It is all too easy to take Gustav Mahler's symphonies and orchestral songs for granted in the 21st century's first decade. More than ever before, concert performances and recordings of these works abound, and at a level of proficiency that reveals the remarkable extent to which musicians worldwide have assimilated the composer's idiom. Given the music's primacy in today's central orchestral repertoire, we forget how the great Mahler advocates of the past had to champion his music in the face of adversity. "Who can bear those monstrous symphonies, those over-blown, out-of-date horrors," asked one leading music critic when the New York Philharmonic launched a Mahler Festival to celebrate the composer's 1960 centenary.
While Sven Helbig's Pocket Symphonies is presented by Deutsche Grammophon as a collection of lavishly produced songs in symphonic guise, the style has more in common with adult contemporary or easy listening categories than with classical music. Despite the appearance of Kristjan Järvi, the MDR Leipzig Radio Symphony, and the Fauré Quartet, who bring ample talent and commitment to the proceedings, the album actually consists of lush and occasionally lively instrumentals that no one would mistake for western symphonic music, except for the use of an orchestra.
Bernstein leads the Wiener Philharmoniker and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra through Mahler's Symphonies Nos. 8-10 and Das Lied von der Erde . Special highlight: the breathtaking vocals on Symphony of a Thousand !
Bernstein conducts Mahler's Symphonies Nos. 5-7; Ruckert Lieder, and Kindertotenlieder with the New York Philharmonic and the Wiener Philharmoniker. Nobody interprets Mahler like the brilliant Bernstein!