I never thought an excellent work on Gustav Mahler's life and music, could be completed in a DVD in only one hour. This is a perfect didactic introduction to anyone interested in knowing about this extraordinary composer for the first time ,as well as it is a pleasure of every Mahler's admirer to enjoy a very well done , clean and beautiful synthesis as BBC generally offers. Comments and interviews from such different authorities as Donald Mitchell, Ken Russell, Riccardo Chailly etc. and renown artists as Sir Georg Solti, Michel Tilson Thomas, Charlotte Hellekant (mezzo soprano) and Thomas Hamson (baritone) -both specialists in Mahler's lieds, songs and singing parts of several of his ten symphonies- contribute to create this exceptional DVD.
Very few or any book about this composer and conductor of the best orchestras in Europe starts ,as this work does, telling about his "experience of death" (9 out of 14 little brothers and sisters died during his childhood) Also Riccardo Chailly, as usual interested in this aspect, says that both the sixth and seventh symphonies are "premonition of death". "Hunted by death" adds Ken Russell. Nothing surprising to who knows the blind alley of Mahler's fifty years of life and the extreme importance this aspect repeats in the complexity of his life's thread and therefore, in his music. The song of the Earth is considered "a huge testament" with wisdom of the Buddha philosophy : "His music as the supreme expression of philosophical enquiry in music" is written at the back of the box containing the DVD. A very deep and intelligent reasoning pervades from the beginning to the end this whole small work, and this I consider admirable.
Beautiful and perfect the voices of mezzo soprano and baritone, the choice and the selection of pieces played by the BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Georg Solti, exceptional photographs and backgrounds. It becomes important to try Bach, Mozart and Beethoven during the first months of 2010 !
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