THE Mahler Players debut in two new venues, showcase the talents of two of the group and tackle a challenging Mahler symphony — the source for one of film’s most poignant soundtracks.
For the first time, the Mahler Players play Inverness Cathedral and earlier in the week were heard in the Ardross Community Hall — they also return to Nairn Community Hall.
The programme marks the 90th birthday year of the composer-conductor Pierre Boulez with a piece that features soloist and one of the group’s flautists Catherine O’Rourke, who will also perform Debussy’s unaccompanied Syrinx to begin the concert.
Group founder and conductor Tomas Leakey said: "We are celebrating the 90th birthday year of Pierre Boulez one of the world’s most influential composers.
"His name can cause alarm, but this piece is a wonderfully sensual work which we think may surprise people."
Another Mahler Player, composer Andy Evans was commissioned by the group to produce a new work and Variations on a Theme of Hildegard of Bingen will receive its world premiere at this week’s concerts.
Leakey said: "Variation on a Theme of Hildegard of Bingen, an exciting new work by our multi-talented principal horn, Andy Evans. It’s a particular pleasure to be able to collaborate with someone who has been part of the ensemble — and knows the players and their individual playing styles very well as a result. Andy has produced a wonderful new work, very pleasing to the ear and yet with a lot of depth to it.
"New commissions form a very important part of our work."
But the Players return to their core purpose for the last piece on the programme, presenting one of Mahler’s works for a small group of musicians in the latest Mahler In Miniature concert of the series.
This time it is Mahler’s 5th Symphony and its well-known, moving Adagietto movement.
Leakey said: "The 5th is one of the crowning glories of the symphonic repertoire and we are presenting it in a 2014 chamber arrangement for 23 players by the German pianist and conductor Klaus Simon.
"The Adagietto movement was memorably featured in the film Death in Venice. And this symphony, in its journey from the tragedy of the opening funeral march to the triumph of the finale, wholly fulfills Mahler’s conviction that a symphony ‘must be like the world: it must embrace everything’."
The Mahler Players will play: Nairn Community and Arts Centre on Friday, November 6 at 8pm; Inverness Cathedral on Saturday, November 7 at 8pm.
The full programme is: Debussy Syrinx; Boulez Mémoriale (…explosante-fixe…Originel) ; Evans Variations on a Theme of Hildegard of Bingen (New Commission); Mahler Symphony No. 5 (arr Simon).
Tickets can be bought in advance online by clicking on the links on the website www.mahlerplayers.co.uk/mahler-symphony-no-5/ and also from Leakey’s Bookshop, Inverness, and will also be available on the door. Reservations 01463 239 947.