Mahler am Tisch: the video
In many of his symphonies and vocal music, the composer used folk music, sometimes literally, sometimes edited. In Austria, this type of folk music was played at the café tables, am-tisch similar to a jam session in a jazz bar. In our experiment, we sought this kind of setting and music to break down the barriers between audience and classical performers by building a new social and musical ritual over one week in November.
During Mahler am Tisch, three ensembles played adaptations of Mahler’s orchestral music as well as traditional folk music from Mahler’s time in two cafés in Maastricht. A klezmer group played Jewish and Yiddish music that Mahler often used in his own music, a brass band played a chorale from the Second Symphony with a singer who performed Urlicht, and the string quartet played the famous Adagietto from the Fifth Symphony as well as a country dance from the first symphony.