What Vladimir Tells Me

Fresh from a very overwhelming performance of Mahler’s Third Symphony last night – the opening of the London Philharmonic’s new season, conducted by Vladimir Jurowski in his first performance of this mighty and rather crazy piece, here’s my interview with the maestro from this week’s JC, looking at the issue of Mahler’s Jewishness, Vladimir’s, and the way the one has affected the other.

The symphony’s later movements refer to ‘what the flowers tell me’, etc; so here is what Vladimir tells me specifically about the work.

“It was one of the first Mahler symphonies I got to know. I remember I was immediately seized by the sheer natural force of its expression and the incredible breadth of the emotions it induces. It is the happiest of Mahler’s symphonies, a moment in which man feels completely at home in this world. He doesn’t feel any need to escape: the world is good enough, and it is deep and inexplicable enough to spend one’s lifetime living in it, enjoying it and being forever stunned by its multifaceted nature.”

Stunned was the word. Still reeling after the event… Here is Ed Seckerson’s review from The Independent, which says it all.

UPDATE: Reeling too from the very sad news that the composer Geoffrey Burgon has died, aged 69. He was especially noted for his film music, which extended to Brideshead Revisited and Monty Python’s Life of Brian, but I well remember his excellent piano concerto, which I once went all the way to Singapore to cover.

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