Wilkins, France Discuss Mahler’s ‘Resurrection’

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November 6th, 2014

Omaha, NE — Everyone’s invited to UNO for a preview of the next Omaha Symphony Masterworks concert.

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Thomas Wilkins

Thomas Wilkins

The Omaha Symphony’s Music Director, Thomas Wilkins, was recently joined by Hal France for a Creative Forum on UNO’s campus. Two discussed the orchestra’s upcoming performance of a major symphonic masterpiece, Mahler’s “Resurrection” Symphony No. 2. Mahler was born to a Jewish family but converted to Catholicism shortly after this work was completed. However, Hal France says that Mahler’s interest not religion or theology.

“Mahler was very concerned about the afterlife,” he said. “He had an interesting spiritual life. Hi

s works are extraordinarily spiritual, they’re all geared toward spirituality in some form or another.”

With such a significant underlying theme, Mahler made use of an extensive group of performers.

“Well it’s a gargantuan orchestra,” he said. “Quadruple winds…there are ten horns and eight trumpets, a huge percussion section, a big string section….choral symphony.”

Despite the large number of performances and the public venue, Music Director Thomas Wilkins says the writing is very personal and intimate for individuals.

“Mahler exposes me emotionally in places that sometimes I want to keep covered,” Wilkins said.

Wilkins, who will be leading this weekend’s performance, also points out that Mahler was a well-known opera conductor, which explains the musical theatrics.

“First he grabs us by the throat with this gesture, but then the cellos and the basses play five notes followed by a fermata, a pause, an air of suspense.”

The Omaha Symphony will perform Mahler’s “Resurrection” Symphony this Friday and Saturday, November 7 & 8. Both performances are at 7:30 pm at the Holland Performing Arts Center. More information and tickets can be found at www.omahasymphony.org.

 

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