Opening concert Musikfest Berlin 2022
Klaus Mäkelä, conductor
Saariaho | Mahler
This year’s opening concert for Musikfest Berlin begins on a cosmic scale. Klaus Mäkelä and the Concertgebouworkest Amsterdam present the orchestral triptych “Orion” by Kaija Saariaho, whose title refers to the constellation of that name. This will be followed by Gustav Mahler’s 6th Symphony.
Breathy string glissandi and rhythmic trickery: in Kaija Saariaho’s orchestral triptych “Orion”, fluctuating fields of sound draw an iridescent image of the eponymous mythological hunter, who, according to ancient tradition, became the most beautiful heavenly body in the northern hemisphere. The young newcomer Klaus Mäkelä, who trained with the Finnish old master Jorma Panula as well as studying cello at the Sibelius Academy, has chosen Saariaho’s suggestive orchestral piece for his Berlin engagement touring with the Concertgebouworkest Amsterdam. After this, the acclaimed Music Director of the Orchestre de Paris and Head of the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra tackles Gustasv Mahler’s Sixth Symphony, a work whose tragic and direct qualities make it for many people “Mahler’s most realistic symphony” (Attila Csampai). The march, which provides the symphony with its initial momentum, not only has military associations, it also contains the “notion of progress, […] of relentless change” (Paul Bekker). After a complex beginning, the ending of this A minor symphony (which often flirts with A major) also exhibits multiple layers of meaning: it is not as unambiguously tragic as Mahler himself described it, and the Concertgebouworkest Amsterdam will also be able to portray some moments of optimism.