San Francisco Symphony / Michael Tilson Thomas
- Wednesday, 5 September 2007
- Philharmonie, Main Hall
American orchestras have always had a special relationship to the music of Gustav Mahler. During his time in New York, Mahler spurred on the development of the American performance tradition and, together with American orchestras, conductors such as Bernstein or Solti have greatly helped pave the way for Mahler’s reception. Of all of Mahler’s symphonies, No. 7 is a particularly balanced composition – a giant, highly expressive cosmos of work riddled with deep rifts which unfolds before the listener in a continuous succession. Shortly before his death, Mahler took notice of Charles Ives and requested a copy of his Symphony No. 3. This symphony is inspired by memories of the atmosphere at an open-air “camp meeting” which Ives experienced as a child. Composed for a small orchestra and dominated by a warm string tones, the symphony combines the sounds of spiritual hymns with American folk songs. Michael Tilson Thomas has worked closely with the San Francisco Symphony since the 1970s, and in 1995 he was made the ensemble’s chief conductor. Their recordings of Mahler’s Symphonies No. 3, No. 6 and No. 7 were all awarded with a Grammy – the recording industry’s most prestigious prize.