Author Topic: Mahler Mania, Rebooted  (Read 371127 times)

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Offline Marc

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Re: Mahler Mania, Rebooted
« Reply #60 on: May 04, 2007, 01:26:59 PM »
I doubt the Adagietto was a musical love letter. The Adagietto and the Lieder Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen share themes and to my ears express the same feelings. It seems a very strange way to profess love by using a song that says, "I have lost track of the world with which I used to waste much time...I am dead to the world...I live alone in my heaven, in my loving, in my song."

I must admit it doesn't seem strange to me. To me, it's pure love poetry. Getting rid of the awful world and being sunk into your own imagination of heaven, with the persons and music you so deeply love.
Of course this is a sort of love that is closely related to a longing for death: when you're dead, all the earthly pains will disappear, and you will be reunited in heaven with the persons you loved and who have departed before you.

Sterben werd' ich um zu leben, nicht wahr?

These are exactly the feelings that come over me a lot of times when listening to Mahler, and then I get hovered between faith/comfort and restlessness. That's why his music touches me. Mahler's music is very close to life, IMHO, because generally it delivers more questions than answers.
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Steve

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Re: Mahler Mania, Rebooted
« Reply #61 on: May 04, 2007, 06:57:31 PM »
I must admit it doesn't seem strange to me. To me, it's pure love poetry. Getting rid of the awful world and being sunk into your own imagination of heaven, with the persons and music you so deeply love.
Of course this is a sort of love that is closely related to a longing for death: when you're dead, all the earthly pains will disappear, and you will be reunited in heaven with the persons you loved and who have departed before you.

Sterben werd' ich um zu leben, nicht wahr?

These are exactly the feelings that come over me a lot of times when listening to Mahler, and then I get hovered between faith/comfort and restlessness. That's why his music touches me. Mahler's music is very close to life, IMHO, because generally it delivers more questions than answers.

Well said, Marc. Spoken like a true Mahlerite. Sometimes simply finding the adequate diction to summarize one's experience with this music can be incredibly difficult. Ultimately, I'm often left with the cliche of a portrait of human nature or of reality. Something fresh with each listen.

Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: Mahler Mania, Rebooted
« Reply #62 on: May 05, 2007, 01:45:58 AM »
I must admit it doesn't seem strange to me. To me, it's pure love poetry. Getting rid of the awful world and being sunk into your own imagination of heaven, with the persons and music you so deeply love.
Of course this is a sort of love that is closely related to a longing for death: when you're dead, all the earthly pains will disappear, and you will be reunited in heaven with the persons you loved and who have departed before you.

Sterben werd' ich um zu leben, nicht wahr?

Well, that Teutonic Romantic notion has always bothered me; I prefer, Leben werd' ich um zu Sterben. :)

But anyway, the last lines of the Rückert song are specific that he's living alone in his heaven; there is no hope of reuniting with a beloved; it's over, he's done with the world (and the world includes his beloved). The love he's now experiencing, it seems to me, is a lost love, and his feelings are akin to nostalgia, his songs celebrating the dead past:

Ich leb' allein in meinem Himmel,
In meinem Lieben, in meinem Lied!

(This reminds me of Simon and Garfunkel's song, I Am a Rock:

I have my books
And my poetry to protect me;
I am shielded in my armor,
Hiding in my room, safe within my womb.
I touch no one and no one touches me.
I am a rock,
I am an island.)


The cycle continues in that forlorn vein with the last song, Um Mitternacht, making it clear that there is no hope, no light, only darkness; no sign of a beloved to light up his life.


Es hat kein Lichtgedanken
Mir Trost gebracht
Um Mitternacht.


Since I believe the Rückertlieder and the Adagietto are related not only by specific musical themes but by a dark pessimism and sense of loss, I'll remain skeptical that Mahler conceived this as a love song. Of course your interpretation is perfectly valid too. I can see your point and you may be right: the one troubling snag with my theory: why would Mengelberg make up the story?

