LA Phil Blog

Mahler 4

Violin Heroics à la Mahler

There's no shortage of media coverage surrounding The Mahler Project - it's a big project, after all - but one of the more interesting perspectives on the whole thing is coming from Laurie Niles, the editor of Violinist.com.


Laurie Martin and LA Phil Principal Concertmaster Martin Chalifour, courtesy of Violinist.com

As you might expect, her coverage is a little skewed towards the violin player - notes about tunings and tempos abound - but it's also got some gems, such as an interview with LA Phil Concertmaster Martin Chalifour where he discusses the instrument he plays as well as the challenges posed by the requirement of actually switching violins during Mahler 4.

You can read all of Laurie's coverage here.

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Your Mahler Project Cheat Sheet

Mahler cheat sheet

Just in case you were wondering what you were listening to...and this is pretty helpful for tonight, especially.

Thanks to John Bogenschutz and his Tone Deaf Comics for providing the Mahler-related chuckles.

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Memories of Mahler 4

MahlerMahler 4 was the first of his symphonies that I learned. An LA native, I was a senior in high school and a student member of the Pasadena Symphony. My mother was Concertmaster and the Conductor was the Pasadena Symphony's Music Director Richard Lert. I have memories of evening rehearsals - sitting in the back of the second violin section, watching Lert prepare the orchestra for performance and working hard to perfect my part. There was one passage in the Bass section in the third movement that Lert kept going over and over again, trying to get it to sound as he envisioned it. Somehow, the basses managed to get it right and we continued on.

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Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

On your marks...get set...and GO!

That's right - after many months of anticipation (and many, many more of preparation), The Mahler Project officially begins tonight as Gustavo Dudamel leads the LA Phil and guest artists Thomas Hampson and Miah Persson in Mahler's Songs of a Wayfarer and Symphony No. 1.

Gustav MahlerHere are a few Festival-friendly, wet-your-whistle type facts you might not know about each of these pieces:

Songs of a Wayfarer:

1) Songs of a Wayfarer (1883-1885) is not only considered Mahler's first "mature" work, but also the first of an entirely new genre of orchestral music - the "orchestral song cycle."

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Let The Mahler Project Begin!

A few words that keep getting thrown around when discussing The Mahler Project: ambitious, monumental, massive.

But why? After all, orchestras have certainly presented Mahler cycles before – playing each of the composer’s nine symphonies in a short period. However, we think The Mahler Project is quite special. Let’s look at the numbers.

Nine symphonies. Two continents. Two orchestras. And one conductor.

That’s not even taking into account the (literally) 1,000 musicians that will crowd onto the stage of the Shrine Auditorium here in LA (and the Teatro Teresa Carreño in Caracas) to perform Mahler 8, the so-called “Symphony of a Thousand.” A thousand is a big number for one stage. And this doesn’t even begin to factor in the logistics of moving Gustavo Dudamel, the LA Phil and the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela 3,600 miles to Caracas, Venezuela to do it all over again.

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