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Aurora Orchestra with Sarah Connolly, Andrew Staples & John Reid

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Kings Place: Hall One90 York Way, London, Greater London, N1 9AG, United Kingdom
On Saturday 14 October 2017 at 19:30

A programme of works rooted in Vienna includes Mahler’s epic symphonic song cycle Das Lied von der Erde, with world-class soloists Sarah Connolly and Andrew Staples

Few cities in the world have been such dramatically productive cultural crucibles as Vienna. The latest programme in Aurora Orchestra’s Mozart’s Piano series traces a path from one of Mozart’s earliest ‘Vienna concertos’ in 1782 to a mature masterpiece written by Mahler after a catastrophic summer in the city in 1907.   

The first of Mozart’s Vienna concertos (No. 11) was described by Mozart to his father in a famous letter: ‘These concertos are a happy medium between what is too easy and too difficult; they are very brilliant, pleasing to the ear, and natural, without being vapid... In order to win applause one must write stuff which is so inane that a coachman could sing it, or so unintelligible that it pleases precisely because no sensible man can understand it.’

Inspired by the chamber arrangements which Schoenberg and his circle created for later Viennese performances, Iain Farrington’s exquisite arrangement of Das Lied von der Erde preserves Mahler’s original instrumentation but distils his vast symphonic scoring to an intimate sixteen-player orchestration. The result is a transparent, jewel-like reduction, perfectly suited to Kings Place, in which individual instrumental and vocal lines are heard with new clarity.  

‘What can there be left to say about Sarah Connolly, whose performances these days are pretty much beyond praise? At once human and majestic, you’d have to go back to Christa Ludwig to find the lines dispatched with such secure technique.’ (Gramophone review of LPO Das Lied von der Erde recording)

Pre-concert talk: 6.15pm, St Pancras Room
Nicholas Collon discusses Das Lied von der Erde with Iain Farrington, Aurora’s Arranger-in-Residence, exploring the challenges of arranging Mahler’s vast orchestral scorings for small chamber orchestra, and explaining why such arrangements can shed new light on the composer’s music.

Part of Mozart's Piano 2017 at Kings Place

Dame Sarah Connolly © Jan Capinski
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