In the first concert of his final season as the Hallé’s Music Director, Sir Mark revisits Mahler’s last completed symphony, the Ninth.

In his interpretation, this extraordinary great work is not Mahler’s farewell to life. Instead, it’s Mahler staring death in the face, following the diagnosis of a heart condition that would curtail his life, as well as his coming to terms with the loss of his beloved infant daughter. The symphony’s seeds are sown in the vast, slow first movement with the irregular rhythmic idea of the opening like a tremulous heart beat. It’s a threnody of loss, but it is also about the sweetness of life. After contrasting middle movements, the finale embraces enormous energy and regret, dissolving at its end to bring acceptance, resolution and peace.