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Philharmonic and Jaap van Zweden To Open Mahler Festival 2020, Presented by The Royal Concertgebouw

NY Philharmonic Mahler Jaap van Zweden Matthew VanBesien Simon Reinink

This just in: Mahler and the Philharmonic will continue to groove in 2020. Today it was announced that the Philharmonic and Jaap van Zweden, who becomes Music Director in 2018, will open the Mahler Festival — held every 25 years — in Amsterdam in May 2020, presented by The Royal Concertgebouw. They’ll perform Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 in the festival’s opening concert in the Concertgebouw, part of the Orchestra’s first European tour with Jaap van Zweden in spring 2020.

2020 will mark 100 years since the first Mahler Festival, honoring the 25th anniversary of legendary conductor Willem Mengelberg as chief conductor of the Concertgebouw Orchestra. The Philharmonic enjoys a special connection with both Mahler and Mengelberg: they both served as Music Directors, and Mahler conducted several of his own works with the Philharmonic, including the U.S. Premiere of his Symphony No. 1 in 1909.

The Mahler Festival 2020 will include performances of all of Mahler’s symphonies played by the New York Philharmonic, Vienna Philharmonic, Berlin Philharmonic, and Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra — all of which Mahler himself conducted and which will be heard together in Amsterdam for the first time.

Photo by Chris Lee: Philharmonic President Matthew VanBesien, future Music Director Jaap van Zweden, and Concertgebouw General Manager Simon Reinink

Mahler Wundersingers: Des Knaben Wunderhorn Philharmonic Soloists

New York Philharmonic Archives Mahler 'Des Knaben Wunderhorn'

This week's concerts feature Mahler's Des Knaben Wunderhorn, which the New York Philharmonic first performed in 1910, when Alma Gluck sang the American premiere of "Rheinlegendchen" (one of the songs in the collection) with the composer, who was the Philharmonic's Music Director at the time, at the podium.

The New York Philharmonic Archives created a digital exhibit of all Philharmonic Des Knaben Wunderhorn soloists, from 1910 to the present, interspersed with various "wunderhorns" found in the Archives' collection of glass lantern slides.

Enjoy!

Van Zweden 'Almost Miraculous' in New Mahler 3 Recording

Jaap van Zweden New York Philharmonic

A new recording shows that the next Music Director of “Mahler’s orchestra” has a fine way with Mahler’s music.

"The best thing I’ve heard from van Zweden, and I’ve heard a lot of incredible performances under his baton," wrote Scott Cantrell of the Dallas Morning News, reviewing Jaap van Zweden and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra’s Mahler 3 recording, which came out on Friday.

Cantrell wrote:

His way of sustaining and inflecting the music over great stretches is almost miraculous. The caressing of phrases in the finale more than lives up to Mahler’s marking, “with heartfelt sensation”; I can’t think of another living conductor who could work such magic. No wonder van Zweden has been tapped as the next music director of the New York Philharmonic.

One performer on the recording is someone van Zweden will see often when he comes to New York. “You’ll never hear the [opening] movement’s great trombone solos more gorgeously played than by [Principal Trombone] Joseph Alessi, on loan from the New York Philharmonic,” Cantrell wrote.

Recorded live during performances on May 14–16, 2015, at Dallas’s Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center, the recording is available on Amazon and iTunes.

Packed House 'Steps Inside Mahler's Sixth' at Free Insights

"Stepping Inside Mahler's 6th" New York Philharmonic

Last evening there was standing room only at the latest Insights at the Atrium. This installment of the free series, "Stepping Inside Mahler's Sixth," was for you Mahler fans. 

New York Philharmonic Archivist / Historian Barbara Haws; Prof. S. Alex Ruthmann, of the New York University Music Experience Design Lab; music historian Erik Ryding; and Philharmonic Audio Director Lawrence Rock used a new app developed by Ruthmann and his team, along with marked conducting scores from the New York Philharmonic Leon Levy Digital Archives, to compare in minute detail Philharmonic recordings of Mahler's Sixth as conducted by Mitropoulos, Bernstein, Maazel, and Gilbert. 

