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Mahler's Final Adagio

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Young British musicians from 13 to 19 talk to Lowri Blake about composer Gustav Mahler's last completed work - the Adagio from his unfinished 10th symphony.

Musicians talk about the challenges they face as they prepare to perform a piece from the orchestral repertoire. In this programme Lowri Blake meets the young musicians of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain. Aged between 13 and 19 they give an insight into the musical challenges offered them by the last piece of music that the Austrian composer Gustav Mahler completed - the Adagio from his unfinished 10th symphony.

It was a piece composed at the height of a personal crisis in Mahler's life. He had just found out that his wife was having an affair with a young architect, and he was also suffering from a heart condition that would kill him before he could complete the full symphony.

Lowri Blake talks to Edward Seckerson about this tumultuous time in the composer's life, how he sought a consultation with the up-and-coming psychiatrist Sigmund Freud, and how his passion for his wife and his despair were etched into the score. The Adagio itself opens quietly but towards the end erupts in a huge outburst of emotion, often described as 'a cry of pain', which the young players, under the baton of their conductor Vasily Petrenko, describe as they face the demanding musical challenge.

Producer: Richard Bannerman
A Ladbroke Production for BBC Radio 4.

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30 minutes

Last on

Sat 24 Sep 2011 15:30

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