Mahler 1

2020-01-23 21:39:20 - by alisonw Personal Memories

That could have been one of the great performances of Mahler's First Symphony on BBC Radio 3 just now, as played by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. But it wasn't, not due to the occasional duff notes from the musicians (which were quite lovable actually) but because of the excessive level of audience participation. The coughs and bangs just kept on coming, and we'll not mention the sprinkling of applause after the first movement...

I can still remember the first time I heard the piece: I was attending the Albert Hall Proms, doing the full season in fact, and believing that I didn't like Mahler I'd moved during the interval to the back of the Arena to lie down, close my eyes, and wait for the end of the evening's concert. Instead I discovered an extraordinary visual experience, with jousting, galloping horsemen, villagers dancing around maypoles, and an inn by a crossroads with a cairn of skulls. I was so taken by the music that the following day I bought on LPs Mahler's first through fifth symphonies and the next day the sixth through tenth. Well I say 'tenth' but of course that is Das Lied von der Erde, but there is the incomplete tenth so I suppose I bought one through eleven.

Seems the RLP are undertaking a cycle this year so hopefully Radio Three will carry them all. But less of the audience please!