The very first bars of Mahler's Ninth seem to falter. The stricken composer put the rhythm of his failing heart into the orchestra - and began his Ninth Symphony with a sigh of "farewell". But that's the beginning, not the end, and over eighty minutes of music Mahler wrings every last drop of sweetness, terror and love from a life of total emotional commitment. Every performance of Mahler's Ninth is a unique occasion, and given Donald Runnicles' special relationship with late Romanticism, this will prove to be unforgettable. Peace, meanwhile, comes dropping slow in Arvo Pärt's minimalist elegy for Britten; a perfectly-chosen upbeat to Mahler's overwhelming symphonic swansong.
Please Note: there will be no interval in this concert. Latecomers will not be admitted.
Prelude: 3.00pm (free to ticket-holders):
Dr Jeremy Barham, author of The Mahler Companion, reflects on the composer and his influence.
The concert will be recorded for future broadcast on BBC Radio 3.