Peter Davison is Artistic Consultant to The Bridgewater Hall, Manchester UK where, since 1994, he has created a high quality classical music programme, including the hall’s International Concert Series. He studied Musicology at Cambridge University, writing a thesis on the Nachtmusiken from Mahler’s Seventh Symphony, which led to an invitation to speak about his research at the 1989 Mahler Symposium in Paris. He also contributed to the Festschrift for Henri Louis de la Grange’s Seventieth birthday in 1994. In 2001, he edited Reviving the Muse, a book about the future of musical composition, and in 2010 published Wrestling with Angels about the life and work of Gustav Mahler to accompany The Bridgewater Hall’s acclaimed Centenary Symphony Cycle.
For the Colorado MahlerFest, Peter Davison will explore how the Seventh Symphony acts a bridge between the despairing conclusion of the Sixth and the seeming spiritual optimism of the Eighth. He will explore how the imaginative world of the German poet and novelist Eichendorff infuses more than just the two Nachtmusik movements, but provides a narrative framework for the entire work, albeit with an inevitable Mahlerian twist. The Seventh is often considered the Cinderella of the Mahler symphonies, but Davison will argue that its humour, extravagant symbolism and meeting of opposites makes it a characteristic work, while also being one of his most innovative compositions.