NORWALK, Conn. -- Tickets are still available for the Norwalk Symphony Orchestra's opening performance of the 2013-14 season, its 74th, with a performance of Mahler's Symphony No. 1 at the Norwalk City Hall Concert Hall on Saturday at 8 p.m.
Mahler drew on many, many influences in the writing of this work, and Music Director Jonathan Yates has programmed the first half of the concert to be an "explanation" of all those influences in what he is calling a "Mahler One Immersion."
"One of the most revolutionary aspects of the work is how wide Mahler reached for his materials," Yates said in a statement. "In his First Symphony, the influences include his own earlier music, Frere Jacques, yodeling, military fanfares, an early nineteenth-century woodcut, Klezmer music, the opening of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, bird song at dawn, and much more."
The Norwalk Symphony will present the piece in a way that enlightens the audience about the work and that "respects the incredible creativity of its composition."
In the first half, Yates will lead the audience through the genesis of his magical work by utilizing both the Norwalk Symphony and a wide cast of musicians from throughout the community.
Mahler borrows a funeral march from Donizetti's "Dom Sebastien" so choristers from Staples High School, Norwalk Community College and members of the New Canaan High School Band will perform alongside the Norwalk Symphony Orchestra, marching as the mourners from the opera.
Renowned clarinetist, Margot Leverett will perform excerpts of the Klezmer-infused music from the symphony, as well as a Klezmer concerto written for her and the Philadelphia Orchestra.
The young musicians from TESS Suzuki School and Fairfield County Children's Choir will perform Frere Jacques, face-painted as the animals from the woodcut that inspired Mahler to use it.
Soprano Amelia Watkins will sing Mahler's earlier Songs of a Wayfarer that he incorporated into the symphony.
This will all followed by a performance of the great symphony.