Mahler by Bernstein!

Bernstein’s Mahler!

Gustav Mahler was born in Kalist, Bohemia on the 7th of July 1860. This DVD offers the listener an opportunity to celebrate (a bit late) the 150th anniversary of Mahler’s birth, and also the celebration of one of the great conductors who brought Mahler’s music to the attention of the public, namely Leonard Bernstein. What’s also amazing is that it was Bernstein who worked tirelessly with members of the Vienna Philharmonic orchestra many years ago, to show them and explain to them the style which must be used to perform Mahler’s music. For Mahler frequently seeks to express the ironic, the complex, the sad, and the tragic aspects of life through his compositions.

What is also somewhat unusual about this DVD is that it presents just one movement from each of nine Mahler symphonies. Yes… many of my readers may undoubtedly find this somewhat offensive. However, if you see it as a compendium of the most sublime parts of many of Mahler’s works, it may well have a part in collectors libraries. As an example, the Adagietto movement of Mahler’s 5th is so well known for its sadness, its tenderness and its amazing beauty. As such, you may want to explore how Bernstein interpreted this movement.

Leonard Bernstein, as Mahler had done before him, strives to understand every composer’s intent, and he seems to want the orchestra and the audience to share in his personal celebration of the beauty and intricacies of the music.

All of the performances on this DVD are of Bernstein conducting the Vienna Philharmonic, except for the Symphony 2, which is with the London Symphony Orchestra.

Watch Bernstein as he performs this music: in the first movement of Symphony #1 you can’t miss to watch his joy in the music. And in the movement IV of the Seventh Symphony, Nachtmusik II, Andante amoroso, we see and hear the delightful and rare appearance of guitar and mandolin in a symphonic piece–and Bernstein makes sure that we can hear them!

Here is Bernstein in the Mahler Symphony No. 5 in C-sharp minor: Part III: Movement 4, “Adagietto ”

Roland Berger, Horn,Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra


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Tags: Gustav Mahler, Leonard Bernstein, Adagietto

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