Concert Review: Mahler in San Francisco

I attended a wonderful concert on Sunday, April 2, 2017: Conductor Michael Tilson Thomas led the San Francisco Symphony in music by Gustav Mahler.

The program began with the Adagio from the Symphony number 10. This is the only movement from this work that Mahler completed before he died in 1911. In subsequent years, other musicians attempted to complete this work from sketches that Mahler left. Mr. Thomas chose to perform the amazing final music that Mahler himself composed before he died.

Here is my view from Center Terrace, as I was able to be close to the musicians during this performance:

The symphony opens with quiet music played only by the viola section. Later other instruments join in for a vast, warm chorus of sounds and harmonies.

After intermission came music from the early part of Mahler’s creative career, his Symphony number 1. In this music, the composer tells the listener about the sounds on Nature. In the slow third movement, we hear a minor version of the song “Frere Jacques”, where the forest animals celebrate the funeral of the hunters.

This symphony ends with blazing sounds by eight horns, percussion, trumpets, tuba, and trombones seemingly marching their way to a hymnal conclusion.

The orchestra members received a well deserved standing ovation from the appreciative audience.

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