Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony’s DVD Keeping Score: Mahler – Origins and Legacy has been awarded the most prestigious German recording award, Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik, by the German Record Critics' Award Association. The winning DVD includes a two-hour documentary on composer Gustav Mahler, hosted by Tilson Thomas, San Francisco Symphony Music Director, and two SF Symphony concert performance programs. Keeping Score: Mahler won the award in the DVD Classical: Concerts and Documentaries category. The prize was one of 12 Annual Awards by the jury this year.
The first part of the documentary, Origins, explores Mahler’s early life and music, and Legacy examines his creative growth over the course of his career. The first concert features a complete performance of Mahler’s Symphony No. 1, Titan, and the second, A Mahler Journey, traces the origins and influences of his music in a variety of orchestral and vocal works. The documentaries are airing nationally on PBS and can now be streamed on the web at www.video.pbs.org.
“I am honored to have been part of the team that put the Keeping Score project together," said Michael Tilson Thomas. "The members of the Orchestra and the entire production team had a crucial part in its creation. But most of all I am grateful to Gustav Mahler for living a life in music and giving us the opportunity to share and explore his vision."
“The most recent release in this highly acclaimed series is devoted to Gustav Mahler, in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of his death,” said Lothar Prox, Chairman of the German Record Critics' Award Association, on behalf of the jury. “Like the seven previous releases (composer portraits), it is the result of the initiative of the San Francisco Symphony and its superb conductor, Michael Tilson Thomas. We know of no other major educational project in the arts since Lenny Bernstein's legendary television programs with the New York Philharmonic (Young People's Concerts – 1958-72) that has achieved comparable success. The California team around MTT (Michael Tilson Thomas) explains and interprets the heritage of classical music (Beethoven, Berlioz, Shostakovich, Stravinsky, Charles Ives, etc.) within the framework of a nationwide mission through multimedia channels – television, radio, Internet, and various educational programs for students and teachers (see www.keepingscore.org). Their enthusiasm for the project is convincing and is also apparent in the praiseworthy portrait of Gustav Mahler, which examines the origins and legacy of the composer's works during nearly four hours of film sequences and concert performances.”
Producers/directors for the documentaries are David Kennard and Joan Saffa of InCA Productions, and the concert programs are directed by Gary Halvorson. The documentaries were shot on location in the Czech Republic , Austria , and New York , and, along with concert footage shot at Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco , provide viewers with an unprecedented journey through Mahler’s music and the influences that shaped it.
2011 is the centenary of both the death of Gustav Mahler and the birth of the San Francisco Symphony, and the Orchestra’s Keeping Score: Mahler completes its ten-year exploration of the composer’s music. Its Grammy Award-winning Mahler recording cycle on SFS Media is now complete, and this summer, the label releases the complete Mahler recording project in SACD and vinyl box sets. In May, after two weeks of programs featuring the Mahler symphonies in San Francisco, the Orchestra made an acclaimed three-week European tour performing Mahler’s works in Prague, Vienna, Brussels, Luxembourg, Essen, Paris, Barcelona, Madrid, and Lisbon.