Gustav Mahler’s eighth symphony, famously known as a ‘Symphony of a Thousand’, proved he was one of the most ambitious and visionary composers of the romantic era, which originated in Europe from the late 18th century to the early 19th century. The very nicknames given to his symphonies (Titan, Resurrection and here the Symphony of a Thousand) only serve to highlight this point.
Mahler was a composer who was assured of his own position in the world. He triumphed in his art and captivated audiences with every symphony he composed. His ‘Symphony of a Thousand’ gained its wonderous nickname from the fact that its premiere performance featured 1,028 performers, including an orchestra of more than 100, three choruses, and the vocal soloists.
It all began in the summer of 1906. While on holiday Mahler wrestled with the wasteland of musical ideas in his mind, he simply did not know what to compose next. In recollections of his life, his inspiration came from the Spiritus Creator. He powerfully recalled that it “took hold of me and shook me and drove me on for the next eight weeks until my greatest work was done”. Mahler had composed this astonishing piece of music encompassing settings of the Latin text ‘Veni, Creator Spiritus’, a message to the world about the nature of redemption, references to the Holy Spirit, and a deep expression of love to his wife, Alma, which was rather fitting for the era.
Viennese symphonists, Beethoven and Schubert, had both died after completing nine symphonies. Mahler being the superstitious man that he was, believed that he, too, could not survive beyond a ninth. Therefore, he intended to stop at eight. Although he did go on to write more symphonic works, at the time that he created this piece it was seen as a final statement, the last symphony of a brilliant composer, and thus had to be the most magnificent of all. And Magnificent it was.
In the words of Mahler himself “Imagine that the whole universe bursts into song. We hear no longer human voices, but those of planets and suns circling in their orbits.”
The programme includes five international choirs, eight soloists and a colossal orchestra. Namely:
Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla – Conductor
Erin Wall – Soprano
Natalya Romaniw – Soprano
Katja Stuber – Soprano
Alice Coote – Mezzo Soprano
Karen Cargill – Mezzo Soprano
AJ Glueckert – Tenor
Roland Wood – Baritone
Morris Robinson – Bass
CBSO Youth Chorus
CBSO Children’s Chorus
University of Birmingham Voices
Baltimore Choral Arts Society
Venue: Symphony Hall, Broad St, Birmingham B1 2EA
Dates and Times: Saturday 18 January 2020, 7.00pm and Sunday 19 January 2020, 7.00pm
For more information including tickets click here.
B4 Car Park is no more than a 20 minute walk from Symphony Hall but if you’re worried about wet heels with the weather we’ve been having, you can always jump on the Metro Tram!
It takes just 3-4 minutes to walk to the nearest Metro stop on Bull Street (platform 1) and you can jump off at Centenary Square/Library stop, and from there it’s only a 2 minute walk to Symphony Hall.
You may want to make a full night of it and grab a bite to eat before or after the show. There are plenty of great places to choose from!
B4 Car Park is only a 1 minute walk from Bar Opus; 5 minutes from Tattu Restaurant and Bar; 5 minutes from The Alchemist; 6 minutes from The Old Joint Stock and 5 minutes from Gaucho, to name but a few!
We are open 24/7 so there’s no need to rush back and there is always a member of staff on site to help.
HALF PRICE parking on Saturdays and Sundays
B4 Car Park is open to everyone, but B4 members benefit from great savings. B4 members get 50% off the standard tariff at weekends and 20% off the standard tariff Mon-Fri! No strings attached and it costs nothing to sign-up.