Monday, November 28, 2011


Well, that's that. The Sydney Symphony Orchestra / Ashkenazy 'Mahler Odyssey' ended on Monday with the final of four performances of the Second. While the ninth and incomplete tenth hold the secrets to where Mahler's thoughts and emotions were finally focused, the ninth was rightly played on the centenary of his death, and so this huge dramatic and overtly Christian version of 'what might happen' made a fine ending for us, if not for Mahler. Thanks for the massive journey to all involved. It's a rare privilege, a once in a lifetime dare I cliche, to get the 'lot' in such good hands. Now let's hope we don't pay for it with years of abstinence - there's no Mahler for 2012. I know there's been new Mahler aficionados and converts gathered so we need a steady feed, like more of the less familiar (down here) 6, 7 and 9 please.

If you missed the Second (and by the way, Saturday was much tighter, and a good deal more moving - read teary-eyed in S stalls, the apex of the perfect triangle in the hall - than Friday), you can hear and watch it on demand, right here.

The performance will be released on CD (Saturday as played would be just fine) but in the meantime, no collection of Mahler should be without this staggering live performance of the Second with a ravishingly beautiful Yvonne Kenny at her very best. And it's about 14 minutes slower than the legendary Klemperer which is not the least of the reasons it packs such a mighty emotional punch. Look around the buy sites - I'm not linking to Amazon or the like as my account details come up - can't have that.

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