Mahler Players, at Inverness Cathedral.

Local orchestral group the Mahler Players concluded their performance of the complete works of Mahler at Inverness cathedral on the evening of Saturday 10th June 2017.  This achievement has taken them four years and it has been interesting to follow the development and changes that Mahler went through in his career.

Works performed during the evening were: Escapades, by Peter Longworth, the Adagio first movement of the Tenth Symphony by Mahler and an Orchestral Fantasy on Wagner’s Götterdämmerung.

Prior to the performance conductor Tomas Leakey and composer Peter Longworth gave the audience a very interesting outline of the music, its context and background.  It was fascinating to hear the process whereby Mr Longworth composed Escapades.  This was achieved by taking an element from the Mahler composition and working it up into something very new.

All three pieces of music were performed extremely well with the orchestra working comfortably together with the conductor.  As usual with the Players the orchestra is so small and audience is so close it is really interesting to see and hear the various parts of the compositions developing.

An interesting thought developed through the concert and that was venue versus composition.  The reviewer remembers hearing an early mass many years ago in St Olaf’s Church, Kirkwall.  Whilst the church sounded good the music would have been spectacular in St Magnus Cathedral.  Similarly with the first two works in this performance.  Their strident nature may have been better suited to another venue – the acoustics of the Cathedral seemed to accentuate the sharpness of the sound.  Discuss.  Having said all this the Wagner composition suited the Cathedral acoustics very well.

An extremely interesting evening which posed the question – where do the excellent Mahler Players go next in their musical explorations?  We look forward to finding out.

Many thanks to the Players and the Cathedral for hosting and support.