In the end, though, we bring ourselves to art: we see, hear and interpret through the filters of our individual experiences and beliefs. Ain't it grand we have so many performances to choose from? We can all find a conductor who gives a performance to fit our personality

Quote
These are exactly the feelings that come over me a lot of times when listening to Mahler, and then I get hovered between faith/comfort and restlessness. That's why his music touches me. Mahler's music is very close to life, IMHO, because generally it delivers more questions than answers.

Well said, and true.

Sarge
« Last Edit: May 05, 2007, 04:53:21 AM by Sergeant Rock »
the phone rings and somebody says,
"hey, they made a movie about
Mahler, you ought to go see it.
he was as f*cked-up as you are."
                               --Charles Bukowski, "Mahler"

Offline Marc

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Re: Mahler Mania, Rebooted
« Reply #63 on: May 05, 2007, 02:34:50 AM »
Well, that Teutonic Romantic notion has always bothered me; I prefer, Leben werd' ich um zu Sterben. :)

Good for you! :D

Quote from: Sergeant Rock
But anyway, the last lines of the Rückert song is specific that he's living alone in his heaven; there is no hope of reuniting with a beloved; it's over, he's done with the world (and the world includes his beloved). The love he's now experiencing, it seems to me, is a lost love, and his feelings are akin to nostalgia, his songs celebrating the dead past [....]

You certainly do have a point there. Maybe I was a bit too enthousiastic, and therefore too hasty, with my 'interpretation'.
But I'm still not sure that the narrator meant this poem to be 'sad' (and it can still be a love song; maybe not in the average meaning, but more as a comfort for the narrator himself). The fact that Um Mitternacht is comfortless might also lead to the conclusion that eventually the narrator has found a way to deal with his earthly pain in the way he describes in Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen.
And of course, there is some kind of a problem with 'love': is it really possible to experience it as a combined fusion, both lovers in the same intense way? Or is it in many cases 'allein Lieben', exceptions excluded? Is longing, on your own, and by your own, sometimes more satisfying than being able to really love that other person? Are we really able to love our beloved?
Wasn't this maybe the case with Mahler and Alma? Was he able to love her in the 'average' way? Didn't he want to love her in his 'own way'? Was this to be said in the 'Adagietto', like a kind of very personal love song?
Mahler and Mengelberg became close friends when Mahler visited the Netherlands. Maybe he discussed his feelings for Alma with Mengelberg and others? Like he did with Freud, in Leiden?

Für dich leben! Für dich sterben .... Almschi!

Tenth symphony: a love song??

How many of us are able to really feel this way for another human being?
Alma was much younger than Mahler; somehow I get the feeling that their interpretations of 'real love' were not the same. So she tried her 'luck' with others, like Gropius.
Maybe Mahler could foresee this in an earlier stage? Maybe he was already amazed by the fact that this 'most wanted woman in Vienna and widely spread neighbourhood' fell in love with him. Could he really believe it?

Errr .... is this the right forum for this? What am I discussing?
Mahler's music? Rückert's poetry? Music and poetry in my own personal experience? Mahler's personality, or Rückert's, or Alma's, .... or mine?

Should I post this? ;)

Ich leb' allein in meinem Himmel,
In meinem Lieben, in meinem Lied!


Beautiful verses!
Beautiful music!
« Last Edit: May 05, 2007, 02:42:08 AM by Marc »
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Greta

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Re: Mahler Mania, Rebooted
« Reply #64 on: May 05, 2007, 02:56:40 AM »
I enjoy reading your detailed, subjective responses to Mahler. It's great witnessing someone discovering Mahler for the first time. This post, on the Third, was superb, Greta, and expresses closely what I feel about the music.

