Mahler Symphony No 5

London Symphony Orchestra/Sir Simon Rattle

Photo of Sir Simon Rattle conducting

Britten’s warning about the cost of war is heard alongside Mahler’s large-scale journey from tragedy to triumph – the Fifth Symphony

Written shortly after the outbreak of World War II, the Sinfonia da Requiem meditates in part on the political populism which had, for the second time in just a few decades, plunged the world in to an existential crisis. In this piece, Britten’s rich, yearning harmonies reveal a sombre and dramatic warning of the cost of conflict.

Mahler's Symphony No 5 features one of Mahler’s best-known and best-loved passages: the Fourth-Movement Adagietto said to be a love song to his wife, Alma. Despite the sentimental moment, there’s no shortage of drama in this work, which contrasts a dark and murky opening with a vast exultant finale for full orchestra, and the ecstatic riot of counterpoint that ensues in the work’s final pages.

The performance is expected to finish around 9.40pm, including a 20 minute interval.

Logo for Classic FM

Discover

photo of architecutre details

Composer Focus – Episode 3: Gustav Mahler with Sir Antonio Pappano

In episode three, host Edward Seckerson is joined by conductor and pianist Sir Antonio Pappano to discuss Gustav Mahler, whose extreme, powerful and raw symphonic writing stretches both conductors and orchestras to their limits.

architecture detail of the barbican hall

Composer Focus – Episode 2: Benjamin Britten with Roderick Williams

In episode two, host Ed Seckerson is joined by baritone and composer Roderick Williams to discuss Benjamin Britten, a complex and often contradictory character, and one of the 20th century’s greatest opera composers.

Barbican Hall