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The Utah Symphony's Mahler cycle with music director Thierry Fischer took a dramatic turn this weekend in arguably the most impactful installment of the two-season, nine-symphony series to date. Fischer led the orchestra in a powerful performance of the larger-than-life Symphony No. 6.
The symphony known to the Mahler faithful as "the one with the hammer of fate" clocks in at well over an hour, but every last bar in the Utah Symphony's performance Friday was completely absorbing. The orchestra's playing was remarkably well-disciplined and unrelentingly intense. A massive mallet, sitting atop an enormous wooden box at the back of the stage, was a constant visual reminder of the grim verdict to come but knowing the outcome didn't make the fateful blows, struck by principal percussionist Keith Carrick, any less unsettling.
An elegant performance of Haydn's Symphony No. 6, a work that's roughly as long as a single movement of the Mahler, opened the concert.
Thierry Fischer conducts the sixth symphonies of Haydn and Mahler.
Where, when • Abravanel Hall, 123 W. South Temple, Salt Lake City; reviewed Friday, Nov. 20; repeats Saturday, Nov. 21, at 7:30 p.m.
Running time • 2:10
Tickets • utahsymphony.org