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Mozart: The Magic Flute Overture

Mahler: Rückert Lieder

Soloist: Elizabeth Roberts

Mahler; Symphony No 1

 Tickets are £15, £13 (concessions). Under 25s free.

Next Concert

Saturday 13th April 2019:

Mozart and Mahler


St Botolph's Church, Colchester


We are very grateful to Elizabeth Roberts who has stepped in at very short notice to sing  Mahler’s Rückert Lieder, as Elinor Rolfe Johnson is indisposed.

Elizabeth is an accomplished recitalist. She was honoured to be chosen as soprano

soloist at the entry of the Olympic Flame and the lighting of the cauldron, performing

with Dame Evelyn Glennie, in the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games.

In November 2012 she premiered Keith Burstein’s cycle Songs of Love & Solitude with

Julian Gallant at Pushkin House, London. In December 2012 she gave a recital of songs by

Strauss, Debussy and Weill with Kelvin Lim in the Crush Room of the Royal Opera House,


Elizabeth’s oratorio repertoire spans from Mozart's great choral works to Tippett’s A

Child of Our Time via Verdi's Requiem and Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915. Working

with conductors such as Paul McCreesh, Jonathan Willcocks and Adrian Partington, she

has performed in many of the great venues and festivals throughout the UK, including St

John's Smith Square, Christ Church Spitalfields (Mozart K528 Bella mia fiamma and

Beethoven Symphony No. 9), Durham Cathedral (Beethoven Missa Solemnis), Truro

Cathedral (Haydn Stabat Mater), Dorchester Abbey (Beethoven Missa Solemnis) and Tewkesbury Abbey (Orff Carmina Burana). Outside the UK, concert performances have

taken her to Darmstadt for Vaughan Williams’ A Sea Symphony with the Konzertchor

Darmstadt and Philharmonie Südwestfalen under Wolfgang Seeliger; to All Saints English

Church in Rome for Bach’s Johannes Passion, Mozart’s Coronation Mass and Brahms’ Ein

Deutsches Requiem; and to Spoleto (Vaughan Williams with the Berkshire (USA) Choral

Festival). In 2012 she performed Orff’s Carmina Burana in Beijing with the Peking

Sinfonietta under Nicholas Smith OBE.

Mahler’s music has wonderful melodies. He composed simple melodic lines that

conveyed complex emotions. Sometimes Mahler was so attached to the melodies of his

songs that he reused them in his symphonies. The Rückert Lieder is a song cycle of five

Lieder based on poems written by Friedrich Rückert (1788-1866). These lyric romantic

poems attracted Mahler to compose the songs. The Lieder ‘Liebst du um Schönheit (‘If

you love for beauty’) was a present from Mahler to his wife Alma. In ‘Ich bin der Welt

abhanden gekommen’ (‘I am lost to the world’) the poem has a tone of peaceful

resignation that is brilliantly captured in the music. The longest song in the set ‘Um

Mitternacht’ (At midnight’) has many changes of tempo and draws us deeper into the


Mahler wrote his First Symphony whilst he was second conductor at the Leipzig Opera.

He was then 29 years old when he conducted its first performance in 1889. This was a

new kind of symphony that combined the narrative of a symphonic poem with the

structure of earlier models of the symphony. Mahler made changes to the symphony

throughout his life - we will be playing the 1905 version. The slow movement starts with

the well-known tune of Frère Jacques played by the double- basses but in a minor key.

We start our concert with the Overture from the opera, The Magic Flute. This was the

first opera Mozart composed for commercial theatre, (the equivalent of today’s musical)

rather than on commission from an aristocratic court. Mozart needed the money and

sadly had he lived longer it is very likely that the Magic Flute, playing to full houses and

enthusiastic audiences, would have helped change his financial position. The overture is

one of Mozart’s greatest – a sparkling tune combined with a brilliant use of counterpoint

and dynamic contrasts. The opera remains very popular and is one of the most

performed operas world-wide.

Tickets may be purchased at the door or reserved in advance by either ‘phoning 01206 271128 or emailing

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