In the scope of its ambition as well as its sheer physical dimensions, Mahler’s Eighth Symphony is one of the largest musical works ever created. The forces required to perform this vast symphony are almost without parallel in musical history: two very large mixed choirs, children’s choir, eight vocal soloists, organ, a huge orchestra, plus an additional brass choir placed at a distance from the other performers. At its first performances, in Munich on 12th and 13th September 1910, 1,029 performers took part and the concert promoter, quite reasonably, dubbed it “Symphony of a Thousand”.
The two performances at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam may have a slightly different number of participants, but it is an enviable line-up and includes: Camilla Nylund, Ailish Tynan, Regula Muhlemann (sopranos), Janina Baechle, Helena Rasker (altos), Klaus Forian Voigt (tenor), Tommi Hakala (baritone), Ain Anger (Bass). The choirs are drawn from the WDR Rundfunkchor Koln, the London Symphony Chorus, the MDR Rundfunkchor Leipzig, the Knabenchor Hannover and the Gemengd kinderkoor St. Bavo. All are under the baton of Marc Albrecht for the performances on Saturday, 23rd February (8.15 pm) and 24th February (2.15 pm).