Sir Simon Rattle conducts Turnage and Mahler

World Premiere – London Symphony Orchestra

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Program notes

Sir Simon Rattle and the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO) give the world premiere of Mark-Anthony Turnage's Remembering, followed by Mahler's Symphony No. 6, live from London's Barbican.

Sir Simon Rattle conducts Mark-Anthony Turnage's Remembering. The work was written in memory of Evan Scofield, the son of guitarist John Scofield, with whom Turnage worked closely on earlier compositions. "Across the 30-minute span I was determined there should be enough variety to reflect Evan Scofield as an original and positive person, avoiding a mournful tone throughout, opening up a wider humanity," he says. "The final movement is definitely not a traditional summing up: it’s an expressive ‘Song for Evan’ as if his voice is heard through the orchestra."

The program also features Mahler's legendary Symphony No. 6 (1904). The work is disturbing in its nihilistic despair yet attains a true and monumental grandeur. The orchestral forces used are formidable: eight horns, six trumpets, four trombones, two harps and celesta and strings to match. Yet while it was written at one of the happiest times in Mahler’s life, march-rhythms haunt the symphony. And in the final movement, the extensive percussion section is augmented by a huge hammer for three blows of fate, leading to perhaps the bleakest ending in all music.

Photo: Sir Simon Rattle conducts the LSO in the Barbican Hall 2012 © Mark Allan Barbican

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