Festival Maribor – The Heavenly Life

Friday, 9 September 2016
Union Hall at 7.30 pm, Maribor (Slovenia)

Slowind Wind Quintet
Dissonance String Quartet

Tomaž Sevšek, harmonium
Mikayel Balyan, piano


Slowind Wind Qunitet
Dissonance String Quartet
Festival Maribor Chamber Ensemble
Janez Podlesek, violin
Matjaž Porovne, violin
Oliver Dizdarević Škrabar, viola
Klemen Hvala, cello
Petar Brčarević, double bass
Matej Šarc, oboe
Aleš Kacjan, flute
Jurij Jenko, clarinet
Barbara Kresnik, percussion
Matevž Bajde, percussion
Tomaž Sevšek, harmonium
Mikayel Balyan, piano

Nika Gorič, soprano

 conductor Nicolas Altstaedt

Alexander Zemlinsky: Humoresque for woodwind quintet
Gustav Mahler: Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen (arr. for woodwind quintet)
Sigfrid Karg-Elert: »In memoriam« from Poesien Op. 35 for harmonium and piano
Johann Strauss Jr.: Lagunen-Walzer, Op. 411 (arr. Arnold Schönberg for string quartet, piano and harmonium)
Gustav Mahler (arr. Erwin Stein): Symphony No. 4 in G major

At the center of this year’s Festival Maribor is a truly special concert with the Festival Maribor Chamber Ensemble, a group comprised of musicians from a number of leading Slovenian orchestras and chamber groups such as the Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra, the Dissonance String Quartet and the Slowind woodwind quintet, as well as soloists. They are joined by the young but increasingly internationally sought after Maribor soprano Nika Gorič.

The musicians come together on this occasion primarily to show us how Gustav Mahler, through the eyes of a child, looked upon the heavenly life and all its joy. He expresses this in his Symphony No. 4, while also introducing us to the his idealistic worldview in which the highest values are represented by the purity of the (child’s) heart and love for one’s fellow man and woman — as well as love for all the creatures of the world (Mahler was also vegetarian, after all). We will hear the symphony in the arrangement for chamber ensemble by Erwin Stein that was created for the exclusive circle of Arnold Schönberg’s Verein für musikalische Privataufführungen (Society for Private Musical Performances). The aim of the society was to present contemporary works as transparently as possible to a private interested audience and to this end a number of interesting arrangements were made of symphonic pieces that revealed surprising hidden layers within. One of the most successful of these is surely Stein’s arrangement of Mahler’s Symphony No. 4, which we will hear on the Festival Maribor in a carefully prepared and historically appropriate performance by our chamber ensemble.

In addition to this, we will also hear the musicians in various other chamber formations, including the woodwind quintet Slowind as well as the duo of specialists for historical performance practice on keyboard instruments, our very own Tomaž Sevšek and the Armenian pianist Mikayel Balyan.