For the latest instalment in their Mahler series, the Minnesota Orchestra under the direction of Osmo Vänskä presents what many consider to be the pinnacle of the Austrian composer’s entire work, the Ninth Symphony, his last completed symphony.
After a vast and emotionally intense first movement that shows an astonishing fluidity of form, theme, texture and tonality, ‘the most glorious thing Mahler has written’ according to Alban Berg, the second movement brings joy and playfulness and seems to evoke both an urban Straussian world and folk music cultures. To the bitter irony and anger of the third movement the last movement, a mystical Adagio, seems to respond with ineffable tenderness. Often regarded as the composer’s monumental – both in terms of scale and emotional scope – leave-taking of the world, the Ninth Symphony can also be understood as a requiem for his daughter who died a few years before, an acknowledgment of the transience of life, a memorial to Vienna, an evocation of fading Austrian and Bohemian landscapes, a homage to a vanishing European cultural world.
Extra material for download