Those who enjoy Leonard Bernstein will find this performance a real treat. There is plenty of Bernstein's delighted leaping in the air, and close-ups of his facial expressions as he experiences the beautiful music of Mahler. In fact, there is also a short bonus section in which Bernstein explains that Mahler, better than any other composer, has left a road map in his written scores, of exactly how he intended his works to be played.
The problem for Leonard Bernstein, he says, is that he is so involved with the music, that he feels compelled to show orchestra and audience what he is feeling--what he hopes they will share.
Those critical of Bernstein usually object to how HE becomes part of the performance. Some like this, some do not, but few would deny Bernstein the delighted expressions of joy that we who love Mahler's music feel.
Even for those who don't especially enjoy Bernstein's "shows," this is one of, if not the best-ever, video recording of Mahler's Eighth. The soloists are superb, and obviously passionate in their appreciation for the music. They include: Edda Moser, Judith Blegen, Agnes Baltsa, Inrid Mayr, Jose van Dam, Hermann Prey, and Kenneth Riegel. Oh, and don't miss perhaps the most ethereal, heavenly glimps of the Mater Gloriosa by Gerti Zeumer, who is stationed up next to the organ. It's so magical, it will transport you to higher spheres. This is a beautiful performance that might just become your favorite Mahler work.
The Symphony Seven is likewise vintage Bernstein and beautiful Mahler. The mandolin and guitar are heard in the midst of the wonderful Mahlerian orchestration. It's a lovely work that will reveal more of itself to you with each listening.
So, in summary: Bernstein--love him or not--he doesn't always stick to the road map, but we still get there in style!