REVIEW | Carnegie Hall: Mahler’s Symphony #6

das Ding an sich reviewed the Carnegie Hall performance of Mahler's Symphony No.6 Tuesday, May 12, 2009 at 8 PM. Under the baton of Pierre Boulez, this was perhaps the best performance so far of the Mahler Symphony Series at Carnegie Hall.

Under the direction of Boulez, the Staatskapelle Berlin met the thrusting rhythmic demands of the opening movement with force and precision, delineating its martial theme as a logic refusing to be discarded or derailed. Despite the lyrical surge of the ascending ‘Alma theme’ in the strings, despite its compelling resurgences, despite this or that pizzicato-and-winds interlude, despite even moments when the theme itself almost melts into formlessness, the orchestra emphatically ensured that the heaviness always beat back into life unabated—with a life of its own and back to battering into the life of the hero. A last attempt at the ‘Alma theme’ shattered into calamity and, chillingly, was absorbed by it.

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