Main content
Sorry, this episode is not currently available

Prom 01: Mahler - Symphony No 8 (Symphony of a Thousand)

Mahler's 8th Symphony, for orchestra, massed choirs and soloists launches the 2010 Proms Season from the Royal Albert Hall with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Jiri Belohlavek.


Live from the Royal Albert Hall, London.

Presented by Petroc Trelawny.

Mahler's spectacular 'Symphony of a Thousand' launches the 2010 BBC Proms. "Try to imagine the whole universe beginning to ring and resound. There are no longer human voices, but planets and suns revolving." So Mahler described his Eighth Symphony, which tonight 100 years after its premiere and 150 years after the composer's birth, will raise the roof of the Royal Albert Hall.

Setting a hymn to the divine creative spirit alongside words from the closing scene of Goethe's Faust the symphony expresses the idea of redemption through the power of love. To do this Mahler uses huge forces: eight vocal soloists, a large orchestra and massed adult and children's choirs, tonight including choristers from three of London's great cathedrals, and choirs from Crouch End to Sydney including the BBC's own Symphony Chorus.

It's a celebratory start to two months of music making at the world's greatest music festival and a tribute to the Proms founder and conductor - Sir Henry Wood - who gave the work its UK premiere 80 years ago.

Mahler: Symphony No. 8 in E flat major, 'Symphony of a Thousand'

Mardi Byers (soprano)
Twyla Robinson (soprano)
Malin Christensson (soprano)
Stephanie Blythe (mezzo-soprano)
Kelley O'Connor (mezzo-soprano)
Stefan Vinke (tenor)
Hanno Müller-Brachmann (baritone)
Tomasz Konieczny (bass)

Choristers of St Paul's Cathedral
Choristers of Westminster Abbey
Choristers of Westminster Cathedral
BBC Symphony Chorus
Crouch End Festival Chorus
Sydney Philharmonia Choirs

BBC Symphony Orchestra
Jirí Belohlávek (conductor)

This Prom will be repeated on Monday 19th July at 2pm.

2 hours

Find out what’s on when

Find out what’s on when

By-date calendar listing of all the concerts and events between now and September.

Guide to the Proms 2018 season

Guide to the Proms 2018 season

The season’s themes and highlights.

Listen to the Proms live on Radio 3

Listen to the Proms live on Radio 3