Mahler’s Sixth Symphony is a work that takes up an entire programme. Chief conductor Semyon Bychkov plans to record it with the Czech Philharmonic as part of their Mahler Project. Bychkov has a personal relation with this symphony as with Mahler’s other symphonies, and he sees musical connections that are reflected in his interpretation.
“Mahler’s Sixth Symphony is a deeply tragic work in the truest sense of the word. Strangely, when he was writing it, his personal life was very happy. When he finished the symphony, he played it for Alma at the piano, and at a certain moment, in the slow movement, I think, Alma burst into tears and said: ‘How can you write something like that when we are so happy?’ Soon afterwards, their daughter died, and Mahler was diagnosed with an incurable heart disease. But at the time when he wrote the symphony, there was no hint of this in his private or family life”, says Maestro Bychkov.