MTT Conducts Mahler’s Ninth Symphony

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“This is a most beautiful Mahler Ninth. Tilson Thomas immediately establishes a profoundly rapt atmosphere” (Gramophone). Wallow in the velvety richness of one of the world's most celebrated Mahler symphonies when the San Francisco Symphony digs into the riveting soundscape of Mahler’s last completed symphony—the deeply introspective, transcendent Ninth.

Please be aware roads around Civic Center Plaza may be closed in preparation for the Clusterfest comedy event outside in front of Bill Graham Auditorium. Please plan for additional travel time and congested traffic conditions.


Conductor/Performers

San Francisco Symphony

Program

Mahler

Symphony No. 9

All sound clips are from San Francisco Symphony performances and are used with permission of the SFS Players Committee.

Podcasts

Mahler's Symphony No. 9
 

At A Glance 

MAHLER
Symphony No. 9  1910 | 90 mins
The Ninth Symphony is the last score Mahler completed. Some dark part of him would have wanted it so, for he entertained a deep-rooted superstition about symphonies and the number nine (see Beethoven and Bruckner). But for all his fascination with death, Mahler always chose life. Within days of completing the Ninth Symphony, he plunged into composing a Tenth. He had made significant progress when he died seven weeks before his fifty-first birthday.

Mahler wrote the Ninth Symphony in the whirlwind that was the last chapter of his life. He had resigned the artistic directorship of the Vienna Court Opera, signed a contract with the Metropolitan Opera in New York, lost his four-and-a-half-year-old daughter Maria to scarlet fever and diphtheria, and become acutely aware of his own mortality when he received the diagnosis of a congenital heart condition.    

It is too easy to view the Ninth Symphony as the composer’s farewell. The gestures of dissolution and parting with which this work ends are of an annihilating poignancy matched not even by Mahler himself; nonetheless, it is well to understand that Mahler cannot have meant this as an actual farewell. To insist on reading it thus is to indulge in a sentimentality that weakens the stab of this music.

Mahler begins with a very large movement whose basic tempo is semi-slow but which tends to spill over into a faster pace. The second movement returns us forcefully to earth. Mahler always loved the vernacular, and here is one of his fantastical explorations of dance music, ranging from clumsy and coarse to lilting and sentimental. The third movement Burleske is music of violent urgency while the finale is a slow movement whose weight and span approach those of the first movement. Grief gives way to peace, music and silence become one. Read More

Steven Ziegler is Managing Editor at the San Francisco Symphony.

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  1. Thu, Jun 13, 2019 at 8:00pm

    Davies Symphony Hall

  2. Fri, Jun 14, 2019 at 8:00pm

    Davies Symphony Hall

  3. Sat, Jun 15, 2019 at 8:00pm

    Davies Symphony Hall

  4. Sun, Jun 16, 2019 at 2:00pm

    Davies Symphony Hall 

If you would like assistance purchasing tickets for patrons with disabilities, please call the box office at 415-864-6000.

Pre- and post-show Events

Inside Music: an informative talk by Peter Grunberg, begins one hour prior to concerts. Free to ticketholders. Learn More.

Program Support

These concerts, a part of The Barbro and Bernard Osher Masterworks Series, are made possible by a generous gift from Barbro and Bernard Osher.

The Thursday Matinee concerts are endowed by a gift in memory of Rhoda Goldman.

These performances are supported by the Wattis Special Performance Fund.