Conductor Klaus Mäkelaä

Klaus Makela © Marco Borggreve

Season opening

  1. Contrapunctus XIX
  2. Violin Concerto
  3. Symphony No. 5
  1. Klaus Mäkelä conductor
  2. Isabelle Faust violin

Some of music history’s most fascinating works have been inspired by close encounters with death. Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 5 arose out of a near death experience, while in his Violin Concerto Alban Berg processed the grief he experienced due to a young woman’s death.

Johann Sebastian Bach’s last great project as a composer was The Art of the Fugue, a large collection of fugues that consisted of ingeniously constructed, polyphonic pieces that he developed to near perfection. He never managed to complete the last and most complicated of the fugues in the collection. Italian Lucio Berio (1925–2003) was one of the 20th century’s most innovative composers and several of his central works are adaptations of other people’s music. Contrapunctus XIX (2001) is Berio’s completed version of Bach’s last fugue.

Alban Berg (1885–1935) was in the middle of working on an opera when violinist Louis Krasner challenged him to write a violin concerto in the winter of 1935. Berg usually worked slowly and methodically and was initially sceptical towards taking on the task. However, in April of the same year a tragedy occurred that made him change his mind. The daughter of Gustav Mahler’s widow Alma, 18-year-old Manon Gropius, whom Berg had known since she was small, died of polio. Within a few months, Berg wrote the violin concerto “to the memory of an angel”. It was to be the last work he completed before he died in December of that year and it is his most popular one today.

Gustav Mahler’s (1860–1911) life hung in the balance in the winter of 1901 when he underwent surgery twice after a serious bleeding episode. Mahler described the event as a near death experience and over the months ahead death was the theme in several of his compositions. Symphony No. 5 begins gloomily with a mourning procession but the mood of it brightens considerably during the symphony. The fourth movement Adagietto is (probably) a declaration of love to his wife Alma whom he met the same year and it is (most likely) Mahler’s most popular piece of music.


  • Adult: 170 - 560 NOK
  • Senior: 170 - 450 NOK
  • Student: 170 - 280 NOK
  • Child: 150 NOK
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