Every page of the score to Mahler's 4th is chock full of orchestration master brushstrokes. Most people focus on the sublime slow movement and moments in the orchestral song that is the finale. But two of my favorite places are in the scherzo—and they pierce right through the devil and his fiddle!
It was a week of blazing intensity working with Sierra Ensemble, an ensemble of terrific San Francisco Bay Area musicians. We were in residence at the beautiful Avaloch Farm Music Institute in New Hampshire, preparing the ensemble's world premiere of my horn trio that they commissioned from me.
Humming the tone row while I played different harmonizations turned out to be a great way for an audience to "know" it as a theme. From there it was much easier to follow the development of Schoenberg's piano concerto.