Pierre Boulez conducts Mahler's Symphony No. 7

Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra

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Program notes

Following its past Mahler festivals in 1920, 1955, and 1982, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra inaugurated a new Mahler series over the course of two seasons from 2009-11. Featuring all ten of his symphonies as well as the Lied der Erde, the masterpieces were performed in chronological order by one of the world’s greatest orchestras under some of the world’s greatest conductors. In this installment, Pierre Boulez conducts the Seventh Symphony.

Mahler’s Symphony No. 7, called the “Song of the Night”, was composed from 1904 to 1905. The five-movement work went for a long time as the least-played of the composer’s symphonies. Known for its incredible harmonic invention and its transitional nature as a link between Romanticism and Modernism, the symphony has a fascinating and complex identity that partially explains why it can be challenging for audiences and performers alike.

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