Thanks for the compliment, Sarge. Deeply appreciated. I'm trying to improve on writing about music, so this means a lot! I usually just write as the music is playing, so it's pretty much stream-of-consciousness rambling. I find I have to hear a work by Mahler at least 5 times to really be able to speak coherently about it! :D

About the M5 Adagietto:
Quote
...So you might not appreciate Lenny here. His reading takes 11:13. Me, I can listen to it played at any tempo but my desert island Adagietto is Herman Scherchen's at 13:07. I prefer it played, not as a simple interlude, quickly done away with, but as a major Mahlerian statement of world-weariness and loss.

Well, I looked at the timings on the 5ths I have so far, and listened to several Adagiettos - and guess what, I do too. Eschenbach comes in at a surprising 12:19. He didn't seem quite as slow as Karajan, but he has almost half a minute on him. Eschenbach does it so beautifully and earnestly, the sense of time is somehow suspended.

Here's a line-up of timings of what I have plus the info from Sarge:

13:07 Scherchen/?
12:19 Eschenbach/Houston
11:53 Karajan/Berlin
11:13 Bernstein/?
11:06 Levi/Atlanta
10:37 Haitink/RCO
10:06 Bertini/Cologne
9:51 Solti/CSO
9:32 Rattle/CBSO

I hadn't gotten through Rattle's M5 yet, but I had to put it on and see how he managed to get out in almost 9 1/2 min. It's lovely actually, played with a lot of earnest feeling, but it's more dramatic and romantic, a bit like a Hollywood film score, it doesn't "hover" at all. He does make his case, milking the recap for all its worth. Though the CBSO doesn't sound as good here as on some of their other recordings.

On the faster side, Bertini works the best for me, I haven't even heard the rest of his M5 yet, but he sees to all the details and it's also incredibly sincere. I like the way he points up the lyrical melodic line.

Though it's in any form a transcendant piece, Haitink worked less well for me, being so cool and pristine. Also Solti had to win me over, as the most romantic, but his forces play like soloists and he's searching and passionate.

I still do prefer mine slow, and would love to hear the Scherchen. Eschenbach and Karajan are about tied for my favs, not just for the Adagietto but favorite M5 all around. Their Adagiettos are really quite similar in interpretation, with Eschenbach less on the loud dynamic and a bit more gossamer.

Since I raved about his M5, here's the links -

http://rapidshare.com/files/27930208/Mahler_Sym_5_Houston_SO_Eschenbach.zip.001
http://rapidshare.com/files/27935524/Mahler_Sym_5_Houston_SO_Eschenbach.zip.002
http://rapidshare.com/files/27937035/Mahler_Sym_5_Houston_SO_Eschenbach.zip.003

Timings:
Trauermarsch 13:32
Sturmisch 26:38
Scherzo 19:44
Adagietto 12:19
Finale 15:16

This isn't a radio broadcast but a private label live recording so the quality is excellent, well mixed with a large dynamic range. I had heard great things about this recording but thought it had disappeared into the netherworld, it's not available anymore.

It was recorded Dec. 7, 1992 from the Musikverein in Vienna when Eschenbach took Houston on a successful European tour. This is a wonderful document of their partnership, it's too bad he didn't record more Mahler while here. His (also live) Houston M1 on Koch made this recommended recordings list.

He's indeed a very fine Mahlerian and this M5 shows that. His phrases are carefully crafted with so much attention to detail, he has a clear idea of where he's going and leaves room to get there.

The playing is very fine, sensitive and precise, I'd say possibly the best Houston ever sounded, the connection with their conductor evident. The sections are properly balanced and each very clear, an attribute that has suffered since he left. He could have stayed here these last ten years and never had the Philly interlude, and, that would have likely been better for everyone all around. ;)

His Sturmisch bewegt, really shines, ultra lyrical and romantic, but never maudlin, tossing and tumbling you with the crest of each musical wave. Propulsively builds to a blazing climax and then slowly brings it down.

The Scherzo is light and frisky with the fugal elements and echoes played up nicely. Only one minor criticism for this M5, and that's the fact that his intensity flags somewhat in the chamber music sections following the mandolin solos.   

