2022-23 Musician Picks


Hi, I'm Jeff Korak. I play second trumpet in the Columbus Symphony. And I've been playing in the brass section since 1999. So this season, I think in the spring, we have one of my favorite Mahler symphonies coming up, Mahler’s Ninth Symphony. I think out of all the Mahler's symphonies, this is probably my favorite. You probably won't find too many trumpet players that would say Mahler 9 is their favorite because he wrote so many great symphonies. As a brass geek, you know, Mahler 5 is fantastic because it starts with the big trumpet solo. Mahler 3 has the big post horn solo. So, Mahler 7 has a lot of strength and brute force. Mahler 9 is kind of a culmination of all of his symphonies, in my opinion. He wrote it very late in his life, I think around 1908 or 1909, and he passed away shortly after that. He did not get to hear the premiere of the symphony. But for me, the reason I like it is we've done it here a couple of times since I've been here. And for me, it kind of brings together all the elements of the other symphonies in a very introspective way.

And for the trumpet, at least, he writes so beautifully in the first movement. There are lot of lyrical moments. There are a lot of leading moments, powerful where it sits on the top of the orchestra of the trumpet. At the end of the first movement, there's a beautiful horned solo, a French horn solo, that kind of meanders around. Which just invokes a lot of thought in my mind about what he might be thinking. And then, the third movement has another beautiful, high, soft, lyrical trumpet solo in it. But before that is a big, strong, fast section that's a lot of fun to listen to. And then in the last movement, the trumpets don't play much, and it's a fairly lengthy movement, but he uses them at the very last moment, in a couple of spots, to really bring on the emotion. The trumpet comes in right at the end of the phrase and gives you the chills, or at least it gives me the chills. So those are some of the reasons, mostly trumpet reasons, why I like the piece, I should say.

Q: What can audience members look forward to?

This piece, for me, it's kind of like, when we are at home making dinner listening to a song or in the car, and there's that one song that comes on that makes us feel a certain way, you know. It might make us feel, you know, bring tears to our eyes because it reminds us of something in our life or makes us feel happier or want to dance or all those things. Mahler, in this symphony, he's like a master at that. There are such incredible tender moments that just kind of pull at your heartstrings, you know? So for me, like if you like listening to music at home and maybe symphonic music is not your number one thing that you listen to or you like watch The Voice or something, there's always like that one person that comes out, you're like, oh man, they're fantastic. You know, and you can really feel it, and you know. . . you know, they're going to advance. And Mahler, not that he was ever on The Voice, his music really invokes those kinds of feelings.

Mahler Symphony No. 9

Rossen Milanov, Conductor
March 3 & 4, 2023 | 7:30pm

Gustav Mahler’s epic Symphony No. 9 is essential listening in the Classical repertoire. One of his last compositions written, the work was born out of a sense of finality as he had recently been diagnosed with a terminal heart condition.

A deeply personal composition, the symphony displays all that Mahler did best, from emotional melodies to lush harmonies to large-scale structures, and despite the large orchestration, the work moves seamlessly between intimate sensuality and grand majesty.

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