The Metropolitan Orchestra performs Mahler’s enormous Fifth Symphony featuring the largest complement of musicians to hit the stage this year in a work of truly grand proportions. Led by Chief Conductor and Artistic Director Sarah-Grace Williams, this colossal work which opens with an expansive funeral march announced by a solo trumpet call, will take the audience on a turbulent journey of contrast from the cheerful and optimistic, through to the stormy and hauntingly soulful.
The fifth symphony is the first of Mahler’s symphonies in which he let go of a programmatic approach. Rather than dictating what the music should mean by providing some sort of narrative, the music suggests a kind of inner personal drama with the crucial Adagietto forming a hinge on which tragedy turns to triumph. Herbert von Karajan once said that when you hear Mahler’s Fifth, “you forget that time has passed. A great performance of the Fifth is a transforming experience. The fantastic finale almost forces you to hold your breath.”
One of the most recorded symphonies of all time, the famous Adagietto (fourth movement) which is featured in Luchino Visconti’s 1971 movie, Death in Venice, was also famously performed as a standalone piece by Leonard Bernstein at Robert Kennedy’s funeral in 1968.
Ending with what is often regarded as ‘the finale to end all finales’, where the tragic themes from earlier movements are transferred into joy and vitality to reach a triumphant and grand conclusion, this amazing symphony will leave all in attendance completely breathless.