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“Many people wonder why Mahler wrote such tragic music when he was at the height of his powers,” Christoph Eschenbach has said, contemplating Mahler’s Symphony No 6. “We can never understand the soul and thought processes of such a genius, but I believe this music demonstrates how full of force and energy he was. For him, this was the right time to write this music. Furthermore, he had reasons to sense a not-so-happy future ahead. He had already experienced some big fights at the Vienna State Opera and anti-semitism had begun to manifest itself. Out of all that burst this volcano of tragic force.” The prelude to Mahler’s harrowing symphony is provided by a work of charm, elegance and virtuosity, Mozart’s Flute Concerto No 1. The soloist is the young Greek, Stathis Karapanos, for whom Eschenbach has become something of a mentor.BACK TO THE PROGRAMME