Noting the Wagner “Ring” Cycle at the Metropolitan Opera, James Oestreich writes in last Friday’s (5/8) New York Times that “a cycle of a different sort but similar scope began to displace it at Carnegie Hall on Wednesday evening, as the Staatskapelle Berlin and its music director, Daniel Barenboim, embarked on a 12-day series of Mahler concerts comprising the nine completed symphonies in chronological order, the Adagio from the truncated 10th, ‘Das Lied von der Erde’ and other orchestral song settings. In terms of sheer scale, the musical challenge is much the same; the durations of the Mahler works add up to something approaching the more than 15 hours of music in the ‘Ring.’ Mr. Barenboim, who has long relished grand projects, first presented the Mahler cycle in Berlin in 2007, sharing the conducting with Pierre Boulez, who also joins him here. … The Staatskapelle Berlin has a long history with Mahler, which includes a 1924 acoustical recording of the Second Symphony with Oskar Fried, the first complete recording of a Mahler symphony.”

Posted May 13, 2009