Ray and I went to Disney Hall tonight to hear the LA Phil perform Mahler’s Sixth Symphony. This is Ray’s favorite and also a favorite of mine, so having Gustavo Dudamel conduct it without the need of a score was fairly thrilling. The LA Phil proved once again that it is filled to overflowing with virtuosity. This is a rigorous symphony with lots of action for all sections and the symphony members – as usual – rose to the occasion.
What makes the Sixth Symphony so entertaining is that it has all sorts of different themes in it and they keep repeating themselves. One is the relentlessness of life, which is depicted by a marching cadence; another is Mahler’s love for his wife, Alda, which is lyrical; another is the beauty of nature, which has cow bells and other sounds that one might hear up on a mountain top.
The most salient aspect of Mahler’s music is that it is so passionate. It evokes visuals just listening to it. Mahler was of the school of composers who revealed what was happening in their personal lives in their music; Beethoven and Mozart were not of this school. Ironically, they both composed some of their most beautiful music at times that they were experiencing the depths of depression. Mahler lets you into his world. His love of his wife is an example. He wrote that love into the Sixth Symphony and it is undeniable.
Tonight was a lovely evening. I am so grateful to have the chance to experience the LA Phil in person. What a treat. I am also so happy to have Mahler in my life. I get the opportunity to experience the world through his eyes and that is quite an window.
Good night to all. Talk tomorrow.