The 150th anniversary of the birth of Gustav Mahler in 2010 gave rise to a number of celebratory performances of his works. For its program at the fabled London BBC Proms in August 2010, the World Orchestra for Peace under Valery Gergiev chose the master's Fourth and Fifth Symphonies.
Mahler composed his two mighty symphonies during a period of intense activity between 1899 and 1906, which saw the creation of five symphonies (Nos. 4 to 8), as well as of several Rückert-Lieder and Kindertotenlieder.
The World Orchestra for Peace was founded in 1995 by Sir Georg Solti to reaffirm, in his words, “the unique strength of music as an ambassador for peace”. The orchestra is an ensemble of select players plucked from the world’s best orchestras. Owing to the instrumentalists' other engagements, its concerts are few and far between – and occasions of heightened aesthetic enjoyment! The orchestra was officially designated Unesco Artist for Peace in 2010.
In the words of London's The Independent, "the World Orchestra for Peace gave exemplary performances" of the Mahler symphonies. The demanding soprano solo part in the Fourth is impressively sung by Camilla Tilling. At the opening of the Fifth, the Mariinsky Theater's trumpeter Timur Martynov provides a lustrous, golden fanfare. "A rapt Valery Gergiev […] sculpted the closing Adagietto like a sacred object of veneration".