Pianist, organist, composer, arranger
Gustav Mahler: Symphony No. 9 for Piano Solo
Gustav Mahler (1860-1911) composed his 9th Symphony in 1909-10 in Toblach near the Austrian/Italian border. It followed Das Lied von der Erde which he had composed in 1908-9, a song-symphony based on Chinese texts. Both of these works can be seen as a response to the devastating death in 1907 of Mahler's eldest daughter, as well as Mahler's own health concerns. He had been diagnosed with a heart condition and was acutely aware of his own fragile mortality. While he was forging ahead with his conducting career in New York, his own music was taking new directions, with more modern harmony, extensive use of counterpoint and often transparent chamber-like textures. The Ninth Symphony is often seen as a 'farewell' symphony, both in terms of referencing farewell music by Beethoven and Mahler himself, but also in the prevailing mood of resignation. It was Mahler's last completed work and was premiered by Bruno Walter with the Vienna Philharmonic in 1912. This arrangement for piano solo is in a full, Romantic style, whilst maintaining the beauty and delicacy of the score in a clear, playable arrangement.
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