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Volume 71, Issue 135, Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Life & Arts


Moores brings Mahler to life at UH

The Daily Cougar

Composer Gustav Mahler once said, "If a composer could say what he had to say in words, he would not bother trying to say it in music." Those words will once again ring true Friday evening as the Moores School of Music presents the Symphony Orchestra's production of Mahler's Symphony No. 2 in C Minor, "Resurrection" along with the Concert Chorale, the Concert Women's Chorus, the University Men's and Women's Choruses and members of the Houston Symphony Chorus.

"This is quite a monumental step for the University to take. We haven't done this piece before and it was collaborative decision based on what is good for the students, the public and the school," Symphony Orchestra conductor Franz Anton Krager said. "I don't think anyone will be quite the same after being involved with this piece or listening to it.

The symphony, written between 1888 and 1894, is one of Mahler's most popular works. Comprised of five movements versus the typical four found in a majority of symphonies, Mahler completed his work only after being inspired by Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock's Aufersteh'n (Resurrection Ode) at a funeral.

"Mahler was preoccupied with death and life after death," Krager said. "He was very concerned about the afterlife and it permeated everything he wrote." 

Sung in German with English translation during the program, the event promises to be anything but ordinary as it draws to a dramatic end throughout the entire fourth and fifth movements.

Mezzo-soprano soloist Katherine Ciesinski performs in the fourth movement, Urlicht or Primeval Light, singing the part of a small child before the innocence of childhood disappears and the cynicism of adulthood sets in -- a child from heaven.

The fifth movement incorporates the full choir (nearly 200 singers) and the sheer, physical set up is enough to take your breath away, Krager said.

Soprano soloist and associate professor of voice Cynthia Clayton will perform in the fifth movement as part of a duet with Ciesinski.

"Mahler is always spiritually connected -- music of the Earth and of the folks, but he spins it in a musical way. You are constantly on the Earth plane and on another plane at the same time," Krager said. "It takes you some place else and to be a player or conductor of this symphony and to be transported like this -- there is nothing else like it."

The performance is 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Moores Opera House. Tickets are $15 for general admission and $10 for students and senior citizens. Reserved seating is also available and tickets may be purchased in advance or at the door. For more information, call (713) 743-3313.

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