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A portrait of Gustav Mahler (1860-1911), incorporating rehearsals for his ninth, penultimate symphony (1908-09) by the Amsterdam Concertgebouworkest, conducted by Ricardo Chailly. Director Scheffer first concentrates on the lively face and agile body of the conducting Chailly, who bids the orchestra farewell with this production. Later on, some orchestra members come into view, playing intently. The sections from the ninth symphony (as well as other Mahler extracts) are alternated with talking head interviews with Chailly, who refers to the Mahler executions by Mengelberg, and with the passionate Mahler biographer Henry-Louis de la Grange, who links events from Mahler's life to passages in his music. In the process, Mahler emerges as a paradoxical figure: nostalgic and high-spirited, serious and ironical.