Seattle Symphony

Though Gerard Schwarz always ends the Seattle Symphony’s regular season with a symphony by Gustav Mahler, a specialty of his, they’re not always festive occasions. Mahler’s Sixth, for example (premiered in 1906), is a doom-laden work opening with an aggressive, ominously treading march (which makes John Williams’ Star Wars storm-troopers theme sound like the Dance of the Perky Fluffy Kittens) and closing, not with redemption or triumph, but with the symphony’s imagined protagonist crushed by the hammer blows of Fate. How does Mahler portray these hammer blows musically? Well, with an actual hammer—the score calls for one of the percussionists to bash a sledgehammer (twice) onto whatever makes the most noise. Schwarz, with his knack for theatrically stage-managed gestures, probably has something impressive cooked up. Opening the concert, by way of light comic relief, is Wagner’s Prelude and Liebestod from Tristan and Isolde, with the satin/stentorian voice of soprano Jane Eaglen portraying the heroine’s rapturous expiration amid swirling cushions of B major. Benaroya Hall, Third Avenue and Union Street, 215-4747, $17–$95. 7:30 p.m. Thurs., June 27, 8 p.m. Fri., June 27–Sat., June 28, 2 p.m. Sun., June 29. GAVIN BORCHERT

Thu., June 26, 7:30 p.m.; Fri., June 27, 8 p.m.; Sat., June 28, 8 p.m.; Sun., June 29, 2 p.m., 2008

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