19 May 2011

Michael Fuller writes: Last night we performed Mahler's First Symphony in Bonn to a packed audience at the Beethovenhalle. The concert was being filmed for later broadcast on German TV, so there were cameramen and crew members crawling all over the place! It was also a special occasion because yesterday it was the hundredth anniversary of Mahler's death. While counting bars of rests during the concert I found myself thinking about how profoundly the world has changed since he died...and yet his music is more popular than ever (note the copious amount of Mahler performances around the world this year). What a testament to his genius that his music would affect people so deeply in our modern age, even more than in his own times. Fortunately I snapped out of my reverie in time not to miss the next entrance!

It's also been really interesting to come back to Mahler's First Symphony after a month of playing so many of his other works. I feel like I'm hearing it with different ears now, and it's fascinating to see how his symphonic language changed and evolved over the course of his life. With the first seven symphonies, we've covered his early and middle periods of writing, and in the fall we'll be playing his great final works.

Today we're on the road to Frankfurt, a relatively short 2 1/2 hour coach journey after a merciful 11:00am start. The weather is sunny and warm, perfect for a stroll through town and a leisurely lunch before tonight's rehearsal and concert at the Alte Oper.