Programme Guide

It was the largest project the Berliner Philharmoniker undertook during Sir Simon Rattle’s time as chief conductor of the orchestra: starting in August 2010, they performed all of Gustav Mahler’s large-scale orchestral works over a sixteenmonth period. To open the 2011/2012 season, the musicians presented 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.

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