One of the LNSO’s 90th anniversary concerts will be conducted by Olari Elts, the orchestra’s principal conductor from 2001 to 2005. During this time, he managed to capture the audience’s attention with original interpretations, and programmes of particularly interesting structure.

The greatest highlight of Olari Elts’s concert is Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 5.

Mahler (1860-1911) wrote nine symphonies (the tenth remained incomplete), The Song of the Earth, a monumental piece for two soloists and an orchestra; solo works, a cantata and the Piano Quartet. His symphonies were written between 1884 and 1910.

Symphony No. 5 was written in 1902. At the time, Gustav Mahler was the musical ruler of Austria-Hungary’s capital. In winter, he was occupied as a conductor at the Vienna Court Opera, among other places, and the only time left for composing was summer. Since 1901, he had his own summer house in Maiernigg in Carinthia, near Klagenfurt. Situated at the banks of Lake Wörth, it was a favourite location for the Viennese aristocracy. Next to Mahler’s villa, a special composing hut was set up.

Famous American music critic Alex Ross wrote: “Symphony No. 5 is all inner turmoil without any programmatic indications. It progresses through a heroic battle, through the nightmarish Funeral March, the lush, lively Scherzo and the dreamy, lyrical Adagietto up until the finale – a radiant choral. The triumphal conclusion may even be the only conventional part of the piece.”

The Adagietto is widely popular: even if someone does not recognise it as a part of Mahler’s Symphony No. 5, it is well-known from Luchino Visconti’s visually powerful film Death in Venice: the soundtrack to glimpses of a passing era.

The programme also includes two works from the Baltics. First, the charming Double Bass Concerto (1948) by Eduard Tubin (1905-1982), the so-called Estonian Sibelius. Eduard Tubin spent a large part of his life in exile in Sweden, where he restored old operas and wrote many of his most notable works. In the final years of his life and later on, his works were ardently promoted by the outstanding conductor Neeme Järvi who emigrated from Estonia in early 1980. The double bass solo will be played by Berliner Philharmoniker musician Gunārs Upatnieks, whose performances in Riga are always highly anticipated.

Finally, the LNSO is excited about the opportunity to play a piece by Santa Ratniece (1977) for the first time. Ratniece is a mystic – and a commander of beauty. Her dazzling piece Glittering Promenade premiered at the Berlin Philharmony in 2005, and has not been performed in Latvia before.

26 Nov

19.00 / Saturday / Riga, The Great Guild


Gunārs Upatnieks - double bass


Olari Elts


  • Santa RATNIECE Glittering Promenade
  • Eduard TUBIN Double Bass Concer
  • Gustav MAHLER Symphony No. 5

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