A classical music website by Tim Mangan
Review: Danish National Symphony debuts at Segerstrom with Deborah Voigt. Los Angeles Times, April 2, 2017.
Deborah Voigt, Mahler, Nielsen, soprano, Wagner
April 2, 2017
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Thanks for an insightful review of the Danish National Symphony concert in OC. It was nice to read an expert’s view of the performance. My husband and I were also perplexed by the fact that the French Horns did not stand up in the last movement of Mahler’s symphony but we did enjoy a very interesting concert in terms of variety and interpretation.
In a kind of a COincidental COmpensatory COunterpoint to that, at the Walt Disney COncert Hall last weekend, the four french horn players of the LA Phil played while standing up in a vertical position for the entire 31st symphony by Haydn. Earlier on the same program, the four swiss alphorn players were also standing for the entire COncerto grosso by Haas and an enCOre too.
Dear Mr. Mangan, thank you for this beautiful and beautifully written review of this concert, which I had the privilege to conduct. Concerning your remark about the beginning of the third movement of the Mahler’s Symphony, I would like to point out that this “Kontrabass Solo”, as rightfully noted in the last critical edition of the score, was intended as a “Gruppensolo” (Solo of the entire group), as it was also confirmed to me by the Mahler-Scholar Gilbert Kaplan in New York some years ago. Allegedly Mahler, who wasn’t happy with the group of double basses in Budapest for the first performance, asked the soloist of the group to play it alone.
Concerning the “standing up” of the horn group in the last movement, since it is a mere optical effect, I prefer not to do it, not being crucial to the musical rendering.
With best regards, yours
Mr. Luisi, thank you for your gentlemanly response. Interesting what you say regarding the contrabass solo in the third movement; I feel it works much much better as a true solo than with the group. It seems to me that from what you say, Mahler was a little unclear as to what he actually wanted.
As for the “standing up” of the horns being a mere optical effect — I think you are wrong for two reasons. 1. Though true, there is little difference in volume and timbre when the horns stand, there is some. 2. The optical always effects how the listener hears things, and the standing horns are quite effective in drawing our ears to their part.
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