Today's the day that Gustavo leads the LA Phil, the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela and a literal cast of thousands in the gargantuan Mahler 8, the "Symphony of a Thousand," live from Caracas!
Of course, you don't have to be IN Caracas to see it - you can head on over to your local cineplex and see it in HD from the comfort of your very own movie theater seat. It's the second installment of LA Phil LIVE, and it promises to be a movie-going experience like no other.
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.
Photo of Gustavo Dudamel and Martin Chalifour courtesy of the LA Times
Well, here we are.
We've entered a sort of "endgame" for The Mahler Project here in LA. The Project will roll on for two more weeks in Venezuela after the final, haunting notes of Mahler 9 fade into the warm afternoon air on FEB 5 - but after next Sunday, the grand effort we know as The Mahler Project is over in the United States.
That is, until FEB 18, when people around the country will be able to walk, drive, bike or skip to their local movie theaters, order a large popcorn and sit back to enjoy the "Symphony of a Thousand" live from Caracas, Venezuela as party of LA Phil LIVE.
That said, there's still plenty of Mahler to be had this week. Here's what's happening, Mahler-wise:
It's easy to assume that what you see is what you get - for example, even though we may know objectively that The Mahler Project is an enormous undertaking with many moving parts, that fact can sometimes be obscured or forgotten when we see the final product. Orchestra rehearses, orchestra plays - right?
Well...no. Take the upcoming Mahler 8, for example. We know it's referred to as Mahler's "Symphony of a Thousand," and we know that Gustavo Dudamel is leading the LA Phil, the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela and around 800 other musicians in the performance on FEB 4 at LA's Shrine Auditorium and on FEB 18 at the Teatro Teresa Carreño in Caracas - we know all that, but here's a question - where and how does such a massive ensemble rehearse?