Berlin Philharmonic artistic director Simon Rattle was among the first to discover Gustavo Dudamel conducting the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra in Venezuela. Excited by Dudamel’s gifts and raw talent, Rattle invited him to the Philharmonie to watch the Berlin orchestra at work. The next year Dudamel returned to Germany and – astonishingly – at age 23, won the Mahler Conducting Prize. That was in 2004.
In January, 2012, first in California, then in Caracas, Dudamel led the Los Angeles Philharmonic – where he is music director – and the Bolívar orchestra in all nine Mahler symphonies. LA Times critic Mark Swed called the project “so ambitious as to be a little crazy.”
Swed quotes Dudamel as describing the Third Symphony as the one in which Mahler “is touching everything — nature, animals, the seasons, philosophy, man, Nietzsche. Then angels, children, youth, [and] love. It's like reading a book of life." Epic and cinematic, at almost 100 minutes, it is also the longest work in the standard repertory.
Tonight from the Philharmonie, Gustavo Dudamel conducts the Gustav Mahler Symphony No 3 with soloist Gerhild Romberger and two choirs – one of women, one of boys – on the Berlin Philharmonic in Concert.
Harrison Birtwistle: "Dinah and Nick's Love Song" (8:52)
Gustav Mahler: Symphony No. 3 in D minor (1:48:49)
Gerhild Romberger Mezzo-Soprano, Damen des Rundfunkchors Berlin, Tobias Löbner Chorus Master, Boys of the Staats- und Domchor Berlin, Kai-Uwe Jirka Chorus Master
The Berlin Philharmonic's recordings are available at Arkivmusic.com and on iTunes.