Mahler Revisited
The first festival
dedicated to the original
sound of Mahler

11.–13.9.2020 TOBLACH/SOUTH TYROL [ I ]

Artistic director: Philipp von Steinaecker

What was the sound world of Vienna in the early 20th century? How would Gustav Mahler’s music have been played during his lifetime? How did the composer experience the turbulent historic events of his time?

The newly founded Grandhôtel Orchestra Toblach and conductor Philipp von Steinaecker perform on Viennese period instruments from 1900. Together they reawaken the musical Fin de Siècle and curate “Mahler Revisited”, the first festival in pursuit of the original sound of Mahler’s music.

Mahler’s Symphonies have become part of our central European identity. But do we really know this music? Do we know what it might have sounded like when it was first performed or even in the head of the composer?
Philipp von Steinaecker


Toblach is a beautiful village in the Italian Dolomites, surrounded by forbidding peaks, dense forests and turquoise mountain-lakes. It was here that Mahler wrote his last monumental symphonies, between the summers of 1908 and 1910. In this historic place the musicians of Grandhôtel Orchestra Toblach start their unique quest. Together with experts from different fields they shed new light on Mahler’s work and offer audiences the opportunity to experience this music afresh. The orchestra gets its name from the historic Grand Hotel, where it will be resident. The hotel was built in 1877 as one of the earliest alpine hotels and quickly attracted prominent guests including European royalty. Today the picturesque building is one of the most important cultural centres in the region.

Mahler Revisited 2020

On September 13th, 2020, for the first time since its premiere in 1912, Mahler’s Ninth Symphony will be performed on the original instruments for which Mahler wrote. In a series of diverse programmes including chamber music, Lied and recitation, the musicians explore the Zeitgeist of the turn of the century. Renowned guest speakers explain historical aspects of the time and discuss the influence they had on Mahler’s life and work. Open rehearsals from September 1st offer the audience special insights and there will be an education project for children. During the following tour the orchestra will perform at Milan’s La Scala, as well as at the Teatro Regio in Turin.

Das Grandhôtel Orchestra Toblach

The musicians of the Grandhôtel Orchestra Toblach comprise exceptionally talented students from all over Europe and members of the most important orchestras in Mahler’s cities – Vienna, Prague, Budapest, Hamburg, Amsterdam, Ljubljana and New York. These include the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Wiener Symphoniker, Budapest Festival Orchestra, Staatskapelle Dresden, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Münchner Philharmoniker, Slovenian Philharmonic Ljubljana, Prague Philharmonia, Gürzenich Orchester, Mahler Chamber Orchestras, Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Camerata Salzburg, Artemis Quartett, Leipziger Streichquartett, Düsseldorfer Symphoniker, Deutsche Oper Berlin, West–Eastern Divan Orchestra, Accademia di Santa Cecilia, The Knights, NDR Elbphilharmonie, Spira Mirabilis, Lucerne Festival Orchestra and other prestigious ensembles. The Grandhôtel Orchestra Toblach will be conducted by Philipp von Steinaecker.

Grandhôtel Chamber Sessions

During the Grandhôtel Chamber Sessions the student-members of the orchestra work on the rich chamber music repertoire of this era together with some of their older colleagues. Playing on original instruments and aided by musicologists, they search for the sounds, stylistic conventions and Zeitgeist of Vienna at the turn of the 20th century. Visitors and audiences are invited to rehearsals and coachings to experience the process of reconstructing a forgotten style.

Toblach witnessed some of the fiercest fighting during World War One and thus became one of the tectonic fault-lines of 20th century history. It is here that we are founding this pan-European multi-generational orchestra. These musicians are going far back into history to learn from it for the present and to get closer to mysteries of Gustav Mahler’s music.
Sigisbert Mutschlechner, President of the Foundation “Euregio Kulturzentrum Gustav Mahler Toblach Dolomiten“

Authentic Instruments

The Grandhôtel Orchestra Toblach is a project of the cultural Foundation “Euregio Kulturzentrum Gustav Mahler Toblach Dolomiten”. The foundation is bringing together a collection of historic instruments of the Vienna Court Opera from the time of Mahler’s directorship. In order to make the latest research on performance practice in 1900 Vienna available to the performers, the foundation is collaborating closely with Dr Clive Brown, the leading scholar in the field, as well as with the University of Innsbruck and Mahler expert Prof. Federico Celestini.

