This CD presents Wagner not as the famous composer of operas but as a radical composer of symphonies, both real and imaginary. The Mahler Players present the world premiere recording of Richard Wagner in Venice: A Symphony, by Matthew King. Composed in 2021, this Symphony brings to life for the first time many of Wagner’s late sketches, left unfinished at the time of his death in 1883, and until now largely unknown and unheard outside specialist circles. Matthew King describes it as “a piece that plays with history, and tries to imagine something that never happened, drawing connections between tiny scraps of music which would otherwise remain forever separate and fragmentary.” Also on the album is Wagner’s beautiful masterpiece for chamber orchestra, originally titled “Symphony” and written for his wife’s birthday on Christmas Day 1870, Siegfried Idyll.
The Mahler Players, a chamber orchestra based in the Highlands of Scotland, present their debut recording. Founded by conductor Tomas Leakey in 2013, they spent four years playing the music of the composer they were named after, Gustav Mahler, in reduced orchestrations, alongside many new commissions. Recently they have been focused on the music of Wagner, and in 2019 gave the Highland premiere of Act I from Wagner’s Die Walküre with acclaimed soloists Peter Wedd, Claire Rutter and Iestyn Edwards.