I have this thing about Mahler Five, because 25 years ago I was invited to a Halle Orchestra (Manchester UK) recital of it, sat through it and hated it to the point where I was nearly falling asleep (not helped by having a too-small orchestra in a too big concert hall, but seriously it was sloppy and boring). Many many moons later, in another country, I walked in on this very recording below and loved it without even recognizing the piece until I asked what that killer music was on the stereo.
It was one of those doubletake moments, Wile E Coyote running off the cliff without yet realizing he’s about to fall. My host then laid into Too. Much. Information. on Mahler than I could handle (this Gustav dude rouses passions and has serious hardcore fans), but today I have better recall about what she said about Leonard Bernstein and why he conducted Mahler so well. That Bernstein, Mahler and the Vienna crew all highly prized technique, but Bernstein also got the landscape-sized sweep of the Mahler symphonies. It’s art and craft here, literally.
As the longer classical Friday OT segments have been going down better than the 4 minute rock segments recently (by post hits and by feedback), it’s time to get Mahlering round these parts. No better way to open the series than this, as my knowledge of Mahler isn’t deep but it’s been my fave of his for a decade and so you get to hear it too.
PS: The famous Mahler 5 adagietto starts at minute 44:20. Don’t go straight there, but when it comes…ahhh.