Sunday (9/12) on his Baltimore Sun blog Clef Notes, Tim Smith writes, “ ‘Imagine the whole universe begins to vibrate and resound.’ That was Gustav Mahler describing his Symphony No. 8 in a letter to conductor Willem Mengelberg. It seems that the universe vibrates at some point in every Mahler symphony, but the Eighth clearly is in a class by itself when it comes to majestic power. On Sept. 12, 1910, a large audience gathered in Munich to hear the premiere of the work, with Mahler conducting. It was one of the few complete successes he had with the public as a composer, and no wonder. This is heavy, heady stuff, and terribly touching in its embracing scope, from the opening, soaring treatment of the ancient Latin hymn, ‘Veni, Creator Spiritus,’ to the sublime closing minutes, when the text from Part II of Goethe’s ‘Faust’ inspires Mahler to a truly mystical height.”

Posted September 14, 2010