Friday, July 16, 2010

Another Summer Concert Tradition Opens with Mahler

I do not know if the organizers of this summer's BBC Proms season knew about the plans for Tanglewood on this side of the pond; but, as far as gala openings are concerned, one might think that a major game of one-upmanship is being played with the legacy of Gustav Mahler. As we know, James Levine planned to open the Tanglewood season with Mahler's second ("Resurrection") symphony; and, for health reasons, Michael Tilson Thomas filled in to replace him on the podium for that concert. The "Resurrection" requires massive resources to make a mighty noise that, when properly conducted, is truly glorious. Not to be outdone, however, the Proms folks decided to summon even more resources for tonight's opening Proms concert: According to the notice in today's Daily Star, Jiří Bělohlávek will take the podium to conduct the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Chorus (along with several other choirs) in Mahler's eighth ("Symphony of a Thousand") symphony. This is not exactly the best music for "promenading;" but Proms audiences have a reputation for being pretty serious about the music itself, regardless of the social setting. The performance will be broadcast on both radio and television, and I shall want to check out whether at least one of these versions will be archived for the BBC iPlayer!

No comments: