Mahler: Symphony No. 9
Mahler’s Symphony No. 9 was performed by the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra last week, conducted by Leon Botstein.
It was an enormously demanding undertaking. The performance was well-rehearsed, polished and perfectly featured the abundant instrumental soli. Intensity of expression, excitement and sensitivity, however, were not quite so obvious. The Laendler movement sounded carefree and indifferent, with none of Mahler’s sardonic sting. A significant three-note motif, for instance, incisive and forceful if the notes are played detached from each other and accentuated sharply, lost its strong impact as each note flowed into the other smoothly and unnoticeably. Phrases were articulated elegantly, but lacked plasticity.
The final, mournful Adagio started off as an easygoing Andante, but
toward the end slowed down to profound sadness and resignation,
creating a moving contrast with the preceding turbulence.
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