New York Philharmonic Can’t Get Enough of Mahler

Jaap van Zweden conducts the New York Philharmonic (Photo: Chris Lee)

The New York Philharmonic is entering a bold new era for fans of Gustav Mahler and other late-Romantic symphonists, if the opening-night gala concert, led by Jaap van Zweden, was any indication. The Sept. 19 program featured Mahler’s Fifth Symphony, performed days after van Zweden led the same work at the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, where he is in his final season as music director.
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Unearthing Music Inspired by the U.S. National Parks

A Grotto Concert at the Moab Music Festival (Photo: Richard Bowditch)

When Gustav Mahler was composing his Symphony No. 3 in Steinbach am Attersee – part of Austria’s spectacular Salzkammergut lake district – the young conductor Bruno Walter paid him a visit. As Walter stepped off the ferry boat, Mahler saw that his guest was gazing up at the cragged, limestone mountains which provided a dramatic backdrop to the lakefront. Continue reading “Unearthing Music Inspired by the U.S. National Parks”

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?”