Written at a turbulent time in the composer’s life, Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony is a brilliant example of the tragic yet otherworldly genius that has come to be associated with Beethoven’s music. Napoleonic wars, unrequited love, financial difficulties combine to create a melting pot for the work that resulted. Its highlight comes in the second movement – the Allegretto – where this unrest seems to pour out in a slow, dark, searingly beautiful form. Mahler’s Symphony No.1 is remarkably original for a composer’s first symphonic work. Beginning life as a symphonic poem, the work still maintains a sense of its extra-musical backdrop and reflects Mahler’s view that ‘a symphony must be like the world, it must embrace everything’.