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“When I describe what the catastrophe of modern man looks like, music comes into my mind—music of Gustav Mahler, the much-abused. And not by chance.” These words, spoken by Albert Camus in an era when a gentleman’s leaving his abode without his top hat could be considered a catastrophe, pretty much sum up the paradox of Mahler’s tumultuous personality and music. In addition to composing, Mahler spent his later career as the tyrannical conductor of the New York Philharmonic, earning enemies within his own orchestra—a problem that Giuseppe Sinopoli, conductor of the Dresden Staatskapelle, evidently doesn’t have. The Staatskapelle is probably the oldest orchestra in existence, with a long lineage of directors including Richard Wagner, by whom Mahler was directly influenced. Tonight, the orchestra performs the most strictly structured, emotionally powerful of Mahler’s ouevre, the “Tragic” Symphony No. 6 at 7 p.m. at the Kennedy Center’s Concert Hall. $20-$75. (202) 467-4600. (Amy Domingues)