François-Xavier Roth conducts Franck and Mahler — With Les Siècles

Mahler's reconstructed "Titan" performed on period instruments

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Les Siècles

François-Xavier Roth — Conductor

Program notes

Mahler’s beloved First Symphony, known as the Titan, premiered in its best-known form in 1896—but that premiere followed many long years of revision and reconception, following the work’s beginning as a “symphonic poem in two parts” in 1889. Four years later, a “tone poem in symphonic form” comprising five movements—one of which, the lilting Blumine, would be cut from the version most modern audiences know—was performed in Hamburg, and it is this version that François-Xavier Roth and Les Siècles perform in this 2018 gem from Paris, using turn-of-the-century Viennese and German instruments to recreate the original experience as closely as possible.

Les Siècles’ careful attention to detail and impeccable artistry open a window to the past, with their “beautifully atmospheric playing” offering us a “real insight into the evolution of Mahler’s symphonic thinking, and the sheer refinement of his orchestral writing” (The Guardian). The ensemble also dazzles in Franck’s unjustly neglected and deceptively radical Symphony in D Minor, “an ambitious fusion of French and German musical traditions at a time when to do so was politically and aesthetically controversial.”

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