Friday, September 13, 2013

Preview: Preparing to attack Mahler's First Symphony


The young Gustav Mahler

Start

Finish

Concertgebouw Orchestra, Bernard Haitink, cond. Philips, recorded September 1962

Start

Finish

New York Philharmonic, Leonard Bernstein, cond. CBS/Sony, recorded Oct. 4 and 22, 1966

by Ken

Every now and then I remind myself that, while we've "done" a bunch of Mahler symphonies, including the whole of the Fourth, Sixth, Seventh, and Ninth, and while we've had posts that took us inside the first, second, and third movements of the Mahler First, we still haven't properly done the symphony.

So we've started, above, by hearing how the Mahler First starts and finishes. That's the introduction and exposition from the first movement (the Bernstein version, you'll note, takes the first-movement exposition repeat), and the final five-minute-plus chunk of the finale.

AND THEN, AS LONG AS WE'VE ALREADY HEARD
THE EXPOSITION OF THE FIRST MOVEMENT . . .


. . . I thought we'd listen again to its source, the second of Mahler's Songs of a Wayfarer, "Ging heut' Morgen ├╝bers Feld." We heard a whole bunch of performances in the preview ("From song to symphony -- the journey of Mahler's lonely wayfarer") and main post ("With a concerted effort we can get through half of Mahler's Songs of a Wayfarer (okay, there are only four)") devoted to the first two of the Wayfarer Songs, including the Forrester-Munch, but not the glorious early Ludwig-Boult (even more impressive for the broad tempo), or the Quasthoff-Boulez.

MAHLER: Songs of a Wayfarer:
No. 2, "Ging heut' Morgen ├╝bers Feld"
("Went this morning across the field")




Christa Ludwig, mezzo-soprano; Philharmonia Orchestra, Sir Adrian Boult, cond. EMI, recorded Oct. 18, 1958

Maureen Forrester, contralto; Boston Symphony Orchestra, Charles Munch, cond. RCA/BMG, recorded Dec. 28, 1958

Thomas Quasthoff, baritone; Vienna Philharmonic, Pierre Boulez, cond. DG, recorded June 2003


IN THIS WEEK'S SUNDAY CLASSICS POST

As suggested above, we "do" the Mahler First Symphony.
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