Riccardo Frizza Conducts Monumental Mahler’s “Symphony of a Thousand”

28 Mar 2024

Chief Conductor Riccardo Frizza, ending a monumental symphonic month, conducted the Hungarian Radio Symphony Orchestra on Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 in E-flat Major “Symphony of a Thousand” at Müpa’s Béla Bartók National Concert Hall on 23 March.

The tremendous sold-out concert featured soloists Csilla Boross, Kinga Kriszta, Ágnes Molnár, Szilvia Vörös, Atala Schöck, Boldizsár László, Levente Molnár, and Simon Lim and the Hungarian Radio Symphony Orchestra Choir (choirmaster: Zoltán Pad) and Children’s Choir (principal conductor: Soma Dinyés), Hungarian National Choir (choirmaster: Csaba Somos) and Honvéd Male Choir (choirmaster: Richárd Riederauer). The concert was broadcast on Bartók Rádió from 19:35 local time.

Frizza said:

“Everything started with Mahler (the announcement of my appointment coincided with the performance of the Resurrection Symphony at the Müpa that had such a resounding impact) and has reached an important destination today with the performance of the Symphony of a Thousand which we’re giving in the same auditorium on 23rd March, and for which our orchestra will be joined by the cream of the men’s, women’s and children’s choirs, and a magnificent selection of solo singers.

“We will all be called on for an exceptional venture, offering the Hungarian audience Mahler’s most magnificent creation (as he himself wrote to Willem Mengelberg, the eminent Dutch promoter of his music), a milestone in the philosophy of music, which the composer created from a vertiginous range of resources that explode with unprecedented musical power.

“Our formidable task is to interpret this masterpiece to express Mahler’s profound thoughts, written in a letter to another friend, that his previous works were tragic and subjective, whereas the Eighth Symphony ‘is a source of great joy’. With full awareness of the profound significance of these statements, we are about to immerse ourselves in the interpretation of a score which summarises the history of music up until 1906, year in which the symphony was composed.”

The performance marks the peaks of celebrations for the 80th anniversary season of the Hungarian Radio Symphony Orchestra.

Earlier this month, Frizza made his highly acclaimed symphonic debut in Vienna conducting the Tonkünstler Orchestra at the Vienna Musikverein, performing a programme of Shostakovich and Martucci. He also conducted the Euskadiko Orkestra on their sold-out Spanish Tour with pianist Federico Colli as soloist, performing Rachmaninov’s Variations on a theme by Paganini and R. Strauss’s Aus Italien.

In April, Frizza will return to the Teatro Regio di Torino, following last year’s performance of Verdi’s Vespri Siciliani, conducting Puccini’s Le Villi in the composer’s 100th anniversary.

Photo: Hungarian Radio Symphony Orchestra