Gustav Mahler was a talented composer of classical music who wasn't afraid to push the envelope of musical experimentation.
You can hear all the movements from Mahler's Symphony No. 1 when the Mid-Columbia Symphony presents its spring concert, Nature, on May 17 in the auditorium at Richland High School.
"One of the most remarkable things about Mahler's music is that he was willing to experiment with setting the sounds of nature using melodies from his own songs and from popular music of his day," said symphony maestro Nicholas Wallin. "In his first symphony, Mahler evokes the sounds of a cuckoo bird, hunting horns, even street musicians playing marches and Klezmer-style music."
There are other melodies woven into his compositions that are straightforward and jolly, and the third movement in the piece even features a sinister variation on the children's tune Frere Jacques, Wallin added.
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Critic David Hurwitz once described Mahler's music as having a broader vision that makes colors brighter and endings bigger, which requires a large orchestra to achieve.
"We will have approximately 90 instrumentalists on stage for this concert in order to produce this work," Wallin said. "Simply a massive orchestra."
Also being performed will be Blumine, which is a symphonic movement by Mahler, as well as music by Bedrich Smetana called The Moldau.
"The Moldau is the most famous movement from Smetana's cycle of pieces that he wrote celebrating the natural surroundings of his Czech homeland," Wallin said. "The music is a portrait of the river Moldau, as it makes its way from its headwaters through the countryside to Prague and beyond."
The concert starts at 8 p.m. Admission is by season pass, or individual tickets cost from $25 to $50 and are available at the symphony office at 1177 Jadwin Ave., Richland, or at www.midcolumbiasymphony.org.
-- Dori O'Neal: 582-1514; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @dorioneal