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Just in: cellphone video of biggest-ever Mahler 8 in the making

February 17, 2012 by Norman Lebrecht

11 comments.


This is the Shrine performance in LA, before they flew to Caracas and went huge.

Gustav Mahler Symphony No. 8, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra., Gustavo Dudamel, conductor, numerous soloists and choirs at Shrine Auditorium, Los Angeles, CA, USA. Unofficial Blackberry Torch video clip taken 04 Feb 2012, between 8:159:45 PM PST.


Comments (11)

  1. Bob Thomas says:

    The number of performers were enough to make it a true “Symphony of a Thousand” but let’s not go overboard. The total number was 1,012 (give or take one or two), including both members of both orchestra, eight soloists, 813 choristers from 16 choirs and Gustavo Dudamel conducting. The concert is being repeated in Caracas on Saturday and the number of performers will be more than what we had in Los Angeles but still not up to 1,800. BTW: this program will be telecast in movie theaters in the U.S., Canada and South America — start time is 2 p.m. (PST).

  2. This is such an incredible feat… I cannot wait for the release of the live broadcast – wish it’d been streamed to UK cinemas!
    Many have criticized Dudamel’s Mahler and it’s not for the purists – of whom I’m normally one. Take it instead as as an overwhelming, life-affirming spectacle & message of what can be achieved with a base as special as the Systema.
    Wow.

  3. Bill Ecker says:

    You should look at some of the photographs of the Philadelphia premier of the work under Leopold Stokowski….he supposedly went over 1000…….

  4. jamesnimmo says:

    I can hardly wait for Sat’s streaming. What must it have been like to hear this piece at the very first performance??? Had there been anything like it previously? I’m not talking about ballooned performances of Beethoven’s 9th or Handel’s Messiah with way too large an orchestra or chorus. Gurrelieder came later than the Mahler. Perhaps the Ring of Wagner?

  5. Mr Blue Sky says:

    Why is the second soprano always so much more secure than the first soprano at this point….?

  6. That first soprano part is one of the hardest lines to sing ever. It reaches beyond the top range of most singers.* That’s why it always sounds far more unstable than the second singer, even with the best in the world. I took part in a performance where the soprano – one of the world’s best – actually cracked this top note, not naming names(!). The fact the first like is harder to sing actually works well as the end of the piece is a return to a kind of stasis from extreme drama. It represents -within just two solo lines – the entire journey we have been on.

    *(I forget which note it is; I think it’s a top C? E flat major, right? Perhaps someone could confirm; my score was stolen a while back!)

  7. jamesnimmo says:

    Neither solo soprano part goes past the high C. Not even the offstage “angel”.

  8. At the end of a piece this length, the tricky interval, the quiet singing, the opening of the vowel; it’s blimen hard!

  9. jamesnimmo says:

    Unfortunately my experience this afternoon was not good. It didn’t start until an hour and 10 minutes AFTER the announced time, having to listen to John Lithgow mug during all that time.

    Then the sound in my theater was very distanced. I’ve had better sound from my car radio.

    Three MET operas have also been bad, with no mid-range in the sound.

    I’m not going to any of these types of things anymore, even if jesus comes back and plays the bagpipes!!!

  10. Sam Pemberton says:

    This is not a rehearsal. This is a video I took at the end of the performance in L.A., Saturday, February 4. I was in the center of the last row of the balcony. The 6300-seat Shrine Auditorium was sold old. The curved plaster wall behind me was efficiently reflecting every sound, from the most nuanced to the most powerful. The audience was respectful and appreciative. During the quiet moments, not a cough was heard. Pianissimo solos could be heard clearly, and in the most dramatic moments solo vocalists voices were able to project over the mass of sound coming from the 300+ instrumentalists and 1000+ choristers. The Caracas performance on February 18 was equally thrilling. I look forward to the DVD/Blu-ray publication.


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