As you would expect for big name performers, there was a long queue; the combination of this and the late night David Bowie Prom was curious, but there were quite a few people going to both. I decided not to go to the late night concert; it's been quite an intensive week at work and it makes for a very late finish, plus I wasn't convinced I would want to follow the Mahler with anything else.
Unlike the previous performance of Mahler 3 I'd seen at the Proms, this one was full, and I was about eight rows back, further than I'd have liked, but in the realm of "mustn't grumble". I noted some differences in the performance: for example, the offstage players sounded as though they were up in the gallery, though I couldn't see them, and an absence of applause between movements. There were also some similarities: antiphonal seating, and the incongruously rapid cries of "Bravo!" and applause at the end. Musically, I think most of my thoughts from last time applied here too: the directly observable references to essentially all of Mahler's symphonic output. The fourth movement is possibly the most sublime Mahler ever wrote: on this occasion mezzo-soprano Sarah Connolly was the soloist, dressed in gold (for Haitink's fiftieth anniversary, perhaps) that reminded me rather of Klimt's Portraif of Adele Bloch-Bauer, an appropriately Viennese touch. Of course, so much of Mahler is about death: if the second is about resurrection, the sixth is death following an heroic struggle, and the ninth is death wallowing in self-pity, the end of the third is perhaps, if such a thing exists, a "Good Death": accepting and reflective, without arrogance, of satisfying accomplishment. I fear that Haitink will be like Alistair Cooke, working until he is no longer able, and that will be at the very end; but what a way to go.