Keep Quiet, Tilson Thomas is Conducting

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Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Hope you have your cough drops handy because this week's Showdown features Michael Tilson Thomas conducting the San Francisco Symphony in three  — often quiet — slow movements from Mahler symphonies.

Tilson Thomas was, and continues to be, a hot topic of conversation last week after he threw a handful of lozenges into an audience that was having trouble stifling its coughs. He later told WQXR's Elliott Forrest it was intended to be a good-natured gesture.

You chose the second movement of Mahler's Symphony No. 6 and we played it at noon.

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Comments [8]

Fred from Queens

When was the last time WQXR played symphonies 3 and 6 in their entirety? Listeners who want to hear somewhat better programming should tune in between 1 and 5AM and sleep during the day.

Keep classical music short and lighthearted like this MTT interview. I've heard it more than once, and it's consistent with some of the other silliness that WQXR's announcers and management endlessly enjoy.

Dec. 04 2013 02:06 PM
Carol Luparella from Elmwood Park, NJ

Sad indeed.

Dec. 04 2013 12:00 PM
The Truth from Midtown

Yes, it would be really nice to hear the full Mahler 6 at noon today (or 3 or the Deryck Cooke 10th). But I'm guessing that doesn't allow room for commercial spots (which I hoped WQXR was done with when it went public but obviously not). I also suspect WQXR doesn't trust its audience to have the attention span for a full Mahler or Bruckner symphony, which is why we hear so many short, fluffy pieces instead. Sad.

Dec. 04 2013 11:49 AM
Carol Luparella from Elmwood Park, NJ

You're right, Robert! We can handle it; our attention spans are longer than WQXR gives us credit for!

Dec. 04 2013 11:38 AM
Robert St.Onge from Cochiti Lake,NM

By all means, play entire symphonies. Also entire masses,oratorios and other large but inconvenient pieces. WQXR listeners are hardy folks.

Dec. 04 2013 11:28 AM
Carol Luparella from Elmwood Park, NJ

You have got to be kidding. First of all, this sounds like a sarcastic jab at MTT for his apparently good-natured and humorous reminder to the audience to stifle their coughing.
Secondly, why can't (or won't) you play an entire Mahler symphony? Why should we get to hear only an excerpt?
And finally, for a really exquisite adagio, WQXR should play a Bruckner symphony (but of course they won't because it doesn't fit into their programming schedule).

Dec. 04 2013 10:08 AM
Richard Curtis from New York City

The adagio from Mahler's 6th is so exquisite it should join Blumen and the Adagietto as symphonic excerpts that can be played independently during regular programming.

Please try it a few times? I guarantee listeners will swoon the way they do over the other two.

Dec. 04 2013 09:37 AM
Frank from Queens

Why can't we hear the whole Mahler symphonies? I get the "quiet" conceit but these are all great works. Could someone from the station explain?

Dec. 04 2013 05:59 AM

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