Back around 1961 I relocated from Colorado to Minneapolis to start my career after getting my undergraduate degree. One of the first things I did after arriving in a city where I did not know a soul was to join the Minneapolis Civic Orchestra. And it was in one of our performance seasons that I first learned about Mahler’s Symphony #1, while I worked with the orchestra to learn this music.
Gustav Mahler was bitterly disappointed that the public actually Booed at the end of the first performance. The music was so filled with a huge range of emotions, as well as sounds of Klezmer-like Jewish themes that European audiences found difficult to accept. Especially the Viennese audiences who liked their elegant sounds of Haydn and Schubert found Mahler’s music offensive and crass.
All of this has changed now: Virtually every major US orchestra will likely have a Mahler cycle during this season. And past seasons have been that way, as well.
Yesterday I listened again to Mahler’s Symphony #1, as performed by Sir Simon Rattle with the Berlin Philharmonic, and many of my memories from 1961 came back. I admire Rattle as a conductor, and in my view, the Berlin Philharmonic is the number 1 orchestra in the World right now.
This is a recording of all of Mahler’s Symphonic works, and you’d be hard-pressed to locate better interpretations, depending on your own musical taste and preferences.
Here is Mahler’s Symphony No. 1, with Sir Simon Rattle conducting the Berliner Philharmoniker
And here are a few excellent comments by Simon Rattle on Mahler’s Symphony No. 1
Tags: Gustav Mahler, Symphony #1, Berlin Philharmonic, Simon Rattle