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Jun 18

Herbert Blomstedt conducts Mahler's Ninth Symphony

Nürnberg, Meistersingerhalle
20:00 Uhr

»And from this worldwide festival of death, from this terrible fever of rutting, which all round sets the showery evening sky on fire, will love ever rise again?« Thomas Mann’s parting question at the end of his novel »The Magic Mountain«. It’s one of those masterly sentences that could also be about Mahler. At the eve of epochal change, his ninth Symphony displays its emotions by other means than the grand passionate gestures of late romantic precursors. For Schoenberg, it offered »objective, almost dispassionate statements about a type of beauty perceptible only to someone capable of renouncing animal warmth, and at ease with spiritual coolness«. If, for Mahler, composing the early symphonies still meant »building worlds«, the ninth seems more preoccupied with deconstructing this world – a backwards-looking valediction, laden with quotations. In his draft score he noted down phrases such as »O younger days! Vanished! O love! Gone!«. By 1909, his everyday world had been destroyed, a defective heart valve having been diagnosed two years earlier – the disease which would ultimately cause his death. Notwithstanding the many folk-like features, for the finale he composed a heart-rending Adagio. With this Symphony, we once again highlight our great Mahler tradition. As he himself said: »Tradition is keeping alive the fire, not worshipping the ashes« – thus showing us that fire symbolises all manner of passions. To bring our season to a close, our Honorary Conductor takes us through this emotional roller coaster, alternating between deep wistfulness, comfort and melancholy.

Herbert Blomstedt Conductor

Gustav Mahler Symphonie Nr. 9 D-Dur

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