Steven Winn, arts journalist and critic, will be co-moderating our live events in San Francisco. In this post, he explores the nature of this under-taking and summarizes the American Orchestra Forum’s ultimate goal. “It’s not settled answers we’re after, but questions, even unsettling ones, that lead to more inquiry, conversation and curiosity. And then lead us back, when the talking ends, to the music.”
Any performance of Mahler’s Symphony No. 3 is a major communal undertaking. Ninety-five minutes of music (with no intermission), ranging from the raucous to the sublime, that requires a massive orchestral ensemble, a women’s chorus, a girl’s chorus and a vocal soloist. Not to mention an audience willing and ready to come along for the long and twisting ride. It may take a village to raise a child, but you need good-sized city to pull off Mahler’s Third and make it work.
I happened to sit a whole closer to the stage than I normally do on Sept. 21, when Michael Tilson Thomas conducted the San Francisco Symphony’s first Mahler 3 in nine years. From my fifth row orchestra seat the marvel of all those musicians (and listeners) pulling together seemed more marvelous – and unlikely – than ever. Things that meld, aurally and visually from a distance, are riskier, more combustive and febrile up close. (more…)