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Sir Simon Rattle conducting

Sir Simon Rattle: Mahler Symphony No 9

Watch on BBC iPlayer

The Concert

Francis Poulenc Figure humaine
Gustav Mahler
 Symphony No 9

Sir Simon Rattle conductor
London Symphony Orchestra
BBC Singers


Available to watch on BBC iPlayer until 29 August 2024

Watch Online

In Mahler’s Ninth Symphony, the composer – who would not live to hear its premiere – bid ‘farewell to all whom he loved’. The words ‘Leb’ wohl!’ (‘farewell’) are written onto the score itself, transformed into a theme that becomes the heartbeat of the whole work.

It’s a poignant choice for Sir Simon Rattle’s final UK performance as Music Director of the London Symphony Orchestra. Death and life collide in a symphony haunted by loss but urgently clinging to dance and song. The finale, however, looks beyond, closing with a vision of distant hills where the sun is shining.

Opening the Prom is Poulenc’s choral masterpiece Figure humaine, a hymn to freedom from occupied France, performed by the BBC Singers.