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Alan Gilbert Conducts Mahler's Ninth

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Alan Gilbert's arrival as music director of the New York Philharmonic has been one of the major stories of the new fall season. Tonight at 8pm, Symphony Hall gives you a chance to decide on how he handles the monumental works of the repertoire.

Host David Garland features the new recording of Gustav Mahler’s Ninth Symphony with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra. The recording was made in June 2008 and captures Gilbert’s final performances as the orchestra’s chief conductor and artistic advisor; at the time he was also named the orchestra’s conductor laureate. Classics Today recently gave the recording ten out of ten for both artistic and sound quality.

Many composers have struggled with the notion of a Ninth Symphony. It represented the end of the line for Beethoven, Schubert and Bruckner. For Mahler, it was a kind of "farewell" gesture, with a dark mood and obsessive, haunted gestures. As if to underline the point, he even included a motive and chord progression from Beethoven's "Les adieux" Sonata, Op. 81. Mahler wrote this work in 1909, just as he was becoming music director of the New York Philharmonic. He died two year later, having started his Symphony No. 10.