Today's Classical Music Video

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Mahler Symphony No. 8 "Symphony of a Thousand" Finale


Any performance of this monumental work by Gustav Mahler, with its massive orchestral and choral forces, is an occasion.  One such occasion is happening this week in Toronto, when the TSO puts on two performances, on Wednesday and Thursday at Roy Thomson Hall (8 pm). It is an almost all-Canadian cast, with sopranos Erin Wall, Twyla Robinson (replacing an indisposed Adrianne Pieczonka) and Andriana Chuchman, mezzos Susan Platts and Anita Krause, tenor Richard Margison, baritone Tyler Duncan and bass Robert Pomakov. The massive chorus includes the Mendelssohn Choir, Amadeus Choir, and the Elmer Iseler Singers, plus the Toronto Children's Chorus, all under the baton of Peter Oundjian. The work is approximately 85 minutes long—depending on tempo—and divided into two parts. The orchestration in Part One, Vieni creator spiritus, is particularly dense. Some would even describe it as bombastic, so it's always a challenge for the conductor to bring out clarity. Part 2, based on Goethe's Faust, with its hushed chorus at the end, is truly exquisite. Here is the finale of Part 2 with Sir Simon Rattle conducting the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain from the BBC Proms. There is no information on cast from the clip, but I recognized Christine Brewer and Soile Isokoski as sopranos 1 and 2. 

— Joseph K. So

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