Paul Beniston on Mahler: Symphony No. 5’s Trumpet Solo

Written in 1901 and 1902, Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 5 was considered to be the composer’s most conventional work to date, though in true Mahler style it is not without its eccentricities. The piece begins with a funeral march, which commences with a trumpet solo, performed here by the London Philharmonic Orchestra’s Principal Trumpet, Paul Beniston.

Mahler: Symphony No. 5 – Trumpet Solo


It’s a bit nerve-wracking, I think it’s around sixteen bars before anyone else joins in, and Mahler’s very specific about how he wants us to play it
Paul Beniston, Principal Trumpet, London Philharmonic Orchestra

As Beniston explains within the video, the solo sets a very sombre mood and is specifically notated by Mahler to be played in a measured step, similar to that of a funeral cortege. Played alongside a visualisation of the score, you are able to see the many considerations which the soloist must contemplate in order to perform the piece as Mahler wished.



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