“I realized that my job is to awaken possibility in others.”

Ravel / Berg / Mahler - BPO Concert LIVESTREAM

Benjamin Zander Center
Ben's Blog — February 20, 2024

Saturday, February 24, 2024
8:00PM / Symphony Hall and LIVESTREAM.
Guide to the music with Benjamin Zander, 6:45PM.

RAVEL: Pavane pour une infante défunte
BERG: Violin Concerto
MAHLER: Symphony no. 1 (Titan)





Click here to view the Program.
Click here to listen to Ben’s introduction to Mahler’s Symphony no. 1



The cornerstone of the third concert is Mahler’s First Symphony. We last performed it twenty years ago, during the 25th all-Mahler anniversary season. This time I’ve paired it with Alban Berg’s final work, the deeply moving Violin Concerto, written as a memorial for Manon Gropius (daughter of Mahler’s widow, Alma, and Walter Gropius), who died at the age of 18. Berg dedicated it to “the memory of an angel.” We open the program with a work in memory of another lost child: Ravel’s Pavane pour une infante défunte (Pavane for a Dead Princess), composed by the only composer who could be thought of as Mahler’s equal in his mastery of orchestration.

Mahler is the composer to whom I feel closest as if I speak his language “without an accent.” I treasure each one of his symphonies. It is touching to me to place Mahler’s first great work together with Berg’s last; like an arc joining them in one sweeping gesture of musical history. I have often wondered what Mahler would have composed if he’d lived another 25 years beyond his 50th birthday. I suspect it might have sounded quite a bit like Berg.

The Berg will feature soloist Liza Ferschtman, who warmed every heart with her authentic and stirring rendition of the Beethoven Violin Concerto in 2019, a performance that The Arts Fuse chose as the “Best Solo Performance in Boston” that year.

-Benjamin Zander

  • Liza Ferschtman has been praised by The Strad “Ferschtman takes a subtly shaded approach, the brilliance and energy of her performance thoroughly compelling.”
  • The Arts Fuse on her November 2019 Boston debut performance:  “Ferschtman is a violinist with unimpeachable technique and a compelling stage presence. Her tone is silvery and pure. In Thursday’s performance, her playing was consistently poetic, whether in the Concerto’s delicate, exposed textures or in its hearty, rustic gestures.” -Jonathan Blumhofer.
  • Liza Ferschtman made her Boston performance debut with the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra on November 14, 2019, performing Beethoven’s Violin Concerto.
  • The Arts Fuse voted Liza Ferschman’s performance of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto the Best Solo Performance of 2019: “For rapport between soloist and orchestra (and/or conductor), the fall of 2019 brought two mesmeric programs from the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra. My favorite of those – by a hair – was Liza Ferschtmann’s account of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto in November. Augustin Hadelich played the same piece with the Boston Symphony in September. Then, it was beautifully done, but sterile: his interpretation took no risks; parts of it were even a bit sleepy. Ferschtmann, on the other hand, brought the music to life with a panache and vigor that should be a model for all violinists navigating these well-trod pages.”  –The Arts Fuse: Top Classical Concerts and Recordings of 2019.



Click here to listen to Mahler’s Symphony no. 1.

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