But at the heart is his Adagietto, a tender prayer enveloped in a soft haze, clearly he has a deep connection to Mahler's music. For me, his Mahler tells a story. After seeing the "A Wayfarer's Journey" PBS special I wonder if Eschenbach might've been thinking here back to his difficult childhood (orphaned in WWII) and love for his foster mother, I think those experiences perhaps color his Mahler, for the better.

In any case, he has some powerful things to say, if he ever finds the right partner to dance with again. I would love to hear his Philly 6th, now that I'm trying to move on to that symphony, it's looking like a must-purchase now.

I did actually listen to the 6th all the way through again last night, the live Mackerras with the BBC Phil (which was included in a BBC Music magazine I believe). Like you'd expect from Mackerras, it's very good music-making, sparkling, vivacious, wonderfully weird and spiky where needed, the BBCPO is superb. Features an Andante-Scherzo (not my fav but his works, a particularly fine Scherzo) and 3 very impressive hammerblows - he takes 29:24 for the Finale, and places them at 12:24, 16:44, and 26:43 respectively. I really like where he puts the 3rd, you're waiting and expecting it right on the big major chord after the gong, but he waits until after the wandering violin melody and BAM, puts it on that big minor chord crash. Fantastic.

I'm really looking forward to getting into the 6th, I think it's going to be the hardest for me so far. The 6th and 7th are both wild!  :o Okay, /end on the Mahler gush for today. It's crazy, I think I'm at 80% Mahler and 20% everyone else this week for listening. Hopefully this is just a temporary phase. ;) But there's so much Mahler, I'm having a blast...


« Last Edit: May 05, 2007, 06:10:49 AM by Greta »

Drasko

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Re: Mahler Mania, Rebooted
« Reply #65 on: May 05, 2007, 03:53:02 AM »
13:07 Scherchen/?
12:19 Eschenbach/Houston
11:53 Karajan/Berlin
11:13 Bernstein/?
11:06 Levi/Atlanta
10:37 Haitink/RCO
10:06 Bertini/Cologne
9:51 Solti/CSO
9:32 Rattle/CBSO

Walter/NYPO  7:38

Scherchen/Philadelphia 15:12

http://www.andante.com/article/piece.cfm?iConcPieceID=39

http://www.andante.com/article/article.cfm?id=16577&highlight=1&highlightterms=&lstKeywords=

greg

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Re: Mahler Mania, Rebooted
« Reply #66 on: May 05, 2007, 04:01:52 AM »
The Borders on School Street, in terms of the Dover scores they carry, is but a shell of its former self.

Neither the School Street nor the Boylston Street store has this 'un.

And of course, the Boston Music Company is long gone . . . .
yep, sad stuff.......
i've went to some bookstores, like the closest mall to this place where I'm living now, and they don't have one single orchestral score, just guitar music and popular piano music  :(
it's like they don't even acknowledge the existence of the music i like

the Borders from before had a pretty good selection, a couple of rows on a shelf that included The Rite of Spring, The Planets, other decent stuff.

Offline MishaK

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Re: Mahler Mania, Rebooted
« Reply #67 on: May 05, 2007, 04:14:18 AM »
13:07 Scherchen/?
12:19 Eschenbach/Houston
11:53 Karajan/Berlin
11:13 Bernstein/?
11:06 Levi/Atlanta
10:37 Haitink/RCO
10:06 Bertini/Cologne
9:51 Solti/CSO
9:32 Rattle/CBSO

A few more:

Walter/NYPO: 7:43
Solti/CSO 1970: 9:51
Solti/CSO/1990: 9:42
Kubelik/BRSO: 9:44
Abbado/CSO: 11:55
Barenboim/CSO: 9:45
Barshai/JDP: 8:17
Chailly/RCO: 10:16
Kletzki/PO: 9:57

Of course, timings alone don't tell you how convincing the interpretation is.