Our concepts of beautiful and communicative performance are always evolving. Sometimes, along the way, we lose sight of sounds that are subtiler and more apt for a realisation of the composer’s vision than those which have replaced them; sometimes, too, we lose contact with expressive practices that were only to be read between the lines, even in such detailed scores as Mahler’s. Rediscovering these sounds and practices, and using them creatively, can reinvest the  music with a freshness and impact that has been lost through technological developments and anachronistic responses to Mahler’s notation.
Clive Brown

Artistic director

Philipp von Steinaecker is conductor and curator of the Grandhôtel Orchetsra Toblach as well as of the festival Mahler Revisited. As Principal Guest Conductor of the Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra, as a former assistant to Claudio Abbado and cellist in the Lucerne Festival Orchestra, Philipp has performed and lived with the music of Mahler throughout his life. With his long experience with period instrument ensembles and as assistant to John Eliot Gardiner, he is also an avid proponent of performance practice.
Philipp von Steinaecker was a founding member of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra and artistic director of the Mahler Academy in Bolzano. He has conducted orchestras like Swedish Radio Orchestra, Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Gürzenich Orchester Cologne, Residentiee Orkest Den Haag, Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Haydn Orchestra Bolzano, Camerata Salzburg, Scottish Chamber Orchestra and Tokyo Metropolitan Orchestra, to name only a few.

Prominent support

The Grandhôtel Orchestra Toblach is building a network of prominent supporters and advocates. One of them is the conductor Daniel Harding, who welcomes the idea of the project:

I have been wondering for years what the Vienna Philharmonic of 1900 might have sounded like. It’s important and long overdue to bring the academic rigour of performance practice and the beauty and character of the original instruments to the music of Mahler! This is an extremely exciting project and a group of wonderful musicians. Toblach is a very lucky place!
Daniel Harding


Friday, 11.9.2020
Train Station Toblach
Arrival: Summer in Toblach
G. Mahler: Ich atmet einen linden Duft
L. Janáček: Woodwind Sextet Mládi
Intermezzo with Hans Heiss, historian
A. Dvořák: String Quintet op. 77
G. Mahler:Das himmlische Leben
Music by F. Lehár and E. Kálmán for Salon Orchestra
Camilla Tilling – Soprano
Kiveli Doerken – Piano 
Musicians from the Grandhôtel Chamber Sessions (on period instruments)
Saturday, 12.9.2020
Gustav at the concert
Concert for children (and parents) 
Anna Maria Malm – Moderator
Grandhôtel Orchestra Toblach (on period instruments)
Philipp von Steinaecker – Conductor 
Stranger in my own World 
G. Mahler: Das Urlicht
A. Webern: Five Movements for String Quartet op.5
Intermezzo with Philipp Blom, author and historian
A. Berg: Lieder op. 2
L. Janáček: 2nd String Quartet Intimate Letters
Camilla Tilling – Soprano
Kiveli Doerken – Piano 
Musicians from the Grandhôtel Chamber Sessions (on period instruments)
Between two Worlds – Arnold Rosé and his Quartet
G. Mahler: Um Mitternacht
J. Brahms: Clarinet Quintet op. 115 
Internezzo with Clive Brown, musicologist
A. Schoenberg: String Sextet op. 4 Verklärte Nacht
Camilla Tilling – Soprano
Kiveli Doerken – Piano 
Musicians from the Grandhôtel Chamber Sessions (on period instruments)
Sunday 13.09.2020
Village Square
Traditional music for marching band from 1900 and by Gustav Mahler

Musikkapelle Toblach
Sigisbert Mutschlechner – Conductor
Upper and lower Foyer
Living museum
Insights into the instrument collection of the Grandhôtel Orchestra Toblach
Intermezzo with Beatrix Darmstädter, musicologist
Introduction to Mahler IX
Genius Loci
G. Mahler: Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen from Rückert-Lieder
A. Schoenberg: Farben from Five Orchestra Pieces op.16
G. Mahler: Symphony N.9 in d-minor
Camilla Tilling – Soprano
Grandhôtel Orchestra Toblach (on period instruments)
Philipp von Steinaecker – Conductor 


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