Mahler composed some of the most powerful and emotive symphonic music of his age; as well as the big melodies, his symphonies are also full of beautiful moments of chamber music. This has inspired, over the years, various arrangers to distil Mahler’s monumental symphonic structures down to the more intimate proportions of a small chamber ensemble. This Klaus Simon (2007) arrangement is one of the most popular, and highlights the intimacy of Mahler’s music whilst internalising the power of the climaxes.
This ensemble of talented students originally came together for an epic project with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra in 2014. Spread over a four month period, the group performed side by side with the Orchestra on a three city tour to India conducted by James Macmillan with soloist Nicola Benedetti. In order to capture the particular frisson of this group before many graduated; we brought them together in June 2014 for this special recording project. This recording captures the joy in music making which suffuses our conservatoire sector in the UK and chronicles how our students – with all their energetic enthusiasm – get close to the essence of ‘Das himmlische Leben’ (The heavenly life) which is the song and the idea behind this entire symphony.
Professor John Wallace CBE - RCS Principal 2002-2014