Mahler Symphony No. 9

The New York Philharmonic

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Mahler Symphony No. 9

Recorded April 14, 2016

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Conductor

Bernard Haitink

Bernard Haitink’s conducting career began 62 years ago with the Radio Philharmonic Orchestra in his native Holland. He went on to become chief conductor of Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra for 27 years, as well as music director of Glyndebourne Festival Opera and The Royal Opera, Covent Garden and principal conductor of the London Philharmonic, Dresden Staatskapelle, and Chicago Symphony Orchestra. He is patron of the Radio Philharmonic and conductor emeritus of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, as well as an honorary member of both the Berlin Philharmonic and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe

In 2016 Mr. Haitink marked the 50th anniversary of his first appearance at both the BBC Proms and the Lucerne Festival, an occasion that was celebrated with the London Symphony Orchestra at the Proms, and both the Lucerne Festival Orchestra and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe in Lucerne. He also toured with the European Union Youth Orchestra, of which he is conductor laureate, marking the 40th anniversary of its creation.

Mr. Haitink’s 2016–17 season began with the Berlin Philharmonic, and sees the continuation of his close association with the Bavarian Radio Symphony, London Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Zürich’s Tonhalle Orchestra, and the Chicago and Boston Symphony Orchestras. He will revisits l’Orchestre nationale de France, Orchestra Mozart, and Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, and he conducts Beethoven’s Missa solemnis with the orchestra and chorus of Milan’s Teatro alla Scala.

Committed to the development of young musical talent, Mr. Haitink gives an annual conducting master class at the Lucerne Easter Festival. Additionally this season, he gives conducting classes to students at Zurich’s Hochschule der Künste and leads the orchestra of London’s Royal College of Music.

Bernard Haitink has an extensive discography for the Phillips, Decca, and EMI labels, as well as the many new live recording labels established by orchestras themselves in recent years, such as the London, Chicago, and Bavarian Radio symphony orchestras. He has received many awards and honors in recognition of his services to music, including several honorary doctorates, an honorary Knighthood and Companion of Honour in the United Kingdom, and the House Order of Orange-Nassau in the Netherlands.

Learn more about Bernard Haitink

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Symphony No. 9

GUSTAV MAHLER (1860–1911)
Symphony No. 9 (1908–10)

Fellow composer Alban Berg wrote that the first movement of Mahler’s Ninth Symphony “is the greatest [he] ever composed. It is the expression of a tremendous love for this earth, the longing to live on it peacefully and to enjoy nature to its deepest depths.” Personal turmoil and tragedy are painted on the vast canvas of the Ninth. Nothing Mahler ever did was small or simple — a listener can hear that in the grand, bold gestures of this work. Though superstitious about composing a ninth symphony (he knew that Beethoven, Schubert, Dvořák, and Bruckner did not live to write a tenth), he tried to outwit fate after the Eighth by giving his next symphonic work a name, Das Lied von der Erde, instead of a number. Then came the Ninth, which in fact turned out to be his last completed score. Some view it as Mahler’s valedictory to life: it is preoccupied with thoughts of his own death and the tragic loss of his young daughter, Maria. In the pulse of the opening bars Leonard Bernstein heard “an imitation of the arrhythmia of [Mahler’s] failing heartbeat.” Others perceive a resignation to and acceptance of death, a farewell of such poignancy and beauty that it is impossible not to be moved. But if the first three movements sound as though Mahler is trying to grapple with inexorable fate, in the last he has already glimpsed the beyond.

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