Mahler: Symphony No. 7
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Mahler: Symphony No. 7

Bayerisches Staatsorchester, Kirill Petrenko

‘If one sought a musical manifestation of all the painful experiences and tragic failures of European history in the early 20th century, it would be impossible to overlook the symphonies of Gustav Mahler. Here, there is no harmony where discord is more fitting. Here, life cries out, with all the conflict and joy it proffers humanity.

In their performances, Kirill Petrenko and the Bayerisches Staatsorchester have enabled these experiences to resonate in remarkable fashion. What better way to launch the Bayerische Staatsoper’s new label than with this outstanding live concert recording.’ - Nikolaus Bachler (General Manager, Bayerische Staatsoper)


The opening of Mahler’s Symphony No. 7 always sends shivers down my spine. That opening tenor horn solo, when done right, seems to be a herald of grand adventures to come. The adventure in this case feels like a direct line into Mahler’s mind, where we can feel his stream of consciousness as he moves through life. This symphony was written over a tumultuous time of Mahler’s career, starting when everything was on the rise. Then, as the music progresses, we experience all the difficulties life throws at him through the lens of his composition. These difficulties changed him forever, and thanks to the deft touch of the Bavarian Symphony Orchestra and Kirill Petrenko, we can hear the many layers of the man he was becoming.

This is the first offering by the Bavarian State Orchestra on its own label, recorded towards the end of Petrenko’s time with them. It is a particularly layered recording of this symphony – anyone wanting to delve another level into Mahler’s tonal colours, rhythmic motifs and harmonic progressions will relish sinking their teeth into this. The accompanying glossy booklet features copious notes about the orchestra, as well as Mahler’s work and biographical details, and it is well worth a read to get the full experience.

Kate Rockstrom is a friend of Readings.

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