Features

Bernstein's complete Mahler symphonies with the New York Philharmonic
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Mahler's Symphony of a Thousand

Mahler’s Eighth Symphony is the calling-card for all orchestras with ambition: but which ones should you welcome in, asks Ken Smith.( Originally published in Gramophone, December 2008.) As soon as I got the invitation I immediately called my wife to tell her why I’d be gone for the rest of the week. 'The Macau International Music Festival just asked me to sing in the chorus of Mahler’s Eighth,' I explained. 'Seems they did a head-count the other night and came up with only nine hundred and ninety-nine.'

‘The Incident in Teplitz’ (Tully Potter Collection)
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A meeting of genius: Beethoven and Goethe, July 1812

‘How patient the great man was with me!...How happy he made me then! I would have gone to death, yes, ten times to death for Goethe,’ Beethoven told the writer and critic Friedrich Rochlitz in 1822. ‘Then, when I was in the height of my enthusiasm, I thought out my Egmont music. Goethe – he lives and wants us all to live with him. It is for that reason that he can be composed.’

Rafael Kubelík's recording of Dvořák Symphonies Nos 8 and 9
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Have you got enough Kubelík in your collection?

Dvořák Symphonies Nos 8 & 9, ‘From the New World’ Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra / Rafael Kubelík DG 447 4122GOR (78' · ADD · Recorded 1972) Buy from Amazon

Sir Simon Rattle's recording of Mahler's Ninth Symphony
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Mahler's Ninth - A Centenary Celebration

Essential Recordings Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra / Herbert von Karajan – DG Double 453 0402GTA2 (132' · ADD · Recorded 1979-80) Buy from Amazon

Fritz Reiner Conducts Strauss
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The Forgotten Great Conductors

They dominated the record catalogues of the 1950s and 1960s. Orchestras trembled at their every irate, intemperate word and record company executives scuttled to do their bidding. When the CD arrived, their recordings were again released in swathes. And then, like the dinosaurs, they suddenly disappeared.

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John Ireland

In 1906 John Ireland (1879-1962) picked up a book by the Welsh writer Arthur Machen on Penrith station – it was a defining moment. Machen (1863-1947) came to the fore with his supernatural fantasy and horror stories that began to appear at the time of the decadent movement in the 1890s. His work has been periodically republished, admired by other writers, and there is now a Friends of Arthur Machen society.

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