Symphony of a Thousand in Budapest with the HRSO

Exactly two years after being appointed Chief Conductor of the Hungarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, I want to reflect on the short but intense journey  I have undertaken with this orchestra, and on the artistic, social and personal bonds that we have begun creating together. Everything started with Mahler (the announcement of my appointment coincided with the performance of the Resurrection Symphony at the Müpa that had such a resounding impact) and has reached an important destination today with the performance of the Symphony of a Thousand which we’re giving in the same auditorium on 23rd March, and for which our orchestra will be joined by the cream of the men’s, women’s and children’s choirs, and a magnificent selection of solo singers. We will all be called on for an exceptional venture, offering the Hungarian audience Mahler’s most magnificent creation (as he himself wrote to Willem Mengelberg, the eminent Dutch promoter of his music), a milestone in the philosophy of music, which the composer created from a vertiginous range of resources that explode with unprecedented musical power. Our formidable task is to interpret this masterpiece to express Mahler’s profound thoughts, written in a letter to another friend, that his previous works were tragic and subjective, whereas the Eighth Symphony ‘is a source of great joy’. With full awareness of the profound significance of these statements, we are about to immerse ourselves in the interpretation of a score which summarises the history of music up until 1906, year in which the symphony was composed.