Greta

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Re: Mahler Mania, Rebooted
« Reply #68 on: May 05, 2007, 04:29:11 AM »
Quote
Walter/NYPO  7:38

Scherchen/Philadelphia 15:12

 :o  Wow at both of those, and Walter is supposed to be a great Mahler interpreter, I'll have to seek him out.

I'd be more inclined to think that a successful 15 min. Adagietto would be tougher to pull off...

Offline zamyrabyrd

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Re: Mahler Mania, Rebooted
« Reply #69 on: May 05, 2007, 04:58:32 AM »

Of course, timings alone don't tell you how convincing the interpretation is.

Add to the list Mehta/NYP 10:50 somewhere in the middle, just right for me. As the obsessive organizer, I put everything in order so far, the last astonishingly twice as fast as the first. Looks like the 9's have it.

Walter/NYPO: 7:43
Barshai/JDP: 8:17
Rattle/CBSO: 9:32
Solti/CSO/1990: 9:42
Barenboim/CSO: 9:45
Kubelik/BRSO: 9:44
Solti/CSO 1970: 9:51
Kletzki/PO: 9:57
Bertini/Cologne: 10:06
Chailly/RCO: 10:16
Haitink/RCO: 10:37
Mehta/NYP 10:50 
Levi/Atlanta: 11:06
Bernstein/?: 11:13
Karajan/Berlin: 11:53
Abbado/CSO: 11:55
Eschenbach/Houston: 12:19
Scherchen/Philadelphia: 15:12

“Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, one by one.”

― Charles MacKay, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds

Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: Mahler Mania, Rebooted
« Reply #70 on: May 05, 2007, 05:21:41 AM »
Add to the list Mehta/NYP 10:50 somewhere in the middle, just right for me. As the obsessive organizer, I put everything in order so far, the last astonishingly twice as fast as the first. Looks like the 9's have it.

I added Maazel, Sinopoli, Neumann, Barbirolli, Levine and noted the Scherchen I have is with the ORTF (this is the infamous Fifth with the major cut in the Scherzo):

Walter/NYPO: 7:43
Barshai/JDP: 8:17
Rattle/CBSO: 9:32
Neumann/Gewand Leipzig: 9:40
Solti/CSO/1990: 9:42
Kubelik/BRSO: 9:44
Barenboim/CSO: 9:45
Solti/CSO 1970: 9:51
Barbirolli/New Philh: 9:52
Kletzki/PO: 9:57
Bertini/Cologne: 10:06
Chailly/RCO: 10:16
Sinopoli/Philh: 10:28
Maazel/Vienna: 10:33
Haitink/RCO: 10:37
Mehta/NYP 10:50 
Levi/Atlanta: 11:06
Bernstein/Vienna: 11:13
Karajan/Berlin: 11:53
Abbado/CSO: 11:55
Levine/Philadelphia: 12:03
Eschenbach/Houston: 12:19
Scherchen/ORTF: 13:07
Scherchen/Philadelphia: 15:12


« Last Edit: May 05, 2007, 05:25:17 AM by Sergeant Rock »
the phone rings and somebody says,
"hey, they made a movie about
Mahler, you ought to go see it.
he was as f*cked-up as you are."
                               --Charles Bukowski, "Mahler"

karlhenning

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Re: Mahler Mania, Rebooted
« Reply #71 on: May 05, 2007, 05:26:17 AM »
Scherchen did that, Sarge?  That surprises me.

Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: Mahler Mania, Rebooted
« Reply #72 on: May 05, 2007, 05:34:37 AM »
Scherchen did that, Sarge?  That surprises me.

I believe it was a case of French radio needing to fit the symphony into a short time slot. Still, I'm shocked he agreed to do it. Consider that the Scherzo is the heart of the symphony and normally lasts longer than any other movement...to whittle it down from 16-18 minutes to five is desecration, pure and simple.

