For a recent broadcast focussed on the music of Vienna, the BBC Philharmonic commissioned David Matthews to arrange Mahler’s Kindertotenlieder for voice and reduced orchestra. Sarah Connolly joined the BBC Philharmonic and Martyn Brabbins in the orchestra’s Salford studio.
Matthews’ engagement with Mahler has been a constant throughout his creative life; together with this brother Colin, he played a key role in the preparation of the final form of Deryck Cooke’s performing version of the Tenth Symphony. In this ingenious new arrangement of the Kindertotenlieder, the triple woodwinds and four horns of the original, are reduced to just one flute and pairs of oboes, clarinets, bassoons and horns. Timpani, celesta and percussion are omitted entirely. The result highlights the intimacy of Mahler’s anguished, fantastical, and ultimately transcendental Rückert settings.
Also featured was Matthews’ string orchestra arrangement of the Andante from the Brahms String Sextet Op.18, and the interval included Matthews’ own A Vision of the Sea, in the recently released recording from the BBC Philharmonic and Jac van Steen.
The full BBC broadcast can be heard here