Sir Simon Rattle conducts Mahler and Beethoven


Berliner Philharmoniker
Sir Simon Rattle

  • Ludwig van Beethoven
    Symphony No. 4 in B flat major (00:37:58)

  • Gustav Mahler
    Symphony No. 1 (01:02:49)

  • Sir Simon Rattle introduces Beethoven's Symphony No. 4 (00:08:45)

  • Sir Simon Rattle introduces Mahler's Symphony No. 1 (00:10:38)

Not only does this concert with the Berliner Philharmoniker and Sir Simon Rattle open the new season, it also marks the start of an ambitious artistic project: the performance of all of Gustav Mahler’s symphonies by the end of 2011. With this series, the orchestra and its conductor pay tribute to two Mahler anniversaries: 7 July 2010 is the 150th anniversary of the composer’s birth and 18 May 2011 will be the centenary of his death.

Mahler’s symphonic œuvre is of particular significance for the relationship between Simon Rattle and the Berliner Philharmoniker. Not only was a Mahler symphony – the Sixth – performed at Rattle’s Berlin debut in November 1987 but also at his inaugural concert as the orchestra’s Principal Conductor in September 2002, when the Fifth was played. The recording of the latter remains to this day a best-seller in the international CD catalogue and, in Gramophone magazine’s opinion, “it can safely be ranked among the half-dozen or so finest performances on record.”

One of the aims of this performance of Mahler’s complete symphonies is to circumscribe the composer’s place in the history of music. To this end, his symphonies will be mirrored against the works of other eminent composers ranging from Purcell to Schoenberg. In the present concert we will hear Mahler’s First Symphony juxtaposed with Beethoven’s Fourth, giving us the opportunity to appreciate how these two composers, employing the most modern compositional means available to them in their respective periods, used the genre of the symphony to formulate music that lent voice to expression in an unparalleled way.

EMISir Simon Rattle appears by kind permission of EMI Classics.