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"Magnificent Mahler": Review of Czech Philharmonic's Take on Mahler

The New Criterion reviews the Czech Philharmonic's interpretation of Mahler in Carnegie Hall.



"Mahler the Magnificient"

October 29, 2018

by Jay Nordlinger

Years ago, a musician friend of mine gave an interview on Czech radio. He mentioned the Big Three among Czech composers: Dvorak, Smetana, and Janacek. The interviewer was nonplussed. “There are four,” he said.

Now it was my friend’s turn to be nonplussed. Who was the fourth? “Mahler,” said the interviewer, as though it were the most obvious thing in the world.

Ideas of national, racial, and ethnic identity can be fascinating. (Gustav Mahler was born in Bohemia, quite true. His family belonged to a Jewish, German-speaking minority. By the time he was fifteen, Gustav was studying in Vienna, where he would become a pillar of the cultural and artistic establishment.)

Yesterday afternoon, the Czech Philharmonic played Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, “Resurrection,” in Carnegie Hall. The orchestra, like the country itself, is marking the hundredth anniversary of Czech independence.

Find the full review HERE