Mahler’s Eighth Symphony: Unjustly Neglected?

Leopold Stokowski Conducting the Philadelphia Orchestra in the U.S. premiere of Mahler's Eighth Symphony in 1916.

There’s no other symphony like Gustav Mahler’s Eighth. The piece got its nickname, the “Symphony of a Thousand,” at its 1910 premiere in Munich, which featured 1,030 performers, including 858 singers, 171 instrumentalists and the composer himself on the podium. Although a thousand musicians aren’t normally used these days (300 to 500 is more typical), it’s still a demanding and expensive undertaking, and thus we don’t hear it as often as Mahler’s other nine symphonies. Continue reading “Mahler’s Eighth Symphony: Unjustly Neglected?”