The app lets us explore interpretive, musicological, and historical questions, illuminating what specifically distinguishes each performance. Attendees got to "test drive" the app at iPad stations:

New York Philharmonic

The Philharmonic, conducted by Semyon Bychkov, performs Mahler's Sixth February 11–16.

Photos: Anne Ruthmann Photography


PHOTOS: The Philharmonic Arrives in Santa Barbara

A full summer of performance and education residencies continues for the New York Philharmonic! First Shanghai, then Vail, and now Santa Barbara, where the Orchestra arrived on Saturday for several days of activities with Music Academy of the West.

On Sunday evening, at the Santa Barbara Bowl, Music Director Alan Gilbert and the Orchestra rehearsed Mahler's Fifth side-by-side with Music Academy students — just the kind of intensive training in the life of an orchestral musician the New York Philharmonic Global Academy program is all about.

Here are some photos from Sunday evening:

New York Philharmonic Global Academy: Music Academy of the West

New York Philharmonic President Matthew VanBesien and Music Academy of the West President and CEO Scott Reed.

New York Philharmonic Global Academy: Music Academy of the West

Gilbert leads the combined musicians during the side-by-side rehearsal, the lovely Southern-California sunset in the background.

New York Philharmonic Global Academy: Music Academy of the West

Acting Concertmaster Sheryl Staples (right) uses a moment in rehearsal to impart some wisdom to Music Academy violinists.

New York Philharmonic Global Academy: Music Academy of the West

The winds, with clarinets and oboes horizontal, rise to the occasion of Mahler's Fifth, a mighty challenge even in rehearsal.

New York Philharmonic Global Academy: Music Academy of the West

Gilbert chats with a Music Academy violinist during the rehearsal.

New York Philharmonic Global Academy: Music Academy of the West

Principal Harp Nancy Allen shares a teaching moment with a Music Academy harpist.

(Photos: Chris Lee)

Digitized and Now Available: Mahler’s Marked Score of Bruckner’s Fourth Symphony

NY Philharmonic Digital Archives Mahler Bruckner

You now have the chance to get an inside look at one master’s take on another. Mahler’s marked score of Bruckner’s Symphony No. 4, Romantic — “one of the more important treasures in the New York Philharmonic Archives,” says Philharmonic Historian/Archivist Barbara Haws — is now digitized and available to view in the New York Philharmonic Leon Levy Digital Archives.

Mahler used this score, his own copy, when he led the Philharmonic’s first performance of the work, on March 30, 1910, during his tenure as Music Director. Over the years the score, published in 1889, had become too fragile to handle. In 2013, through the generosity of Jan and Mark Schapper, the score was preserved so that it could be photographed, included in the Leon Levy Digital Archives, and studied.

Clark University music professor Benjamin Korstvedt is the first scholar to make a careful study of Mahler’s extensive markings and cuts in this score. On Friday, July 17 he will present his findings at the North American Conference on Nineteenth-Century Music in his paper, “Mahler’s Bruckner.”

An example of Dr. Korstvedt’s observations: “Mahler’s treatment of the Finale, which removes more than a third of the music, is quite remarkable. Mahler radically altered the nature of this movement, effectively transforming it from an epic statement into a shorter and lighter piece by systematically deleting each appearance of the stormy third theme group, adjusting some dynamics and a bit of the orchestration, and reworking a key modulation. The result clearly goes against Bruckner’s intentions, but does have a certain logic of its own.”

The New York Times hailed the 1910 Philharmonic premiere of Bruckner’s Fourth for its “truly superb interpretation ... at the hands of Mr. Mahler — a performance that proclaimed even more unmistakably than they have been proclaimed before the mastery and authority of the conductor. It showed his insight and entire sympathy with Bruckner’s music.”

Mahler left the score in the Philharmonic’s music library, but he brought the orchestra parts with him to Europe. Noting in the library catalog why the parts were lost, the Philharmonic librarian at the time wrote, “He died.” Those orchestra parts now reside in the Vienna City Library’s Music Department. Dr. Korstvedt studied both Mahler’s score in New York and the orchestra parts in Vienna, and he reports that the markings line up.

NY Philharmonic Digital Archives Mahler Bruckner

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