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.
To that end, one could say that FEB 4 will go down in LA Phil history not because it's an event that can never be replicated; in fact, it will be remembered precisely because Gustavo and the orchestra looked at this grand event and decided that it MUST be replicated, and that the largest number of people possible should not only take part in it, but also experience it.
THAT'S grand in scale. THAT'S epic. THAT'S Gustavo showing everyone what Mahler means to him.
Here's what the LA Times had to say about Saturday's performance:
Mahler’s Eighth Symphony is always an event, even when the "Symphony of Thousand" is a symphony of a more typical 350. But Gustavo Dudamel wanted a spectacle to climax his Los Angeles Philharmonic Mahler Project. He got it Saturday night in the Shrine Auditorium.
Thrilling, of course, automatically goes with a cast-of-a-thousand territory, and 1,017 was apparently the final tally for the performance. Unlike anything else the deeply probing Mahler wrote, this is a symphony of unambiguously jubilant, blissful buoyancy. With such multitudes onstage and five times their number in the audience to provide an atmosphere for collective wonder, Dudamel turned this into an occasion of ecstatic revivalism.
You can read Mark Swed's entire review here.
It may take people some time to come down from the Mahler 8 high. But come down we all will, only to be lifted back up in less than two weeks when we see Gustavo do Gustav justice all over again.