The National Symphony Orchestra's
Beethoven-Mahler Festival
September 2000

Mahler's score of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony

A Passage from Mahler's score of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony

In September 2000 the National Symphony Orchestra, conducted by its Music Director, Leonard Slatkin, presented a two-week Beethoven Festival in the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington D.C. The focus of the festival was an exploration of Mahler's relationship to Beethoven performance. Dr. David Pickett was the Festival Advisor and was responsible with Leonard Slatkin for planning the programmes, which included lectures and chamber music. Dr. David Pickett also edited the sources of Mahler’s Retuschen, prepared the orchestral materials and advised on their interpretation. Leonard Slatkin introduced each concert with illustrations played by the orchestra, describing features of Mahler's interpretation and some of the changes which he made to the instrumentation. The chamber music recitals were given by members of the National Symphony Orchestra as part of the Millennium Stage series of the Kennedy Center. Most of the repertoire for these was selected from pieces that Mahler himself played or arranged for orchestra. Audience and critical reactions were extremely enthusiastic.

Thursday 7 September 2000

Recital Mahler: Piano Quartet Movement
Beethoven: Variations on Ich bin der Schneider Kakadu, op. 121a
Concert Beethoven: Symphony No. 5, op. 67, arranged for piano by Franz Liszt
   (Frederic Chiu, pfte)
Beethoven: Symphony No. 5, op. 67, with Mahler's Retuschen

Friday 8 September 2000

Lecture Dr. Zoltan Roman: Mahler in America
Concert Beethoven: Symphony No. 5, op. 67, arranged for piano by Franz Liszt
   (Frederic Chiu, pfte)
Beethoven: Symphony No. 5, op. 67, with Mahler's Retuschen

Saturday 9 September 2000

Lecture Dr. David Pickett: Mahler and Beethoven
Recital Schubert: Quartettsatz, D. 703
Haydn: Quartet in C, op. 76, No. 3 (2nd movement: Kaiser variations)
Beethoven: Quartet in F minor, op. 95
Concert Beethoven: Quartet in F minor, op. 95, arranged by Mahler
Beethoven: Symphony No. 3, op. 55, with Mahler's Retuschen

Thursday 14 September 2000

Recital Schubert: Quartet in D minor, D. 810
   (2nd movement: Tod und das Mädchen variations)
Beethoven: Piano Trio in D, op. 71, No. 1 (Geister Trio)
Concert Beethoven: Coriolan Overture, op. 62, with Mahler's Retuschen
Bach/Mahler: Suite from the Orchestral Works
Beethoven: Symphony No. 7, op. 92, with Mahler's Retuschen

Friday 15 September 2000

Lecture Dr. David Pickett: Mahler and the Ninth Symphony
Concert Beethoven: Symphony No. 9, op. 125, with Mahler's Retuschen

Saturday 16 September 2000

Lecture Dr. Edward Reilly: Mahler the Conductor
Lecture Dr. David Pickett: Mahler and the Ninth Symphony
Concert Beethoven: Symphony No. 9, op. 125, with Mahler's Retuschen

"For two weeks, the NSO has performed a passel of Mahler's once infamous "retouchings" of Beethoven's symphonic works. With No.9, the orchestra and Music Director Leonard Slatkin hit their stride, finding the inner pulse and life of these strange hybrid creatures, which combine musical DNA from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries... All the salient Mahler details were in place: the orchestral roster filled out, the violins divided on either side of the stage, the winds doubled and clarifying touches added throughout the score to bring out obscured lines... In the finale's opening vision of chaos and judgment, modern trumpets were used to complete ther melodic line that the trumpets of Beethoven's time could only sporadically double. The recitative and recall of the themes had an Old Testament grandeur and deliberation; and prominent piccolo doubling gave the finale a parade-ground military flourish. The result was a big, rattling, clattering, jostling beast of a performance, which captured through excess what period-instrument performances capture through diminution: the operatic drama of the score." Washington Post

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