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07-09-2010 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,549
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 1
Post ID: 13964
Reply to: 13964
Stunning Resurrection in Boston!
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Holly cow, who could even expect that it will be so! BSO opened today the summer season with Mahler second. Levine is at his, look to be permanent recovery, and Michael Tilson Thomas stood at the podium. Tanglewood Festival Chorus, soprano Layla Claire and mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe – the whole set…

As good as MTT might be I did not have high expectations. In my view the stage was set for “another Resurrection” – how many I heard? I expected an average performance but in contrary it was a unique performance, in fact people shall study this performance for years to come.

Somehow MTT was able to play absolutely different Mahler Second.  MTT striped from Resurrection all “audio glitz” and he did not play the work with accents on colors and harmonic inflections (as Levine did last year with Sixth Symphony). Instead MTT played just the important core, the raw nucleus of Mahler idea skipping all embellishment and decorations. It was like nothing else as it made instantly all that we are accustomed to feel about “Mahler’s ornamentation” unimportant. We are so accustomed that Mahler is played with zillion multi-color light bulbs and complex fluctuations of dynamics that we do not even attempt to get Mahler differently. Michael Tilson Thomas showed this “different” vision. It was like a view on Mahler from 50.000 feet. He took a whole large, colorful, detailed picture of the complex Mahler work, stood 1000 feet away and repainted it using a large brash and just a few the most important strokes. That was in away a bit nonconforming and atypical but it was phenomenally smart, very well rendered and it was Absolutely Beautiful.

I might not absolutely agree with some of the moments of the MTT play (though some of his phrases were absolutely remarkable!) but in context of what MTT was trying to do it was insultingly perfect. I was listening the play as I was listening it for a first time wondering where else MTT would delete the classical Mahler from the Music in order to discover the New Super Mahler. Was it "back to Mahler" approach or the “forward to Mahler" approach?  I do not know but I do not care as I loved each bar or it...

In a way, what MTT did with this Resurrection reminds me what Nicolay Golovanov did with Tchaikovsky in end of the 40s. Golovanov had better orchestra then BSO today but his orchestra very much disliked what Golovanov was trying to do. It looks like BSO did like what Michael Tilson Thomas was intenging and they went alone very nicely.  Sure, BSO is BSO and there were many times when they screwed up (the “sadly-typical” BSO brass) but it was very strange – all BSO mistakes did not bother me this time. Would you be bother with the ash cloud from a Scandinavian volcano if you look at the Earth from Moon?

Anyhow, I can wait to hear it again (or because I recorded it). Unfortunately the miserable WCRB compressed and limited signal very aggressively. I did call before the concert and was trying to do something about it but it was no result. The Melquiades and Macondo are down and I was listening the broadcast on Danlavy III that are not able to play louder than 90dB. Plus I got some odd reception problems (noise at low level) that I need to deal with. Still, it was one of the kinkiest broadcast experiences I have - it was just great and absolutely new for me way to play Mahler….

The Cat


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
07-10-2010 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,549
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 2
Post ID: 13966
Reply to: 13964
The next day's thoughts
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I posted the post above very “fresh”, perhaps 20 minutes after the concert was over. This morning I woke up very late – very atypical to me. I know my body and I know how it reacts to great music – a short period after a great performance I feel hyper active and then I fall asleep absolutely dead.  Then I have a long slip and I wake up completely ….resurrected.

This morning I was thinking about yesterday’s Michael Tilson Thomas’ Mahler Second. I decided do not spoil the fun and do not listened the performance again – what I remember is what I like. Then I began to think about the last night performance from a wider perspective, from a perspective of communicating mechanism. In my field of sound preproduction I have come across to what MTT did. In fact all of you did, think about cartoons.

A cartoonish depicting usually implies a very narrow and very sharpen amplification of a single point or limited amount of points that the most effectively work for consumption of intended metaphor. This is why we have memories the TV cartoons as they are elaborate and full presentation of really but if we look the cartoons again then we shocked how minimalist they are. The MTT did very much the same. He squeezed out of the Resurrection the metaphoric core and played the rest of the score with no aphesis. That was brilliant and wonderful, I just wish I could live my life like this – knowing what is important and what is secondary…

There is another thought that cruse my mind this morning. In 1973 the trustee of BSO were debating who would become a new musical director of Boston Symphony. There were two candidates –young Michael Tilson Thomas and Seiji Ozawa. Reportedly Ozawa won as the Board decided that Ozawa’s charismatic hair will be more effective on the BSO advertising. How freaking sad! Would it be Mr. Thomas then how much great music we would be having here in Boston instead of the 29 years of Ozawa’s nothingness? The most important- where would be the BSO today if we kidnap Mr. Thomas almost 40 years back? We all observe what MTT does artistically in the West Cost and despite of the last year’s controversies Michael Tilson Thomas yesterday showed himself off not as juts a great conductor but as one of the greatest musical Thinker of our time.

Romy the Cat


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
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