Mahler- A Performer’s Perspective


Welcome to a View from the Podium special series- Mahler, a Performer’s Perspective, originally commissioned by The Bridgewater Hall for the Mahler in Manchester festival in 2010. Since the completion of the cycle in 2010, the series has continued to evolve and develop as I’ve continued to study, perform and record Mahler’s music.

(Ken conducts the music of Gustav Mahler on this SOMM CD)

We thought that it would be most interesting and useful to offer  a behind the scenes look at the issues these astounding works pose for interpreters and performers. If you’ve ever wanted to know what keeps conductors up at nights when preparing a Mahler symphony, or wondered what it feels like to be the principal trumpet player ten seconds before the downbeat of Mahler 5, you’ve come to the right place.

Here you can share some of my own experiences of coming to terms with each of the symphonies as a conductor, and reflecting on what it was like to play them in my past life as an orchestra cellist. Each work has it’s own challenges, riddles, paradoxes and problems. If you’ve ever wondered which is the tougher job- conducting all of Mahler 2 or conducting the offstage band in Mahler 2, I can tell you.

Meanwhile, thank you for reading. I hope these posts will enhance your listening experience, and that many of you will be inspired to join the conversation by sharing your comments. If there is a topic you would like us to explore as part of this series, please feel free to suggest it by emailing us at

The Posts-

I-Performer’s Perspective- Is Mahler’s music hard(er) to conduct?

II-Performer’s Perspective- Mahler 1, a challenge

III- Performer’s Perspective- Mahler 2, a riddle

IV- Conductor Conversations- Gianandrea Noseda on Mahler

V- Performer’s Perspective- Mahler 2, a moment

VI-Performer’s Perspective- Das Lied von der Erde, a rebirth

VII-Performer’s Perspective- Mahler 2, a roadmap

VIII-Performer’s Perspective- Let’s Dance

XI-Performer’s Perspective- Mahler 3, a shout-out

XII-Performer’s Perspective- Mahler 3, a lost friend

XIII-Performer’s Perspective- Mahler 4, a contradiction

XIV-Performer’s Perspective- Mahler 3, a scherzo on a poem

XV-Performer’s Perspective- Mahler 5, a tempo

XVI-Performer’s Perspective- Mahler 5, two changes

XVII-“Today” yesterday

XVIII-Another Perspective- Peter Davison on the Adagietto.

XIX-Performer’s Perspective- Mahler 6, a decision

XXI-Another perspective- Peter Davison on Mahler 7

XXII-Performer’s Perspective- Mahler 7, a degree of difficulty

XXIII-A flawed perspective? Mahler and Rott

XXIV- Performer’s Perspective- Mahler 7, a culmination

XXV-Performer’s Perspective- Mahler 8, drama before the downbeat

XXVI-Listener’s Perspective- Mahler 8, just the facts

XXVII- Trumpeter’s Perspective- Mahler 5, a solo with Smock

XXVIII- Trumpeter’s Perspective- Mahler 5, a solo with Scharz

XXIX-Expert’s Perspective- Mahler 8, what is the “Eternal Feminine”

XXX- Expert’s Perspective- Mahler 9, a bitter burlesque

XXXI-Performer’s Perspective- Mahler 9, a meditation after a drama

XXXII- Expert’s Perspective- Mahler 10, a crisis

XXXIII- Future Performer’s Perspective- Mahler 10, am I late yet?

XXXIV-Performer’s Perspective- DLvdE. Why not this Mahler?

XXXV- Performer’s Perspective- Song of the Earth Why this 6 minutes of Mahler? 

XXXVI- Performer’s Perspective- Ninth Symphony: Celebrating a Mahlerian Centenary 

XXXVII Performer’s Perspective- Mahler 5- It was NOT all just a damn dream


2 comments on “Mahler- A Performer’s Perspective”

  1. Pingback: Kenneth Woods- A View From the Podium » Vftp- Official Blog of Mahler in Manchester

  2. Pingback: Mahler - Page 9 - Classical Music Forums - Talk Classical

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