Gustav Mahler: 8. symphony

The Radio Symphony Orchestra, Hannu Lintu

The performance of Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 is always a major event. The massive work has rarely been performed in Finland and will finally be heard at Helsinki Music Centre. The symphony is the ultimate test for any concert hall.

Even on the scale of its composer, the work is massive: composed for three sopranos, two altos, a tenor, a baritone, a bass, a double mixed choir, a boys’ choir, an extended orchestra and an organ, the symphony’s premiere in Munich in 1910 featured over one thousand musicians and singers, earning it the nickname “Symphony of a Thousand”.

“All my previous symphonies are just preludes to this,” Mahler himself said when the work was complete. The incredible masses of sound create their own universe, in which the planets and suns sing. However, the work may be at its most impressive in the quieter moments of the second part: the intensity is tangible as the massive forces of hundreds of performers ring and ripple quietly around the concert hall, waiting for an ecstatic eruption.

At Helsinki Music Centre, the work is performed by more than 340 people. An all-star line-up of Finnish opera singers takes to the stage: Camilla Nylund, Helena Juntunen, Anu Komsi, Lilli Paasikivi, Tuija Knihtilä, Tuomas Katajala and Mika Kares. A Festival Choir will be assembled for the performance from the best choirs around the Capital Region. The Radio Symphony Orchestra will be conducted by Hannu Lintu.

The Radio Symphony Orchestra
Hannu Lintu, conducter

Camilla Nylund, Anu Komsi, Helena Juntunen, soprano
Tuija Knihtilä, Lilli Paasikivi, alto
Tuomas Katajala, tenor
Stephen Gadd, baritone
Mika Kares, basso

Musiikkitalon Kuoro
Tapiolan Kamarikuoro
Spira Ensemble
Kampin Laulu
Cantores Minores

Helsinki Music Centre, Concert Hall

Mannerheimintie 13a

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