Today's Classical Music Video

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Alan Gilbert Talks About Mahler


Alan Gilbert, music director of the New York Philharmonic, was recently in the news. During a performance of Mahler's Symphony No. 9 a cell phone began ringing and didn't stop. Finally, unable to bear it any longer, Gilbert stopped the performance and turned around to try to deal with the interruption. Members of the audience began shouting and ultimately the offending cell phone owner was identified and shut off his phone. Gilbert explained to the audience that normally he would ignore such distractions but in this case it went on and on and neither Gilbert nor his musicians could do justice to the music under these conditions. In fact, the cell phone noise started at the worst possible place in the score: the quiet final pages of the last movement. For the record, after order was restored in the hall Gilbert finished the performance. He wisely went back to a loud section in the movement so that the structure and emotion of the last section could be fully appreciated.

The New York Philharmonic has a long tradition of Mahler performance going back to Bruno Walter who was a Mahler protegee and one of his most authoritative interpreters, and Leonard Bernstein who initiated the Mahler revival in the 1960s. In our video Alan Gilbert talks about Mahler's music and what it means to him. This video is part of a project undertaken by Mahler's publisher Universal Edition to record interviews about Mahler with many of the leading conductors of our day.

Paul E. Robinson

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