A lone trumpet emerges out of silence. A foreboding triplet fanfare recalls the General March of the Austro-Hungarian Army, before a cymbal crash summons the orchestra in a blaze of concentrated emotion. So begins Mahler's Symphony No. 5, a work of endless fascination and the highlight of the MSO's 2023 Season Opening Gala. Composed in the summers of 1901-02, the Symphony No. 5 was written at a fruitful time in Mahler's life. His marriage to Alma Schindler in 1901 had ushered in a time of intense personal joy, while his appointment as director of the Vienna Court Opera had skyrocketed his career in urban Vienna. Bounded by these life events, the Symphony No. 5 marked a turning point in Mahler's ouevre. It was his first purely instrumental symphony since the First, completed in 1893, and signalled the start of his ‘middle’ period of composition, during which he expanded his forays into progressive harmony and continued to push the limits of orchestral maximalism. The Symphony comprises five movements, which are grouped into three parts. Taking us on an odyssey through mourning, introspection, and triumph, Mahler's gifts are on display in a range of iconic moments: from the opening funeral march, heard in the film Tár, to the serene Adagietto, written as a love letter to Alma and Mahler's greatest commercial success, to the colossal Rondo finale, which, in conductor Herbert von Karajan's words, ‘almost forces you to hold your breath’. With Chief Conductor Jaime Martín at the helm, don't miss out as the MSO reveals the many layers of Mahler's musical mind.