Mahler - Symphony no.6 | BR Klassik 900217

Mahler - Symphony no.6


Usually available for despatch within 2-3 working days

Label: BR Klassik

Cat No: 900217

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 1

Genre: Orchestral

Release Date: 1st March 2024



Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks


Simon Rattle


Mahler, Gustav

Symphony no.6 in A minor


Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks


Simon Rattle


To mark the 75th anniversary of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra (BRSO) in 2024, the BR-KLASSIK label is now making previously unreleased recordings of concerts worth listening to available for the first time on CD and as a stream.

Gustav Mahler's Sixth Symphony was among Simon Rattle's first concert programmes as the new chief conductor of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. The performances in Munich’s Isarphilharmonie from September 27 to 30, 2023 marked the beginning of a new chapter in Mahler interpretation, for Rattle, like his predecessors Jansons, Maazel and Kubelík, is an ardent admirer of the composer. BR-KLASSIK has now released the live recording of the concerts.

Gustav Mahler's Sixth Symphony is perhaps the darkest work he ever wrote – its nickname is “The Tragic”. And there is something almost destructive about the final movement. “But strangely enough,” says Simon Rattle, “it is also a very classical symphony. Yes, it is extreme, but for long stretches it is less wild than other works of his – although of course it does convey a harrowing message. But it's like a lot of great works: there are always different ways of reading them. I've been conducting the Sixth for forty years now, and over time I’ve come to realise that it also contains hope.”

Mahler composed his Sixth Symphony during the summers of 1903 and 1904 at his “composer's cottage” in Maiernigg, near Klagenfurt. At the Vienna performance in 1907 (the third under his baton), he called it the “Tragic Symphony” – a nickname that soon became the stuff of legend. In particular, the darkness and devastating hopelessness of the finale – written at a time when he was at the high point of his life, both professionally and personally – are puzzling. Even his wife Alma could not quite explain the contradiction. As always, it was in and through music that Mahler came to terms with his experiences, exploring themes such as farewell, the meaning of existence, death, redemption, the afterlife, and love.


This deeply impressive account of Mahler’s harrowing Sixth Symphony is plainly the product of journeying with it over many decades (what a long way we have come since that auspicious CBSO cycle), of choices made and re-evaluated, of emotions deepened with greater understanding of the text, of much soul-searching between and beyond the notes.  Edward Seckerson (Recording of the Month)
Gramophone April 2024
Gramophone Editor's Choice

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