SALT LAKE CITY — The Orchestra at Temple Square will perform Gustav Mahler’s monumental Third Symphony during its spring concert on Saturday, 22 March 2003, at 7:30 p.m. in the Tabernacle on Temple Square.
The orchestra will be joined by mezzo-soprano soloist Martha Hart, the women of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the International Children’s Choir. Barlow Bradford, music director of the Orchestra at Temple Square, will be conducting.
Mahler (1860-1911) wrote this symphony in the summer months of 1895 and 1896 while residing in Austria’s majestic mountain and valley country near Salzburg. Writing to a friend about the Third Symphony, he said, “Imagine a work of such scope that the whole world actually is reflected in it — one becomes, so to speak, only an instrument upon which the universe plays… My symphony will be something that the world has never heard before!”
He was right. He conducted the Third Symphony’s triumphant premiere in 1902. This “monster” symphony, as Mahler described it, is scored for a much larger orchestra than usual and takes one hour and 40 minutes to perform. The first movement alone lasts longer than Beethoven’s entire Fifth Symphony.
The first part, called “Pan awakens. The summer marches in,” conveys the battle of nature’s most powerful forces as winter gives way to spring and summer. The second part consists of five movements, each subtitled by Mahler: “What the flowers of the meadow tell me,” “What the beasts of the forest tell me,” “What man tells me,” “What the angels tell me,” and the spectacular adagio “What love tells me,” in which the first violin, along with the horns, sends a secret message to the listener. It was Mahler’s wish that each listener interpret the message on his own.
“Because of the length, depth and difficulty of the Third Symphony, it is not performed frequently. However, knowing how well loved Mahler’s works are and given the fine complement of musicians we have in the Orchestra at Temple Square, it is a work that we simply had to perform,” said Barlow Bradford. He noted that the Orchestra at Temple Square is a volunteer organization made up of professional musicians, talented music students and other excellent musicians from the Wasatch Front area who all donate their time as a service to the Church and community.
Free tickets are required for the concert and are available to the public at the Conference Center ticket office (inside door 4) from 10:00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. weekdays and on the Internet (www.lds.org/events). On the evening of the performance, the doors of the Tabernacle will open at 6:30 p.m. The length of the performance will be approximately 100 minutes. Seating is limited to persons 8 years and older.