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About this performance

Wagner Tannhäuser Overture
Mozart Violin Concerto No. 3
Mahler Symphony No.1 Titan

Pietari Inkinen conductor
Karen Gomyo violin

The concert
Early musical makings from the masters.

The great Finnish conductor Pietari Inkinen debuts at the MSO with the thrilling sounds of Mahler’s first symphony, Mozart’s third violin concerto and the overture to Wagner’s opera Tannhäuser.

Mozart’s musical love affair with the violin started and stopped early in the composer’s life, while he was still a teenager, in fact. Five violin concertos would be completed by the end of 1775, when he was just 19, and then he never wrote another. Compositionally Mozart moved on to the piano and whenever he played a stringed instrument, he chose the viola – as he did when playing in a quartet with composer Joseph Haydn on first violin, in the 1780s.

His Violin Concerto No. 3 is demonstrably different from the previous pieces, which, while brilliant were more conventional. The third is suddenly more expansive, more experimental and somehow more personal. It is also a wonderful showcase for a violinist and Japanese–Canadian Karen Gomyo returns to display its ranging qualities.

A composer who consistently ranks on Melbourne’s favourite composer lists, Gustav Mahler is as important as he is popular. He reaches back to the Classical and Romantic masters before him, but also points the way music was to go. Those reflections of both the past and glimpses of the future are heard in his first symphony, titanic and awe-inspiring.

The program opens with Wagner’s overture to one of his first operas, the 1845 Tannhäuser. A musical summary of the entire work, this overture is one of orchestral vignettes – depicting the tale of seduction and sacred devotion to come. Wagner himself called this music, “sensuously exultant”.

Conducting, in his MSO debut, is Finnish maestro Pietari Inkinen, who dazzled Melbourne as conductor of Opera Australia’s Ring Cycle in 2016.

Running time
1 hour and 51 minutes, including a 20-minute interval.

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