Friday, 20 April 2018, 8.00 pm
Symphony No 7 E minor
Mariss Jansons, Conductor
Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks
Download Programme Booklet in German.
A good ten years have passed since Mariss Jansons made his last recording of Gustav Mahler’s Seventh Symphony with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. Now he is returning to this monumental life-affirming work, and we await with excitement to see what new vision the 75-year-old conductor and seasoned Mahler expert has come up with. Lasting some 80 minutes in five movements, Mahler’s Seventh spans an enormous range of emotions, from the solemn funeral march of the opening to the hymnic jubilation of the finale. The symphony is structured symmetrically around the central Scherzo, a nightmarishly contorted waltz. Surrounding this midnight witches’ sabbath are two characteristic nocturnes: a march undulating slowly between major and minor, and a delicately etched serenade with harp, guitar and mandolin. The work opens with a vast, multi-layered first movement and ends in a life-affirming Rondo-Finale that has left the Mahler community divided ever since its Prague première in 1908. Paul Bekker, an early Mahler aficionado, lauded the C major finale as a “daytime creation full of dazzling brightness”. Another Mahler champion, Theodor W. Adorno, mocked its proximity to Wagner’s Meistersinger Overture: “The movement is theatrical: only the stage sky over the too-adjacent fairground meadow is as blue as this.” Meanwhile the realisation has taken hold that Mahler, with the inner turmoil of the Seventh, sought to portray the contradictions of his age. He unquestionably succeeded!