The Year in Mahler 2016

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What a year. There are more concerts to come, but my experience hearing Simon Rattle lead the Philadelphia Orchestra in Mahler 6 Monday night at Carnegie put a cap on a run of unforgettable performances. Read my review of last night at the New York Classical Review here, and catch up on these reviews from earlier in the year of New York Philharmonic performances: Mahler 6 with Semyon Bychkov, Mahler 9 with Bernard Haitink, Das Lied von der Erde (and Sibelius 7) with Alan Gilbert.

Sharing reviews is always tinged with the frustration of not being able to share the experience, nor of recalling anything but the memory of an overall impact. But there’s a welcome exception: the Philharmonic has released a digital recording from the Bychkov/Mahler 6 run, and it is as great as my memories, one of the finest performances of the symphony you’ll hear. You can stream it/buy it from iTunes, or do the same at Amazon, where the audio is better. Note that the cover image has Gilbert’s name, but it’s Bychkov conducting.

 

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Heckuva Job

Having Boards of Directors for orchestras, opera companies and the like has come to seem a terrible idea. Capitalism through the last two generations in America has clearly entered an exceedingly decadent phase, and for some reason the same paragons of this decadence are seen as the proper people to, in a fundamental way, oversee the existence of arts organizations. The currency of Boards is prestige, the medium of prestige is money, and the result is the Philadelphia Orchestra and, especially, City Opera are in peril.

Heckuva Job: “The Galtian Overlords who run the local orchestra are blowing all of their money on bankruptcy proceedings.

According to filings submitted for court approval, the case has so far cost the association more than $4.4 million: $3.2 million in legal and professional fees, and $1.25 million in a severance agreement with Peter Nero and the Philly Pops.

Just the annual salary of 20 or so musicians.

(Via Eschaton.)

 

Having Boards of Directors for orchestras, opera companies and the like has come to seem a terrible idea. Capitalism through the last two generations in America has clearly entered an exceedingly decadent phase, and for some reason the same paragons of this decadence are seen as the proper people to, in a fundamental way, oversee the existence of arts organizations. The currency of Boards is prestige, the medium of prestige is money, and the result is the Philadelphia Orchestra and, especially, City Opera are in peril.

 

What’s happening in Philadelphia is almost a singularity of this decadence. The Board values the privilege of executives and thinks money is the answer to everything. So, rather than helping the orchestra succeed at making great music, they think in terms of the privileges of expensive venues and well-compensated executive staff. Then, because they are not especially intelligent and certainly not creative, they do the only thing that they know, which is to higher lawyers and bankers. Myopia is not the right word for it, it’s a rote behavior that perhaps makes them seem like they are doing something, taking charge: Establishment Autism Syndrome.