Mahler's Titan , the fifth installment in Symphony Orchestra Augusta's Symphony Series, will take the audience on a musical journey from 1950s Americana to late 19th century Germany.
It seeks the answer to one question: Who are we, as Augustans?
"This season has always been about Augusta," said Maestro Shizuo Kuwahara.
Titan will be performed Friday at the Etherredge Center at the University of South Carolina Aiken and Saturday at First Baptist Church of Augusta.
A third concert was added to the weekend to benefit the victims of the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Resounding: Ten Thousand Miles is set for Sunday at St. Paul's Church. The American Red Cross will be collecting donations at all three performances.
Other concerts this season have dealt with such topics as religion and politics. "This concert is about us and about a hero," Kuwahara said.
It begins with a trip down Michael Daugherty's Route 66 . Composed in 1998, Daugherty uses instruments such as cowbell, bongo, piccolo and contrabassoon to evoke the sensations of driving down America's oldest and most beloved highway.
"It's a very contemporary feel (with a) percussion, metallic sound to it," Kuwahara said. "It's reflective of who we are as Americans."
Phillip Glass's Concerto Grosso , composed in 1992, brings a Baroque art form to the 20th century. It showcases smaller sections of the orchestra juxtaposed against the larger whole.
The piece evokes life in a metropolitan city, amid buildings and ever-faster technology.
Gustav Mahler's Titan , the final piece, is based on a novel that teaches how to be a balanced person, Kuwahara said. It was composed in the late 1880s and was based on Jean Paul's popular novel, Titan . In it, the protagonist relies on inner strength to persevere through life's difficulties. The music of Titan reflects life events and human emotion, from the jubilation of a dance to a funeral march. But by the end, there is a sense of triumphant resolution and fanfare, he said.