MAHLER Symphony No. 6 Orchestra dell` Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Roma / Antonio Pappano. EMI

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Mahler Symphony No 6 Orchestra Cecilia Roma Antonio Pappano Emi

MAHLER

Symphony No. 6

CD1

1.Allegro energico, ma non troppo. Heftig, aber markig

2.Scherzo: Wuchtig

CD2

1.Andante moderato

2.Finale: Allegro moderato

Orchestra dell' Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Roma / Antonio Pappano

Mahler’s Symphony No. 6 is brought vividly to life in a concert recording by Antonio Pappano and the Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia performing in January 2011 to mark the composer’s double anniversary.

The Santa Cecilia Orchestra’s Mahler tradition dates back to 1907 and 1910, when the composer himself conducted the orchestra. Many eminent Mahlerians have directed his works with the Orchestra since then, among them Bruno Walter, Otto Klemperer, Leonard Bernstein and Claudio Abbado. More recently, the Orchestra commemorated the 150th anniversary of his birth in 2010 and the 100th anniversary of his death in 2011 with a complete symphonies cycle conducted by Antonio Pappano and Valery Gergiev.

Mahler composed the thrilling, sometimes lyrical, personal and often-turbulent sixth symphony in 1903 and 1904, subsequently revised it, and conducted the premiere in 1906. His publisher gave it the subtitle ‘Tragic’, which is somewhat misleading in that it was written during a happy period of the composer’s life. Mahler married Alma Schindler in 1902 – hence the jubilant, soaring melodic ‘Alma’ theme in the first movement. The couple spent the summer of 1903 at his beloved Maiernigg mountain retreat, where he began the composition of the symphony. We can hear cowbells evoking the impression of a grazing herd of cattle and the surroundings of Maiernigg depicted through the use of celeste and tremolo strings.

But the startling hammer blows in the dramatic finale of the symphony, instructed by Mahler to be “brief and mighty, but dull in resonance and with a non-metallic character (like the fall of an axe)” were prophetic. Mahler went on to have three heart attacks in the coming years, the last of which proved fatal. “The sixth symphony is absolutely the will, the desire to live, and to fight against the ultimate obstacle – death,” Pappano said recently. “Mahler is not afraid to express the deepest, most neurotic part of the human psyche.”

At the age of 51, Antonio Pappano is one of our most important opera conductors. Music Director of the Royal Opera House since 1999 and a leading media “face” of opera, he was chosen as the focus of the BBC TV series Opera Italia, which aired in 2010. At the Royal Opera House this season, he conducts Puccini Il trittico and Wagner’s Die Meistersinger.

Alongside his engagements on the opera podium, Pappano has been steadily building his non-operatic activities in the concert hall and on disc. In addition to being Music Director of the Accademia dell’Orchestra Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, he also regularly conducts the London Symphony, Chicago Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Vienna Philharmonic, Royal Concertgebouw and New York Philharmonic. He makes guest appearances with many of the other leading American and European orchestras.

Antonio Pappano has recorded exclusively for EMI Classics since 1995 and renewed his contract with the label in October 2010. Two recordings with the Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia released earlier this year, Rachmaninov’s Symphony No. 2 / Liadov’s The Enchanted Lake and Rossini’s William Tell, have been extremely well received. The Daily Telegraph awarded the Rachmaninov/Liadov disc five stars: "With the catalogue already heaving with discs of Rachmaninov’s Second Symphony, there has to be a good reason for another one. Pappano and his Roman orchestra have found it. This is a superb performance, faithful to the score, intelligently balanced, organically conceived and infused with passion. Liadov’s orchestral miniature, played with finesse, is a charming curtain-raiser." Of William Tell, The Independent wrote, “There's so much to enjoy about William Tell, and Pappano unerringly brings it all out.”

Other recent releases with the Santa Cecilia Orchestra include Rossini’s Stabat Mater, Verdi’s Requiem and Puccini’s Madama Butterfly with Angela Gheorghiu and Jonas Kaufmann in the leading roles. Four recent DVD releases from the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, are Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia (Joyce DiDonato, Juan Diego Flórez); Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra (Plácido Domingo, Marina Poplavskaya) and Don Carlo (Rolando Villazón, Marina Poplavskaya); and Gounod’s Faust (Angela Gheorghiu, Roberto Alagna, Bryn Terfel). The CD Amor features opera scenes & lieder sung by Natalie Dessay, Dame Felicity Lott, Sophie Koch, Angelika Kirschlager with Pappano conducting the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House. With Leif Ove Andsnes, Pappano recorded Rachmaninov’s Piano Concertos Nos. 3 and 4 with the London Symphony Orchestra.

The Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia has been invigorated in recent years under the music directorship of Antonio Pappano. Named one of the leading orchestras in the world by Classic FM Magazine in 2010, the Orchestra and Pappano made their Salzburg Festival debut to critical acclaim in 2011 with Rossini’s Stabat Mater. They make their first tour of the Far East in October 2011 with concerts in Japan and China, before opening their 2011/2012 season in Rome with a performance of Mahler’s Symphony No. 8.

EMI 0844132

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