The best program you never heard in your life

You can call it the best program you’ve never heard in your life. You can call it the almost revelatory program that almost happened- what you can’t call it is the program for the final concert of the Harlech Orchestral Summer School, which I’m now preparing for. Harlech is an intense week long program that […]

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Comparative listening- Don’t mess with Bobby.

It’s Bobby Schumann week on planet Earth, and all the nations of this blue planet are gathering their energies and chanting “Bobby, Bobby, Bobby” in honor of his 200th birthday. I’m celebrating the week by book-ending the week with performances of the Cello and Violin concertos. Schumann seems in many ways to be sinned against […]

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

  I hope readers don’t mind me framing my thoughts about Mahler 9 in terms of conducting. It seems to make sense if for no other reason than the fact that Mahler 9 is at or near the top of many, probably most, conductors’ lists of works they want to conduct before they die. I […]

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Trumpeter’s Perspective- Mahler 5 a solo with Schartz

Today we hear about the opening trumpet solo of Mahler 5 from the principal trumpeter of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Philippe Schartz. A former member of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra and a regular collaborator with Claudio Abbado, his most recent CD, “Trumpet Renaissance” on Chandos includes concertos by Artunian, […]

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

For the next few days, interested listeners can hear the Radio 3 Broadcast of Mark Elder’s performance of Mahler 5 with the Halle as part of the Mahler in Manchester festival. Of course, Mahler 5 begins with one of the most difficult trumpet solos in the repertoire- it places quite unique musical and psychic demands […]

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

Ken’s first summer at Colorado MahlerFest is just around the corner, and so it seems time to add to the Mahler- A Performer’s Perspective library here at Vftp. This year’s festival centers on Mahler’s 7th Symphony with performances on the 21st and 22nd of May. Festival details and booking information are here.   In the […]

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Another Perspective- Peter Davison on the Adagietto.

The Bridgewater Hall- Mahler in Manchester Hi everyone- I have a crazy turnaround between gigs this week and I need to write something about Shostakovich 7 while the experience is still fresh, so we’re callin’ in the reserves. I mentioned to Peter Davison the other day that I wanted to follow up on this piece […]

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Performer’s Perspective- Mahler 5, two changes

The Bridgewater Hall- Mahler in Manchester The Halle and their music director, Sir Mark Elder, will be performing Mahler’s Symphony no. 5 on Thursday, the 4th of March at 7:30 PM in the Bridgewater Hall. Also on the programme is the premiere of Uri Caine’s Scenes from Childhood“ How many scores of Mahler 5 do […]

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Performer’s Perspective- Mahler 5, a tempo

    The Scherzo is a damnable movement. It will have a long history of suffering! Conductors will take it too fast for fifty years, and audiences—Oh heavens—what sort of faces will they pull at this chaos…..” (Gustav Mahler, speaking of his 5th Symphony before the 1904 premiere. ) This quote of Mahler’s often appears […]

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Performer’s Perspective- Mahler 3, a lost friend

The Bridgewater Hall- Mahler in Manchester Shortly after I posted my most recent Mahler essay, I had a comment from Mahlerian and sometime Vftp contributor, Mitch Friedfeld, who suggested I might have overlooked something- There’s another instance of a Mahler-Brahms shout-out — I like that lingo, Ken! — but one with which Mahler was perhaps […]

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

  On its most basic level, what most musicians, musicologists and listeners call “interpretation” is, when done right, basically a 3 step process. 1-       Observation. What is there in the score? 2-       Examination. Why is it there? 3-       Application. What do we do with knowledge we’ve gained in the first two steps? What do you […]

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