Or, as someone over on the Radio 3 Messageboards has rather succinctly summed up the impression often left by Mahler's music, "It's a beautiful day today, I think I'll go out and kill myself".
This was the single work in Prom 5, with the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Bernard Haitink, silently varying his position between standing and perching on the edge of a chair on the rostrum, obviously suffering from a bad back. Fortunately Haitink isn't one of the more demonstrative conductors; his style is often more telepathic. The orchestral sound was wonderful; particularly the brass and woodwind. I did think the leader had way too much vibrato in his solo sections, as to a lesser extent did the principal viola. The raw emotion of the work wasn't always apparent but did burst through, particularly, I thought, in a tempo change in the third movement. It did seem that, though the audience was large and keen, there wasn't quite the sense of occasion that there would have been if this concert was towards the end of the season (as there was in 2006 when Haitink conducted Mahler's Resurrection Symphony). Perhaps Gianandrea Noseda would have been more visually passionate; or maybe it's just a typically adolescent reaction to encountering the reality of the impassive Haitink, one of the great interpreters of Mahler, the über-emo musician.