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William Zucker
# Posted: 10 May 2009 16:33

I managed to get to hear Alan Gilbert's reading of the Mahler 1st Symphony on Saturday, May 9th, and was glad I attended, as it made for a very interesting comparison with the Barenboim performance from earlier in the week.

The evening started with the Blumine movement, formerly a part of this work, which for me is ok, a nice morsel perhaps but does not truly light
my fires, and Mahler was perhaps right to excise it.

The contemporary work by Peter Lieberson, which I will not go into here, I found to be quite listenable, and would be very willing to give it another shot.

The performance of the symphony, while not ideal either, held my attention a lot more successfully than did the peformance of the other night. The tempo at the conclusion of the first movement again could have been a problem, but this time I was half expecting it. Much detail is lost by such an approach.

The bass solo in the Frere Jacques third movement was much more assured in intonation.

Overall, this performance was much more finely shaped than anything I've yet heard from Dresden this time around, as though Mr. Gilbert was really anxious to prove his worthiness to take over the NY Phil. as will occur beginning next season.

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