Season opening with Simon Rattle and Mahler’s Symphony No. 7

26/08/2011

Berliner Philharmoniker
Sir Simon Rattle

  • Gustav Mahler
    Symphony No. 7 (01:26:16)

  • free

    The Berliner Philharmoniker prepare for the 2011/12 season (00:05:02)

It is certainly the largest project the Berliner Philharmoniker have undertaken since Sir Simon Rattle took up office as chief conductor of the orchestra: the performance of all Gustav Mahler’s large-scale orchestral works over an eighteen-month period. To open the 2011/2012 season, the musicians present the Seventh Symphony, which even today causes heated debate among music lovers – due in particular to the final movement with its expression of unparalleled grandness and celebration.

Even supporters of the composer such as Otto Klemperer and Theodor W. Adorno were baffled by this finale which did not fit the image of the eternally doubting Mahler. Others believe the movement was intended as a parody of the craze at the time for all things big. Listeners today should form their own opinion – and in addition to the overwhelming nature of the symphony’s finale, not lose sight of the three middle movements which conjure up a unique nocturnal atmosphere, full of poetry and nature, with a ghostly scherzo at its centre.

EMISir Simon Rattle appears by courtesy of EMI Classics.