Friday, June 02, 2006

Mahler 5: inviting the unspeakable

Very few pieces demand so much from an orchestra, both technically and emotionally, as Mahler's Fifth Symphony. During our final dress rehearsal yesterday afternoon, Maestro Emmanuel Villaume was especially attentive to the emotional demands. "To create this music's essence, you must feel free to be mad, traumatized, exhilarated, mean, melancholy, terrified, schizophrenic, delirious, hysterical, manic, heartbroken, sardonic, exultant...." He listed a dozen other extreme emotions and psychological conditions, some of which I had never heard before. That was his point, though - he was asking us to pour feelings into the piece that no one has yet named (or diagnosed). It's very rare that your boss asks you to be hysterical, but in this case we were happy to do our best.

The concert was a triumph, at least according to Lindsay Koob of the Charleston City Paper. Mr. Koob left the concert feeling "reamed out" by "one of the bumpiest, most exalted musical rides of our lives." Thanks, Mr. Koob, we aim to please - and to ream!

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