Saturday, FEB 4 will be a day that goes down in history for the LA Phil.
It's not just that The Mahler Project was an ambitious undertaking - it was that, for sure. After all, a single conductor leading two orchestras through nine (and a half, by some estimates) symphonies in three weeks is no walk in the park.
And it's not just that the spirit of Gustav Mahler made his namesake, LA Phil Music Director Gustavo Dudamel, take him at his word when he named his Eighth Symphony the "Symphony of a Thousand." He did. After all, when the final count was in, just over 1,000 musicians crowded onto the stage at the Shrine Auditorium to produce a concert so grand in scale that it's unlikely to be replicated in the near future. Right?
Wrong. Because it WILL be replicated - in less than two weeks, from another country, on another continent. But, thanks to LA Phil LIVE, we'll all be able to see it - here in the U.S., in Canada, in Europe and Asia.
Even before we launched the Mad About Mahler campaign - in which we encourage Mahler fans from all over the world to "show us their Mahler" - people around the offices had been referring to "Mahler Madness" as if it were some sort new malady. And, in many ways, it resembled that - for some, it was all we thought about. The Mahler Project. Mahler 8 at the Shrine. The upcoming trip to Venezuela. LA Phil LIVE.
The point at which one succumbed to Mahler Madness was the point where it became difficult to separate oneself from the WORK of putting on The Mahler Project and being able to remember that the ultimate goal here was the creation of music.
This probably won't come as a surprise to many, but Gustavo Dudamel is mad about Mahler.
So...can you understand where Gustavo is coming from? Do you wake up with a Mahler symphony in your head? Have you written a blog post about his music or a poem celebrating the composer? Or are you, like so many others, just discovering his work but somehow aware that Mahler's music is special?
Whatever stage of Mahler madness you're at - Mahler newbie, Mahler lover or Mahler maniac - Gustavo and we here at the LA Phil would like you to do something for us.
We want you to show us your Mahler.
It's easy enough to do.
You can tweet about your experience with Mahler using the hashtag #MahlerProject.
If you thought last week at Walt Disney Concert Hall had a whole lot of Mahler, then get ready - this week will really knock you out. Gustavo and the LA Phil have progressed at a brisk but reasonable pace since launching The Mahler Project on JAN 13, but now that the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela has arrived and played not only THEIR first Mahler symphony with Gustavo but also the first of two performances of "Mahler's World" -- well, the only word we can think of to describe this week is "breakneck."
Here's what's happening in The Mahler Project this week:
Thursday's performance of Mahler 1 was spellbinding - especially with the powerful way it ended with the Adagio of the 10th symphony - musically "bookending" Mahler's extraordinary but brief life. The viola section was especially poignant with its utterances, I felt.