Iain Farrington

Pianist, organist, composer, arranger

Gustav Mahler: Symphony No. 9 for Chamber Orchestra

Arrangements of Gustav Mahler's music for small ensembles have existed since Arnold Schoenberg founded his Society for Private Musical Performances in Vienna in 1918. It was fitting that Mahler should have featured in this way, as his music often has a soloistic, contrapuntal orchestration, that points towards the pared-down sound world of Berg, Webern and Schoenberg himself. Now that Mahler’s music is widely performed and heard, a new chamber arrangement can appear unnecessary. However, by retaining the character of the original and treating every player as a soloist, Mahler’s exposed and chamber-like writing can be successfully realised. Hearing the clarity of individual lines can reveal hidden aspects of the score, adding an intimacy in the performing and listening experience, as well as enabling these monumental works to be performed in smaller venues without enormous financial constraints. This arrangement consciously avoids recreating Schoenberg’s instrumentation, and instead aims to create a full orchestral picture from a chamber orchestra, using only the instruments in Mahler’s score.

Instrumentation: flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn, trumpet, trombone, harp, 2 percussion (timpani, clash cymbals, suspended cymbal, bass drum, triangle, glockenspiel, tam-tam, 3 tubular bells), violin 1, violin 2, viola, cello, double bass. Strings must be a minimum number of

Listen to a performance of the arrangement here:

1st movement (25’24”)

2nd movement (14’57”)

3rd movement (13’04”)

4th movement (23’56”)

Available to hire or purchase from Aria Editions here