Gustav Mahler's last symphony is like a musical farewell to the composer.
The ninth symphony of Gustav Mahler, the composer's last completed work, is one big, richly varied exercise in saying farewell. Farewell to the life, love, art and worldly successes that Mahler had enjoyed as a composer conductor. At one extreme of the spectrum there is the unconditional love for earthly life and the desire to fully enjoy it to the last. At the other end there is the grim awareness of the vanity of all human endeavour, including the artistic. Resignation, acceptance, fear and despair are confronted in a layered, purely instrumental meditation that also leaves ample room for sarcasm and bitter mockery. All the sublime and the banal of human existence flow together in this music that says a melancholy farewell to romantic lyricism, but also presents us with distorted, grinning masks. A symphony that looks back and explores new horizons. The Opera Ballet Vlaanderen Symphony Orchestra and Alejo Pérez are once again guests during the Antwerp Spring Festival, in the impressive Handelsbeurs.