Bruckner Time

Tonight, Daniel Barenboim and the Staatskapelle Berlin bring the first performance cycle in American history to Carnegie Hall (I’ll be reviewing tonight’s concert, and Symphony Nos. 5 and 9 for the New York Classical Review). Bruckner is a major symphonic composer, and in the eyes of some the greatest symphonist. That may see a bizarre … Continue reading Bruckner Time

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Mahler 4 & 5

The Mahler cycle continues tonight, with Boulez leading the Sixth. Yesterday was a refreshing break, after concerts of the 4th and 5th symphonies over the weekend. Saturday night it was Boulez leading selections from the Wunderhorn songs and the 4th, with Dorothea Roschmann back singing. The songs were nicely done, but I find excerpts from … Continue reading Mahler 4 & 5

Mahler 4 & 5

The Mahler cycle continues tonight, with Boulez leading the Sixth. Yesterday was a refreshing break, after concerts of the 4th and 5th symphonies over the weekend. Saturday night it was Boulez leading selections from the Wunderhorn songs and the 4th, with Dorothea Roschmann back singing. The songs were nicely done, but I find excerpts from … Continue reading Mahler 4 & 5

Mahler 3

This is my least favorite of Mahler's works. It's full of fantastic music, but has a rough opening movement. The themes lack his usual elegance, and the transitions can blunt. The last movement is triumphal, but since this is his nature narrative, there is not the same sense of darkness to overcame. But Boulez has … Continue reading Mahler 3

Mahler 2

Boulez is an important curious conductor his studio recordings are often sonically dazzling and emotionally clinical, but live he is intense. Mahler 2 last night was an example of this. It moved along and was musically involving but seemed a bit emotionally distant for a time. Then, as the scherzo movement went along, and especially … Continue reading Mahler 2

Mahler 1

Last night's sequential Mahler cycle started not only with the Symphony No. 1 but with his Kindertotenlieder, sung by Thomas Quasthoff. It was surprisingly flat - Quasthoff sang with surprising emphasis and vehemence, which I think is a wrong choice in this music, which is best performed with understatement. The poetry itself only refers to … Continue reading Mahler 1

Songs of a Wayfarer

It starts tonight, a massive undertaking for both audiences and musicians; the Mahler Symphonies in order, performed entirely by the Staatskapelle Berlin under the batons of Daniel Barenboim and Pierre Boulez. The two conductors are generally splitting up the works, with Boulez handling the symphonies with voices, Barenboim the rest. It's a fine orchestra that … Continue reading Songs of a Wayfarer