Archive for October 5th, 2007

Mahler Three RSNO

The Royal Scottish National Symphony Orchestra (RSNO) played Mahler’s Third Symphony last night at Perth Concert Hall.    I love Mahler, and knew this concert was coming up, but was not sure until the day before if I could manage to get along.   I am so glad I did as I had not heard Mahler Three live before.    

Mahler Three is the longest of his symphonies, and requires a large orchestra (9 horns, 2 harps, double timpani, offstage percussion and trumpet) as well as a mezzo soprano, boys choir and ladies choir.   There must have been 250 people on the stage.   The hall was packed.

The first movement itself came in at 40 minutes long, and was a huge journey for the players and audience in itself.    The playing was simply brilliant, with Stephene Deneve the conductor really getting the most out of his forces.   Some parts were incredibly pianissimo, making a huge contrast with the full orchestra sound.    A really stunning finish to end – and there were five movements to come.

The choirs and Mezzo had to wait for about an hour and 20 minutes before singing.    That’s a very long wait from warming up their voices before getting onto the platform, but the voices were in great shape and did not disappoint.    Russian mezzo Elena Manistina sounded particularly wonderful.

And after all that excitement, the last movement – 25 minutes long adagio was simply incredible.   The emotionally charged music finally, finally builds to a simply unbelievable conclusion.    And Devene’s treatment of the final chord was completely surprising – the sound literally floated away.

This is Devene’s first Mahler Three.    He is doing it only once more – in Glasgow on Saturday.     It is a thought-provoking and thrilling interpretation.     Not to be missed at all.

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