Source: IMSLP

This Thursday we take on Mahler’s Symphony No.3 - a symphony filled with music of life-enhancing physicality and breathtaking melodic beauty… and bells. 

This will be the first ever performance of Mahler’s Third Symphony at the Royal Albert Hall to use real bells. 

The bells themselves are following in the footsteps of our Music Director Vasily Petrenko, as they are coming courtesy of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, who own the largest collection of church bells of any British orchestra.

Graham Johns, the Principal Percussion at the RLPO, first proposed the idea of the ‘Forever Bells’ project in 2017. Funded by Liverpool Philharmonic’s friendsit  made possible for works such as Mahler's Third, Berlioz' Symphonie Fantastique and Debussy's Sunken Cathedral to be performed as they should truly be heard, and they have been enjoyed by concert-goers in Liverpool and around the country, when most performances otherwise opt for the use of tubular bells.

Due to the generosity and enthusiasm of donors a full set of bells was purchased (now totalling 18), one of which is dedicated to Thursday night’s conductor Vasily Petrenko (pictured below), who spent 15 years as chief conductor of the RPLO.

You can hear six of them live at the Royal Albert Hall yourselflisten out for them in the fifth movement where they will come in with the Tiffin Boys’ Choir.

The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Vasily Petrenko bring Mahler's Third Symphony to the Royal Albert Hall on Thursday 27 April at 7.30pm.

Find out more and book

Watch Graham Johns' interview on the bells


 (c) Sanjeet Riat

Vasily Petrenko Bell 2

 (c) RLPO

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