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International Musicians to Present Landmark Performance Of Mahler's 'Symphony Of A Thousand'

A staggering 1,200 parts have been meticulously mixed in the studio to create a combined digital performance of truly global proportions.

International Musicians to Present Landmark Performance Of Mahler's 'Symphony Of A Thousand'

Following a year of work on a truly global scale, hundreds of international musicians will take part in a ground-breaking performance of Mahler's Symphony No. 8 on Saturday 22 January 2022, presented by Choir of the Earth.

Mahler's Eighth Symphony is known as the 'Symphony of a Thousand' due to the sheer number of musicians required to perform it, including double chorus, children's chorus, soloists, orchestra, and organ. To perform it at all is an impressive feat, but what makes this performance all the more astounding is that the only participants to perform together in person are the children's choir - all of the other singers and musicians recorded their parts in isolation.

Choir of the Earth believes this performance, supported by Mahler Foundation, and led by talented conductor John Warner, is the only full performance of 'Mahler 8' to be rehearsed and performed anywhere in the world in 2021/22, and the first ever performance recorded in isolation.

A staggering 1,200 parts have been meticulously mixed in the studio to create a combined digital performance of truly global proportions, which will premiere at the concert on 22 January. Those taking part in this unique performance include:

  • Conductor, Choral Director, Sound Engineer, Piano: John Warner
  • Choirs One & Two: Choir of the Earth (over 1,000 voices)
  • Children's Choir: Conservatorio Gustav Mahler de Irapuato (50 children)
  • Orchestra: Orchestra for the Earth (almost 100 instruments)
  • Organist: Richard Gowers
  • Soloists: Amy Blythe, Tom Castle, Lucy Cox, Malachy Frame, Fiona Fraser, Tom Herring, Bernadette Johns, Rebecca Leggett, Ben McKee, Helena Moore, Ben Tomlin, John Upperton (From vocal collective Sansara)

Choir of the Earth is hugely excited to unveil this highly anticipated production of Mahler 8 at its upcoming concert premiere, as Founder Mark Strachan BEM explains:

"I am certain Mahler would have embraced the way we have put together his 8th Symphony. We would have to explain carefully how it was even possible, bearing in mind that no one met during its production, and that John Warner did all the teaching by a magic thing called "the Internet".

For many of us in the choir, this is a lifelong dream to sing Mahler 8, and because we are recording and learning from home from all over the world, we can record more than one part.

Throughout this pandemic, we have been learning this incredible music and it all comes together for the first time on 22nd January at 18:00 GMT. What a privilege it has been."

John Warner has worn many hats throughout this production, including choral director, orchestral conductor, pianist, and even sound engineer. Discussing how a project of such an impressive scale has been achieved, he explains:

"This performance is the result of well over a year of work by hundreds of musicians from around the world, young and old. The music is Mahler's Eighth Symphony, a work of boundless love and optimism that speaks to us especially directly in these difficult times, and yet I am sure this is the first rendition the world has seen since the pandemic.

Mahler calls for an ensemble of unprecedented size - two symphony choruses, a children's choir, a host of soloists and a vast orchestra including organ - making onstage performances of this work still broadly unfeasible in a world still grappling with the pandemic.

Starting simply with my piano master track of the piece, over the months we have slowly built up every note of Mahler's great work, rehearsing and recording entirely in isolation. It has been a truly collaborative process and a joy to be part of it."

The soloists for the performance are members of award-winning vocal collective, Sansara, which also provided the backing tracks that helped the international choir learn their parts at home. Speaking about Sansara's involvement in the project, its Artistic Director, Tom Herring, says:

"We've loved being involved in this fantastic project and are thrilled to see it coming to fruition after a huge amount of work from the whole team. The ambition and vision required to present such a large scale work are truly remarkable and represent a milestone in virtual performance which we can't wait to share."

Choir of the Earth has also been thrilled to collaborate with the Conservatorio Gustav Mahler de Irapuato in Salamanca, Mexico, which provided the children's choir for this special Mahler 8 performance. The Conservatorio was founded in 2012 to provide a space for children and young people to develop musical skills and knowledge. The non-profit Mahler Foundation supports the Conservatory in its work to educate the region's children about classical music, and the life and music of Gustav Mahler in particular, but also to create a positive social impact among local communities.

Choir of the Earth has announced that all profits from ticket sales for the online concert will go to the Conservatory to help further this important work. A 'sneak peek' of the children's performance is available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JXaZAfz8zY8

Marina Mahler, Founder and President of Mahler Foundation, and a President of Choir of the Earth, explains the significance of this truly global project:

"It is quite extraordinary to think that Choir of the Earth performed this entire Mahler 8, Symphony of a Thousand, singing from homes all over the world into standard mobile phones and that none of the singers actually met during the whole process. It is an amazing project and without Mark Strachan's love and vision would not have happened at all!

It is important and relevant that this amazing and challenging performance was put together and directed by the conductor John Warner with his wonderful Orchestra For the Earth.

I am particularly delighted and proud that the Children's Chorus was recorded in Mexico with a choir which is part of Mahler Foundation in the city of Irapuato, where there is, beyond a choir, also a Mahler Academy for children and a Mahler Youth Orchestra.

This is truly a performance of the Earth for the Earth!"

This fascinating project was recently the subject of the Mahler Hour, presented by Mahler Foundation's Vice President, Morten Solvik. The video features conversations with many of the key figures involved in the production of this historic performance, and is available at: https://mahlerfoundation.org/foundation/themahlerhour/an-around-the-world-performance-of-mahlers-eighth-symphony

Speaking on the aims and values that lie at the heart of Choir of the Earth, Morten explains how these mirror the sentiments behind Mahler's work:

"Mahler Foundation is delighted to support the efforts of Choir of the Earth. Mark Strachan and his team have created a means for music-making on a global scale that allows individuals from around the world to celebrate in the joy of collaboration, community, and creativity.

Coupling singing with online technology, this organization enables experiences that transcend geography, politics, and nationhood and make us aware of the power of art to overcome both distance and difference. In so doing, these projects ignite the compassion and concern for the human condition that lies at the heart of the works of Gustav Mahler."

Tickets to this unique online concert cost £20, with all profits from sales going to the Conservatorio Gustav Mahler de Irapuato, and can be purchased from Choir of the Earth's website at: https://choiroftheearth.com/mahler-8-concert-performance.



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