Nagano to record Mahler cycle in Israel

Nagano to record Mahler cycle in Israel


norman lebrecht

June 29, 2019

We’re hearing that a local promo film for the Israel Phil reveals that Kent Nagano plans to record the complete Mahler symphonies with the orchestra over several years, around live performances in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

Nagano is probably not the first conductor one would pick to conduct Mahler, but he has clearly raised the finance and the orchestra seems to be proud at being chosen ahead of his other ensembles in Hamburg and Montreal.



  • MacroV says:

    I would have thought Montreal a better place to do this, given his long tenure there. And the Das Lied recording from early in his career was quite good.

  • Wonderful news…hope Hampson is involved too

  • Jan says:

    Toi Toi Toi for them.. if they’ll survive that then they are not a total D level orchestra anymore.

  • Uzi Shalev says:

    We in the IPO already started the project, a few years ago, when we recorded Mahler 7th Symphony with Maestro Nagano. Looking forward to continue!!!

  • Rob says:

    Very fine conductor indeed and his Mahler is actually very good!

  • Henry Rosen says:

    Why does anyone bother with this man. He is more than useless..where does the money come from to let him peruse his career. What. A. Waste.

  • V. Lind says:

    Could be that the finance depends upon his choosing that orchestra. There is little to make one assume it is any better than Hamburg or Montreal

  • JohnViolist says:

    One of the worst conductors I have ever had to endure. The reason why he is conductor of such important music institutions is beyond my imagination. I can already recommend anyone not to buy his new Mahler recordings.

  • Wladek says:

    Why ?

  • Cubs Fan says:

    Another Mahler cycle…ho hum. But I will have to say that I enjoy Nagano’s Dad klagende Lied very much.

  • Keijoe Ketolaaaa says:

    This project is as superfluous as mammary glands on a bull.

    P.S. Speed readers might read “promo film” as something else.

  • Warren says:

    What label will these recording be on?

  • MSC says:

    I haven’t been impressed by Nagano’s Mahler overall (some good bits, certainly). I cannot find out what label these will be on, but even Harmonia Mundi’s engineers could not make the Mann Auditorium sound good. I understand why any major orchestra would want to record Mahler, and the Israel Phil. especially, but I can’t see this as being much of a success. I hope to be proven wrong, however.

    • Uzi Shalev says:

      Dear MSC: Just to let you know that the “Mann Auditorium” has gone under a major renovation which improved its acoustics immensely. It’s now named: ” Bronfman Auditorium”.

      • msc says:

        I have not heard reports of the new acoustics, but knew if the name change. I used Mann since it is almost a byword for poor acoustics. I probably should have said “the old Mann” or such.

  • Bruce says:

    His recording of Das Lied with the OSM is quite good, IMHO.

  • Emil says:

    Given that he’s ending his contract with Montreal next year and that Hamburg is an opera house, that seems hardly shocking, is it?

  • Martinu says:

    Israel Philharmonic has a huge Mahler recording history. With Zubin Mehta – several 1sts, but also 4th, and others – Decca, EMI and the IPO label on Helicon. Bernstein, on CBS, DG and Helicon and many, many more (Kletzly, in the 50s). Mahler is played annually. The new Music Director Lahav Shani did an excellent 1st, and Dudamel did a horrible 2nd several years ago. Many years ago Levine did a superb 2nd (published on Helicon) and Bernstein, towards his death, an unforgettable 9th (also on Helicon). Nagano conducted the 7th, I think, several years back – reasonably good, if I remember. The orchestra is in excellent shape now – let’s record!

    • The more Mahler the merrier. Just to mention my very first intro to Mahler was with Bernstein conducting Das Lied von der Erde with the IPO and soloists Renee Kolo and Christa Ludwig. It was magical. The auditorium was full, as it usually was with Lenny, and our tix, ordered a year in advance were superb. Very, very memorable.

    • Herr Doktor says:

      I would certainly hope the orchestra has improved. They had a lot of improvements to make. When I heard them in Boston on tour 5 years ago performing Bruckner’s 8th, it was the worst-played, worst-interpreted performance of that magnificent symphony I’ve ever encountered. It was one of the 3 worst live concerts I’ve ever heard–and that’s a lot of concerts. The violins sounded terrible. The brass had an atrocious night. Overall, the orchestra was inferior to the New Hampshire Philharmonic.

  • The View from America says:

    Yippee! Another Mahler symphony cycle!

  • Chuck says:

    off topic I know, but how I wish us opera singers could take back the art form. I am so tired of working with directors who have no opera experience or do
    not trust the music or libretto… thanks for listening

  • Tamino says:

    Does Israel have no better composer to support, than this overexposed 19th century one who converted to catholicism?

    • Barry Guerrero says:

      Two out of three ain’t bad. However, the vast majority of what Mahler composed and gets performed is from the 20th century. And, if we’re going to be cynical, let’s go all the way. Mahler converted to Catholicism for the sake of his career, as his being Jewish was an impediment to him getting the Vienna gig. To my ears, that conversion had no bearing on his compositions. Mahler remained Mahler. Others might feel differently, but I think there’s little that’s Catholic in the 8th symphony

  • kundry says:

    Wrong artistic move from a mercenary orchestra. A Mahler cycle from a boring, uninteresting conductor will not make any difference. Here is a novel idea Israel Phil. – start a Mahler cycle – audio and video -with your very talented new Music Director Lahav Shani. His Mahler First is excellent and that was a debut. The cycle will also record the development of this conductor and of the orchestra over the next few years in the post Mehta era. In addition , it will be much more marketable that the spent Nagano.

  • Steve says:

    At least it’s not Beethoven…

  • Lincoln Russell says:

    Nagano, a gentleman and a scholar with a long, distinguished and enviable career, conducted an unforgettable Mahler 9 in 1984, while assistant conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, when he substituted for an ailing Ozawa — on short notice and without rehearsal — receiving great acclaim from the audience, orchestra and Boston Globe music critic Richard Dyer for a “noble performance”.

  • rita monkovich says:

    Just don’t forget to mention the exact data of release the recording. Because we are interested very much – and this is the most important matter for the production staff and for the fans of maestro and the composer as well.