Manchester begins Mahler Cycle

Posted on January 20, 2010

The BBC Philharmonic kicked off Manchester’s thought-provoking journey. Remembrance, and echoes of the past. Manchester is a city full of echoes (perhaps all cities are?). The elegant glass prow of the Bridgewater Hall is docked amid gentrified canals and warehouses which testify to the industrial past. Nearby, the old façade of the Free Trade Hall, where the Hallé made its early pioneering performances, still stands, affixed to a modern hotel behind.

And of other genres too. In the shadow of Bridgewater Hall you can walk along a canal where, cut into the wall of an apartment building where The Haçienda club once stood (itself in a former warehouse), you’ll find a timeline of the iconic bands who once played there: Joy Division, The Smiths, The Stone Roses…

And elsewhere. The dock cranes which stand amid the high-rise sheen of Salford Quays. The red post box, the closest object to and bizarre survivor of the bomb which devastated the city centre in 1996, the year the Bridgewater Hall opened.

A celebratory anniversary year is a time of remembrance, and Manchester’s three orchestras – the BBC Philharmomic, the Hallé and the Manchester Camerata – are marking 150 years since Mahler’s birth. All 10 symphonies, plus Das Lied von Der Erde (in its reduced version by Schoenberg, courtesy of the Camerata) are being performed, each one paired with a specially commissioned contemporary work.

Read the full blog by Gramophone Magazine’s Martin Cullingford Here

Find out about Manchester Camerata’s involvement in the Mahler celebrations Here