating orchestral polyphony. From a poignant funeral march and desperate atmosphere to a monumental expression of triumph and joie de vivre by way of a chorale apotheosis, Mahler’s Symphony No. 5 is reminiscent of the character of Beethoven’s own Fifth.

A closer look: composers and works

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