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London Symphony Orchestra/Daniel Harding

A New Lease of Life – Mahler’s Fifth Symphony

Hakan Hardenberger trumpet portrait

A solitary trumpet sounds: and so we enter Jörg Widmann’s heavenly maze and Mahler’s profoundly expressive Fifth Symphony.

A solemn fanfare introduces a funeral lament at the beginning of Mahler’s symphony. Its first half is bleak; the composer had recently undergone a troubling near-death experience. But midway through the composition process, Mahler met his future wife, Alma. The fourth movement is a ravishingly beautiful love letter to her. It’s familiar to many as the lovely, melancholy theme in the 1971 film Death in Venice. In Towards Paradise (Labyrinth VI), the trumpeter must navigate the tumultuous landscape of the orchestra to advance on a state of bliss.

Daniel Harding and the LSO find worlds within worlds in the gorgeous music of the Fifth Symphony. Harding is a top choice to interpret Widmann’s work, and the phenomenal Håkan Hardenberger gave the premiere performance of Towards Paradise.

This performance will end at approximately 9.30pm, including a 20-minute interval.

Produced by the London Symphony Orchestra