Mahler centennial sparks performances around the world

Posted on: October 12, 2010

In Tuesday’s (10/12) Wall Street Journal, A.J. Goldman writes, “ ‘Try to imagine the whole universe beginning to ring and resound. There are no longer human voices, but planets and suns revolving.’ This is how Gustav Mahler described his towering Eighth Symphony, nicknamed ‘The Symphony of a Thousand’ for the titanic vocal and orchestral forces deployed during the 1910 Munich premiere. On Sept. 12, the symphony’s 100th anniversary, [the German city of] Duisburg mounted a ‘reconstruction’ of that legendary first performance. Six symphony orchestras and 25 choruses from the Ruhr Valley (the 2010 European Capital of Culture) participated in the sold-out concert. … It was arguably the grandest gesture yet in the world-wide Mahler festivities that kicked off this summer, with the 150th anniversary of the composer’s birth, and will last until 2011, the 100th anniversary of his death. … Stateside, the Mariinsky Orchestra and Valery Gergiev will offer five performances of its Mahler cycle, starting Sunday at Carnegie Hall. … It is easy to forget just how new [Mahler’s] popularity is. … The rehabilitation of Mahler began in 1960, the centenary of his birth. … [Leonard] Bernstein, the first conductor to record a complete Mahler cycle, often packaged Mahler as a prophet whose music foretold the bloodshed of 20th-century Europe.”

Posted October 12, 2010