Just Nathan

A musical offering, in parts
September 02, 2005
The M6 goes to Amsterdam

Oh weh! How I wish we'd been at last night's Mahler 6 prom. It was a revelation, even on the radio.

Mariss Jansons, the new music director of the Concertgebouw orchestra performed Mahler's 'tragic' 6th symphony. The hammer blows of the fourth movement - however anticipate - made me jump out of my skin as they foretell the win tragedies that Mahler himself was soon to face: his daughter's death and the diagnosis of his own fatal heart condition.

In contrast with the Cleveland SO / Möst performance that we attended on Tuesday, this M6 seemed to weave the powerful yet supple resources of the orchestra into an ever shifting tapestry of rich emotions. As the symphony winds its way to an inexorable conclusion, I am caught in its flow, trapped in its vice.

The Andante movement was played second, followed by the Scherzo third. The luxury of listening whilst sitting in my living room prompted me to reread David Matthews' essay in the Mitchell / Nicholson Mahler Companion, where he makes a strong case for preservation of the 'original' order (Scherzo / Andante). As a side issue, this essay is the weakest in the Companion for me as Matthews limits his discussion to the two well-known disputes about M6 (the order of the inner movements and Mahler's removal of the third hammer blow in the fourth movement). I guess this unevenness in style allows the individuality of the essayists to shine through.

I went to bed with the hammer blows of fate thudding around me.

Posted by nathan at September 2, 2005 06:15 AM

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