Sir Simon Rattle conducts Tippett and Mahler

London Symphony Orchestra

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Program notes

From blissful radiance to a last lament, Sir Simon Rattle conducts the impeccable London Symphony Orchestra in the final works of Sir Michael Tippett and Gustav Mahler.

Tippett never shied away from breaking new musical ground, and his last major work, "a song without words for orchestra," was no exception. Inspired by the composer's time in Senegal, The Rose Lake represents Tippett's imagining of the breathtaking, rose-hued Lake Retba; each section of the orchestra takes a turn in the spotlight, with driving percussion and soaring melodies depicting the landscape's awakening. While The Rose Lake is a hymn of nature, Mahler’s final work—left unfinished, and heard here in a restored version following years of collaboration—is the cry of a desperate man. Condemned to life with a fatal heart condition and a failing marriage, Mahler left behind a heartrending goodbye in his Tenth Symphony: as the composer himself inscribed on the manuscript, "farewell, farewell."

A closer look: composers and works

Deryck Cooke

Gustav Mahler

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