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Mahler: Symphony No. 9 (Abbado, 1999)

The Symphony No. 9 in D major by Gustav Mahler, a late-romantic Austrian composer.

It was composed between 1908 and 1909, and it became the last symphony that he completed because he died without completing his tenth symphony. If we include “Das Lied von der Erde” (1908) as one of his symphonies, it is his tenth symphony.

The Symphony No. 9 is often considered Mahler’s greatest work. It is a long composition (about 80 or 90 minutes) characterized by heavy use of quotations, like a collage, from his own and other composers’ works, such as Beethoven, Johann Strauss Jr., Lehár, and Bruckner.

It consists of four movements. The first is atonal and polyphonic, like later Second Viennese School, the second and third are cynical and humorous, and the fourth is a very slow adagio in the late romantic style.

Conductor Claudio Abbado’s second recording of No. 9 with Berlin Philharmonic is a live recording, but it is a very elaborate performance. The sound quality is brilliant too. Recorded in 1999, and released in 2002 by Deutsche Grammophon.

Mahler: Symphony No. 9 in D Major – 1. Andante comodo (Live From Philharmonie, Berlin)