We’re excited about hearing Gustav Mahler‘s Sixth Symphony tonight at the Long Center.

Here’s a dab from our interview with Austin Symphony music director Peter Bay about the biographical context. Read the whole interview here.

Composer Gustav Mahler as photographed by Moriz Nahr in 1907. Contributed

“Biographically, we know that composer Gustav Mahler was personally at his happiest and most satisfied from the summer of 1903 through the summer of 1904, the period during which he started and completed his Sixth Symphony.

“Yet this symphony — 80 minutes without intermission and being performed by Peter Bay and the Austin Symphony for the first time Friday and Saturday — is not a happy-go-lucky piece.

“Perhaps it’s an oversimplification to say artists create happy works when they are happy and sad works when things are not going well,” Bay says. “But of his nine symphonies — plus an incomplete one — this is by far the bleakest.”