Between a week-long vacation in Asheville and a residency at Tanglewood, plus the usual work and family stuff, posting on this blog has ground to a halt. But it’s not as if I haven’t been busy.
Take the Tanglewood residency, for instance. This was my third performance of Mahler’s Second Symphony with the Boston Symphony Orchestra; my first Mahler 2 was with Seiji in 2006, my second with Christoph von Dóhnanyi in Symphony Hall. This was my first performance of the work under the baton of Andris Nelsons, and my first time through the piece with James Burton, the new conductor of the TFC.
It was a pretty magnificent experience, all told. Besides the improvements to tuning, diction, and affect that I’ve come to expect with Jamie, the chorus also found its way deeper into the work than we’ve done in the past. We talked about the difference in vocal tone required in the “Bereite dich” to ensure that we were strong and assertive but not aggressive. We were more attentive to the maestro than I remember being before.
Here’s the audio of the full performance.
I wasn’t at Tanglewood this weekend, though I would have liked to be. You never get too many shots at Mahler’s Second, and the repertoire that I heard for the Tanglewood Festival Chorus’s Prelude concert was superb.
I’ve only seen two reviews so far, both of which make me even sorrier I wasn’t there. The first was the review in the Daily Gazette (Schenectady, NY), which gives the TFC a nice callout for Prelude, calling the chorus “so good by now that it can show off early in the summer. It opened the weekend with a virtuosic Prelude program Friday — all 20th-century, all appealing…”
The Gazette (which has had good coverage of the festival so far this year) also had nice things to say about the Mahler, as did the Berkshire Eagle, which wrote, “John Oliver’s festival chorus was made to sing music like this. The magical first entrance of the chorus, embracing resurrection, came through in an awed hush. When the roof blew off in the ending, the large audience, deprived of opportunities for applause between linked movements, erupted.”
(I wrote about my experience singing the piece under Seiji in 2006.)