Jacobs School Preview: The Philharmonic Plays Mahler’s Sixth

David Effron will lead the IU Phil in a symphony composed in a period of relative calm and happiness in Mahler's life.

A man in a tuxedo conducts an orchestra

Photo: Indiana University

David Effron conducts the IU Philharmonic Orchestra.

Event Information

IU Philharmonic Orchestra

Mahler's Symphony No. 6


Musical Arts Center

October 3 @ 8 pm

Free admission

“My Sixth will propound riddles the solution of which may be attempted only by a generation which has absorbed and truly digested my first five symphonies.” -Gustav Mahler

The Indiana University Philharmonic Orchestra, under the baton of David Effron, will perform the Symphony No. 6 in a minor of Gustav Mahler on Wednesday, October 3 at 8 pm.

The first decade of the twentieth century saw Mahler debut four of his nine completed symphonies. The fifth premiered in 1904, the sixth in 1906, the seventh in 1908, and the eighth in 1910, which was the last premiere the composer would live to conduct himself.

The Sixth Symphony was composed in a period of relative calm and happiness in Mahler’s turbulent life. Having settled into his post as director of the Vienna Hofoper, he delegated some of the conducting duties to his assistants to give himself more time for composition.

As with many of his works, Mahler revised the sixth symphony extensively over the years. The order of the inner movements and the number of “hammer blows” in the final movement are subjects of heated discussion among scholars. Maestro Effron has chosen to present the Scherzo second and the Andante third, the order which Mahler originally planned. Effron states, “I feel that this order makes the piece more cohesive.” He describes the moods of the movements of the sixth symphony as follows:

“1.  Strong, heroic and brave. 2. Gruesome, ghostly, wild, devilish, contrasted with a scene of small children playing joyful games. 3. Serene, a moment of relaxation, a statement of beauty. 4. Heroic again. In spite of a multitude of different emotions throughout the movement, in the end the “good” and “brave” triumph.”

Mahler’s Symphony No. 6 takes approximately 80 minutes to perform and is scored for a large orchestra with extensive doubling in the winds and brass, two harps, celeste, and a large selection of percussion instruments both on and off stage. This symphony is performed less often than others in the Mahler catalog, so the Philharmonic’s performance is a unique opportunity to hear a live performance of this dramatic and beautiful work.

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from Indiana Public Media Arts & Music:

Support For Indiana Public Media Comes From

Search Arts and Music

Stay Connected

RSS e-mail itunes Facebook Twitter Flickr YouTube

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from Indiana Public Media Arts & Music:

Recent Classical Music Stories

Classical Music Events RSS icon

More Events »Submit Your Event »

Arts & Music is on Twitter

Find Us on Facebook

This Week on Harmonia Early Music

Reinhard Goebel and Musica Antiqua Köln

Musica Antiqua Köln LP

We’re celebrating the achievements of Reinhard Goebel, founder of Musica Antiqua Köln. Plus, more about 17th-c. theorist A. Kircher and a CD by Quire Cleveland.

Read more »

Harmonia Early Music is a nationally syndicated weekly early music radio program, podcast and blog produced by WFIU Public Radio.

More from Harmonia »