Beauty out of tragedy

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One of the greatest of late romantic symphonies, Mahler’s Ninth, will be performed by the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra under a very special guest conductor at Portsmouth Guildhall on Thursday (7.30pm).

Karl-Heinz Steffens, who played principal clarinet in the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra under many of the world’s pre-eminent conductors for seven years up to 2007, has since established himself on the rostrum throughout Europe and beyond.

Mahler’s final completed symphony came after the tragic death of his four-year-old daughter, and after he learnt of the heart ailment that would contribute to his own death two years later. It is both a celebration of life and a poignant acceptance of mortality, both a farewell to the past and a pointer to the modern era in music.

It will be preceded at the Guildhall by Mozart’s Piano Concerto No 24, played by Gerhard Oppitz, who in 1977 became the first German to win the Artur Rubinstein Piano Competition in Tel Aviv and has since had a flourishing international career.

Tickets cost £29.50 to £14.75 from 0844 453 9028 or in person from the Guildhall box office.