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October 23, 2011

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Making way for Mahler's magic

THIS year marks the 100th anniversary of Mahler's birth and many concerts of his works have been staged worldwide. Two more are coming up in Shanghai, one of them tomorrow.

Famous adagios from Mahler's symphonies will be performed tomorrow by the orchestra of the Shanghai Conservatory of Music. The concert is titled "Expansive Harmony."

On November 3, the Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra will perform Mahler's "Symphony No. 5" (1902) and "Symphony No. 7" (1905).

Both concerts are part of the ongoing Shanghai International Arts Festival.

In the concert tomorrow, Lin Daye will conduct the Conservatory of Music Orchestra in five adagio movements, including the 3rd movement of "Symphony No. 1," the 3rd movement of "Symphony No. 4," the 4th movement of "Symphony No. 5," the 3rd movement of "Symphony No. 6," the 6th movement of "Symphony No. 3" and the 4th movement of "Symphony No. 9."

Mahler's adagios represent the core of his work, according to Lan Hancheng, associate director of the orchestra department of the local conservatory.

"Though adagios are not dominant in terms of number, they present the most impressive emotions of Mahler's music - beautiful sadness," says Lan.

Mahler was a sad person who struggled throughout his life, he says.

"He is a great composer, yet his work was not well received by the people of Vienna at first. Gaining popularity overseas helped him struggle back to the center of classical music, but the struggle greatly influenced his work, especially the adagios," says Lan. "Some of his works move us to tears while playing them."

Lan says students are more familiar with Beethoven and Tchaikovsky, so this anniversary "is an important opportunity for them to learn about this Austrian composer."

David Zinman will conduct the Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra in Mahler's "Fifth Symphony," considered by many to be his most beautiful work, known for its funereal trumpet solo opening and its adagio.

The symphony is a representative work of Mahler's mid-career and is considered a transformative work that began this period. It is a touchstone for the world's best orchestras.

The orchestra adds harmonious brass and velvety-smooth woodwind.

Founded in 1868, the symphony orchestra is the oldest in Switzerland, and considered one of Europe's leading ensembles.

Zinman and the Zurich Tonhalle are considered the elite interpreters of Mahler and together have recorded all Mahler's symphonies and many other works.

They will also play Shubert's "No. 7 Symphony" in the concert.

? Adagios concert

Date: October 24, 7:30pm

Tickets: 80-580 yuan

? Concert by Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra

Date: November 3, 7:30pm

Tickets: 180-1,580 yuan

Venue: Shanghai Oriental Art Center, 425 Dingxiang Rd, Pudong

Tel: 962-388


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