Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Concerto for flute and orchestra No1 in G major KV 313
Symphony No 5 in C sharp minor
The myth goes that Mozart did not like the flute. A strange paradox for a composer who dedicated three Concertos to it (including one for flute and harp), four Quartets for flute and strings and whose last opera, Die Zauberflöte, is dedicated to this supposedly unloved instrument. No doubt Emmanuel Pahud's magic flute will persuade us otherwise.
Gustav Mahler's Fifth Symphony is quite a novel. Death was close to Mahler at the time of writting, and he almost died of an intestinal haemorrhage. Therefore interestingly, the work begins with a funeral march. Then the tone gradually changes. At the heart of this particularly brassy work is a sublime adagietto for solo strings and harp, a veritable love poem dedicated to his young wife Alma. In 1970, the cinema did a great service to this page, which recurs like a leitmotif throughout Death in Venice, Luchino Visconti's beautiful film with Dirk Bogarde in the lead role, taking on the physical appearance of the composer. While some music lovers may have been scandalised by this transposition, there is no doubt that this film is a masterpiece and that the death that prowls through this decrepit Venice is very close to the Mahlerian spirit in spite of everything.