Saturday, January 19, 2013

Abbado, Chicago Symphony Orchestra
"Mahler: Symphony no. 7" (CD)

I possess an outsider's opinion of Mahler.  Whilst most orchestral players I know drool at the mention of performing Mahler, I must confess to a certain disdain for the "more is more" philosophy of the late-19th century German composers.  Mahler, Strauss and Wagner all developed new levels of complexity in their music, but to do it they added fifteen additional horn players, doubled string sections, added a triple course and, in some examples, began inventing their own instruments.
I think the music is needlessly complicated and garish.

However, I'm willing to consider an alternative:  it may very well be that I have never experienced this music surrounded by the (necessary) army of musicians capable of playing this music well.
More often than not I only see a bevy of trombonists more interested in seeing how far they can project their spittle across the hall than with producing the colors unique to Mahler.
I await a more evolved music-making experience with quiet anticipation.

There's probably no better ensemble to listen to Mahler symphonies than Chicago and their legendary brass sections.

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