When Mahler came to California

In the thick of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Mahler Project, I found myself musing aloud about the great man’s career on the West Coast. He never quite made it there himself – though if he’d lived another couple of years he was planning to take the New York Phil to Chicago, and from there, who knows? – but there is an LA significance in the Mahler legacy, in the sense that it was the place that kept the flame alive during the darkness of the Second World War.

It is often forgotten that Mahler’s widow and his inner circle wound up at that time on the Pacific, attending each other’s cafe klatsches and reminiscing over all they had lost. Not just in reflection – also, in the case of Erich Wolfgang Korngiold and Thomas Mann – in regeneration. I jotted a quick post about it for the L A Phil site.

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  • I’d like to say that the Mahler Project in LA was greatly enhanced by the presence of Norman Lebrecht. His stimulating talks were insightful, informative, and enriching. I regretted having missed hearing him at the Mahler Festival in Leipzig last May.

    I recall an earlier comment that was posted here from someone who wrote: “I hope they are paying you a lot to go to LA,” or words to that effect. LA, oddly, is not the wasteland some people seem to think it is. I am sure Norman Lebrecht would agree, and I think too, if he were asked about the performances he heard while he was in LA, he would further agree that Dudamel, the LA Phil, and the Simon Bolivar Orchestra were, over all, superb and more than amply proved that Mahler is alive and well and thriving even in LA. Thank you, Norman Lebrecht, for coming to LA and for participating in the Mahler Project and for having written your wonderful “Why Mahler.”

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