Gianandrea Noseda conducts Mahler's Symphony No. 7, "Song of the Night"

National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center

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Program notes

"Three night pieces; the finale, bright day. As foundation for the whole, the first movement," wrote Mahler to Swiss critic William Ritter, summarizing his Seventh Symphony. Join maestro Gianandrea Noseda and the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center for a deeply felt performance of this enigmatic and often overlooked work.

Mahler’s Symphony No. 7 is a masterpiece of contrast, a juxtaposition of light and dark often called the Lied der Nacht (Song of the Night) — though not by the composer himself. March-like rhythms are followed by lyrical passages, shifts between major and minor abound, and the foreboding start of the first movement translates into radiant joy in the symphony’s finale. The composition’s pioneering spirit shines in its cutting-edge orchestration, with the tenor horn performing the first solo melody while the gentle sonority of the guitar and mandolin animate the fourth movement. Mahler makes radical use of instrumental techniques, instructing the cellos and double basses to play a "fffff" pizzicatto in the third movement "so hard that the string hits the wood." Prepare for a whirlwind of emotions and a terrifically turbulent musical journey, a reminder that Mahler's 7th remains a trailblazer in its own right.

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