Janáček philharmonic OstravaKoncerty1st subscription concert in Opava

24. 05. 2022
19:00 p.m.
Opava, kostel sv. Václava
from 330 CZK

1st subscription concert in Opava

Charles Ives
The Unanswered Question

Gustav Mahler
Symphony No. 4 in G major


Doubravka Součková – soprano
Janáček Philharmonic Ostrava
Joseph Bastian – conductor


American classical music emerged relatively late. Charles Ives is one of its pioneers. His Unanswered Question, given the subtitle Space Landscape in the manuscript, is a short piece of about five minutes that usually resonates with listeners for a long time. It is mainly the haunting, slow and quiet strings that represent the Silence of the Druids, a trumpet solo posing the Eternal Question of Existence, which the dissonant wind quartet tries to answer. The Unanswered Question was not performed until 1946, nearly forty years after the first version was composed, and remains one of the composer’s less known works to this day.

While Ives is known mainly to music insiders, Gustav Mahler, a Jewish composer and conductor, is considered one of the greatest composers of symphonic music. In hindsight, great artistic names inspire feelings of awe and admiration but artists often have to take a thorny path to fame and success. The fifty-four-minute long Symphony No. 4 in G major was not at all enthusiastically received! The premiere of the work, which took place in Munich in 1901, ended in failure and misunderstanding by the audience. Perhaps because, unlike his previous works, Mahler wrote it for a more modest orchestra and like his Symphony No. 1 it is one of the shorter ones. Although the work was not well received at the time of its performance, this is no longer the case and it is now considered to be a great and fine work.