“Mahler embraced everything that exists”
Do you remember the first time you heard Mahler’s music?
Salonen: It might have been the 5th Symphony. My teacher, Jorma Panula, was the first Finnish conductor to conduct a complete Mahler cycle – that is, all the Mahler symphonies – in Finland in the 70s. I did hear every piece in the cycle during that time, but I cannot remember what the first one was. I do, however, remember feeling slightly bewildered. I was very familiar with Bruckner at the time, and I was very taken by the simplicity and clarity of form in Bruckner.