Magazine article Gramophone

The Americas United for Dudamel's Symphony of 1400

Magazine article Gramophone

The Americas United for Dudamel's Symphony of 1400

Article excerpt

Mahler

Symphony No 8, 'Symphony of a Thousand'

Manuela Uhl, Julianna Di Giacomo, Kiera Duffy sops Anna Larsson, Charlotte Hellekant contrs Burkhard Fritz ten Brian Mulligan bar Alexander Vinogradov bass Ninos Cantores de Venezuela; Schola Cantorumde Venezuela; Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra; Simon Bolivar Youth Symphony Chorus and Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela /Gustavo Dudamel

DG (F) (DVD-V) 073 4884GH; (F) (BLU) 073 4890GH (108' * NTSC * 16:9 * 1080i * DTS-HD MA, DTS5.1 & PCM stereo * 0). Recorded live at the Teatro Teresa Carreno, Caracas, Venezuela, 2012

With Mahler having held two prominent New York conductorships during the writing of his Eighth Symphony, many listeners at the piece's 1910 premiere commented on its 'American' dimensions. It's hardly surprising, then, that when Gustavo Dudamel was looking to make a larger statement, he turned to Mahler's Eighth. With the most reliable attention-getter in the symphonic repertory, Dudamel sees Mahler's New World and raises him a continent.

It's difficult to overstate the magnitude here. Dudamel's 2012 Mahler Project, pairing the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra with a vast array of Venezuelan choristers, culminated with more than 1400 performers--a likely Guinness record--and sets a standard for cross-cultural music-making. Few events have been as primed for the camera yet prepared with such precision for the microphone.

Dudamel's charisma, supremely necessary in unifying his onstage forces, also proves photogenic. So too does the camera take the viewer to the most interesting vantage points. But, unlike Bernstein's 1975 outing with the Vienna Philharmonic (the obvious (DVD) comparison), this has CD-quality sound. In the accompanying documentary footage, Dudamel describes the piece as a 'choral orchestral' piece, rather than the other way around, which perfectly marks the strengths here. …

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