Thursday, April 23, 2009

Leonard Slatkin begins journey through Mahler's symphonies

Leonard Slatkin (pictured) plans to run the Mahler cycle as music director of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. His adventure through Mahler's nine-plus symphonies begins tonight with a sort of "plus" version of Symphony No. 1 in D major.

While Slatkin hasn't made a big deal of his intention to keep Mahler for himself, he couldn't have made it plainer when we talked about programming for next season. When I noted that Peter Oundjian, the DSO's principal guest conductor, would lead the Mahler Seventh next year, Slatkin said, yes, that was something Oundjian wanted to do, but that in the future he (Slatkin) would be on the podium when Mahler was on the docket.

The extra bit Slatkin is adding to the First Symphony this weekend is a seven-minute movement called "Blossoms" (or "Blumine" in the original German), which was part of the First Symphony at its premiere in 1888. But after a couple of performances, Mahler decided "Blumine" didn't really fit and tossed it out, reducing the work to a four-movement scheme.

Slatkin will offer "Blumine" as a stand-alone concert opener, to be followed by Christopher Rouse's "Friandises," a dance suite modeled on French Baroque style and written for the New York City Ballet in 2005. Mahler's First Symphony, in its conventional form, fills the concert's second half.

Tickets:
8 p.m. Thursday, 10:45 a.m. Friday, 8:30 p.m. Saturday. $19-$72.
Orchestra Hall at The Max, 3711 Woodward Ave., Detroit. (313) 576-5111. www.detroitsymphony.com

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