Boulez Conducts Berg and Mahler

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Thursday, May 05, 2016

Composer Pierre Boulez Composer Pierre Boulez

This Thursday at 9 pm, tune in to hear former New York Philharmonic music director Pierre Boulez, who died early this year, lead a pair of performances. The first features the great soprano Jessye Norman singing Alban Berg's Der Wein, based on Charles Baudelaire's poetry. That will be followed by Mahler's towering Symphony No. 3, one of the longest symphonic works in the repertoire at more than 90 minutes long. Australian soprano Yvonne Minton is the soloist in the latter work.

Program Details:

Conductor: Pierre Boulez
Soloists: Jessye Norman, soprano (Berg)
              Yvonne Minton, soprano (Mahler)

Berg: Der Wein (concert aria) from SMK 45838
Mahler: Symphony No. 3 from NYP Special Editions

Comments [4]

Les from Miami, Florida

I wasn't able to hear the broadcast on WQXR, so I didn't know there were any such interruptions. Undeterred, I found the entire broadcast intact on the New York Philharmonic's website (as of the first week of May 2016). Parenthetically, both works conducted by Boulez are on YouTube with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, but not with Boulez and the New York Philharmonic. The Mahler Third Symphony was taken from the 1976-77 Mahler Festival, during which he also conducted the Seventh and Ninth Symphonies. The souvenir radio program book states that the Third Symphony was originally performed at Carnegie Hall but taped for broadcast at Avery Fisher Hall on Monday evening, October 25, 1976. It's a performance not to be missed by any Mahlerite. It has the most clarity of any performance I've ever heard. Outside of not observing the direction "Bewegt" (the horn fanfare 8 bars before Number 5 in the Kalmus edition) and "Vorwa"rts" 5 bars before Number 17), the tempo and dynamic indications were scrupulously adhered to in Part I (the entire first movement) and in all succeeding movements that comprise Part II. In the first movement,the bass drum crescendo two before Number 75 was thunderous. A chamber music lightness and transparancy informed the second and third movements especially when divided strings were called for in the second movement and third movement. John Ware was the posthorn soloist. I'm not positive, but my belief is that he used a muted trumpet and not a flu"gelhorn as the score calls for. Hushed mystery informed the Nietsche movement with beguiling vocal by Yvonne Minton. Again, clarity and transparency were the order of the day in the fifth movement with Ms. Minton, the women's and children's choruses. The beginning quietude of the last movement was especially revealing since the other Mahler conductors whose performances I've heard (Mitropoulos, Bernstein and Levine) begin at about mezzo forte. It's well worth the investment to own this performance as offered by Special Editions.

May. 08 2016 02:44 PM
js from NY

There were three interruptions or interpolations ... The first, I think in the third movement, was relatively brief; the other two both occurred during the finale and were much more extended (the second of these, a very familiar ostinato figure, was the Stravinsky, I guess). Can WQXR kindly explain?

May. 06 2016 06:51 PM
Jasper from New York City

What was going on during the NYPhil broadcast of the Mahler 3rd last night? Doesn't someone listen to these performances before they are broadcast? Was this some kiind of prank?

May. 06 2016 11:58 AM
Robert Puleo from New Rochelle, NY

I'm listening to this wonderful historic broadcast of Mahler's 3rd symphony. However, twice now, piano music has suddenly interrupted, latest during the amazing final movement was interrupted suddenly with part of the piano transcription of Stravinsky's The Rite Of Spring. Just thought someone at WQXR should know this. A shame. A great performance. I also enjoyed the Berg concert aria.

May. 05 2016 10:50 PM

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