Sarge
the phone rings and somebody says,
"hey, they made a movie about
Mahler, you ought to go see it.
he was as f*cked-up as you are."
                               --Charles Bukowski, "Mahler"

Steve

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Re: Mahler Mania, Rebooted
« Reply #73 on: May 05, 2007, 05:36:22 AM »
My, I didn't realize the Abbado was so slow. Come to think of it, it looks like all of my 5ths are on the bottom of that list.

karlhenning

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Re: Mahler Mania, Rebooted
« Reply #74 on: May 05, 2007, 05:40:24 AM »
I believe it was a case of French radio needing to fit the symphony into a short time slot. Still, I'm shocked he agreed to do it. Consider that the Scherzo is the heart of the symphony and normally lasts longer than any other movement...to whittle it down from 16-18 minutes to five is desecration, pure and simple.

Desecration? Arrant butchery!  (And I say this in defense of Mahler!)

Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: Mahler Mania, Rebooted
« Reply #75 on: May 05, 2007, 05:45:44 AM »
Desecration? Arrant butchery!  (And I say this in defense of Mahler!)

I understand. Composers must stick together to fend off the philistines and barbarians!

Sarge
the phone rings and somebody says,
"hey, they made a movie about
Mahler, you ought to go see it.
he was as f*cked-up as you are."
                               --Charles Bukowski, "Mahler"

Drasko

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Re: Mahler Mania, Rebooted
« Reply #76 on: May 05, 2007, 05:45:56 AM »
I believe it was a case of French radio needing to fit the symphony into a short time slot. Still, I'm shocked he agreed to do it. Consider that the Scherzo is the heart of the symphony and normally lasts longer than any other movement...to whittle it down from 16-18 minutes to five is desecration, pure and simple.

Sarge

He did the same in Philadelphia, I believe to fit under hour radio slot. His commercial recording is uncut (and has, perhaps surprisingly, 9:15 Adagietto)

http://www.tagtuner.com/music/albums/Hermann-Scherchen,-VSOO/Mahler-5/album-v21ca327  

Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: Mahler Mania, Rebooted
« Reply #77 on: May 05, 2007, 05:56:20 AM »
My, I didn't realize the Abbado was so slow. Come to think of it, it looks like all of my 5ths are on the bottom of that list.

You should consider adding Barshai to your collection of Fifths then. It's a first choice for many and has several things going for it: a swift Adagietto that Mahler would have approved; an intense, and intensely slow Scherzo (18:29), giving it proper weight and pride of place in this symphony; and played by a group of young people just bursting with energy and obviously dedicated to both Mahler and Barshai. It just misses my top rating because he underplays (to my ears) the chorale apotheosis in the second and last movements. I really want to hear a conductor pull in the reins here, stretch it out almost to the breaking point. Karajan, and surprisingly Neumann, give me what I want.

Sarge
« Last Edit: May 05, 2007, 05:57:51 AM by Sergeant Rock »
the phone rings and somebody says,
"hey, they made a movie about
Mahler, you ought to go see it.
he was as f*cked-up as you are."
                               --Charles Bukowski, "Mahler"

Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: Mahler Mania, Rebooted
« Reply #78 on: May 05, 2007, 06:00:26 AM »
He did the same in Philadelphia, I believe to fit under hour radio slot. His commercial recording is uncut (and has, perhaps surprisingly, 9:15 Adagietto)

That is odd. Have you heard any explanation why he'd be so slow in Philly and Paris, but so fast in Vienna?

Sarge
the phone rings and somebody says,
"hey, they made a movie about
Mahler, you ought to go see it.
he was as f*cked-up as you are."
                               --Charles Bukowski, "Mahler"

Steve

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Re: Mahler Mania, Rebooted
« Reply #79 on: May 05, 2007, 06:01:37 AM »
That is odd. Have you heard any explanation why he'd be so slow in Philly and Paris, but so fast in Vienna?

Sarge

I smell a quandry!  ;D