Clever BPO program pairs Barber and Mahler, Buffalo News

There is an art to putting together a symphony program. And at this weekend’s Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra concert, conducted by Music Director JoAnn Falletta, the components fit together beautifully.

Samuel Barber’s “Knoxville: Summer of 1915” unfolds in a kind of nostalgic, sepia haze. The soprano sings about lost childhood, and her parents, a time and a place that are gone forever. It is lovely but it hurts, too, a lot like the play “Our Town.” You think of the years passing, people you have lost.

Then comes Mahler’s Fourth Symphony, and it lifts you up. It has its drama and its clashes. In the second movement, you look death right in the face. But then comes the gloriously ethereal slow movement, and from there you soar into the last movement, a vision of heaven, with its song about saints and music and dancing and all the food you can eat, cooked by St. Martha herself. It’s childlike and silly at times but in its naivete it is such a statement of faith. And you leave Kleinhans Music Hall smiling, thinking, so this is what life is all about. Read More.