Mahler’s Ninth Turns 100

Mahler’s Ninth Symphony was premiered on this day 100 years ago, and to celebrate, Gramophone Magazine has reviewed some of the finest recordings available.

I must confess – and I am sure this will forever mark me out as a classical music heretic, if the Glenn Gould appreciation hadn’t already done the job – that I am not a big Mahler fan. I have grown to like his first symphony a lot, especially the Leonard Bernstein/New York Philharmonic recording, but as a symphonist, in general, Mahler doesn’t do much for me. I feel that there is a lot of overwrought, introspective symphony-ing for the sake of it, especially in the ones where he felt it necessary to draft in vocal soloists and a massed chorus. Having said that, I’m sure I’m wrong.

However, I did listen to the various extracts selected by Gramophone, and enjoyed this one, conducted by Claudio Abbado:


So happy birthday, Mahler’s Ninth! I’m going to go listen to some Shostakovich now.