Mahler, R. Strauss

Vienna’s second major concert hall, the Konzerthaus, has booked surprisingly little of interest recently. I do not even remember when I last attended a concert there. Considering that it celebrates the 100th year of its construction this season, I would expect more, but the 200th anniversary of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde, based over in the Musikverein, has overshadowed this one.

Still, I did get there for a concert tonight, with the Symphoniker in its usual form, joined by baritone Christopher Maltman and conductor Marc Albrecht, for a surprisingly short program. Mahler’s Kindertotenlieder opened before an intermission, and StraussAlpensymphonie came after the intermission.

For the Mahler cycle, Maltman (a British biochemist) performed in a dark, clean, but unexpressive baritone, allowing the emotion to come not from his interpretation but rather from the orchestra. Though proper, it did not produce sufficient psychological torment.

The Alpensymphonie allowed this orchestra to shine. Despite the enormous orchestra required for the work, Albrecht still knew how to accentuate individual lines. Though not the thrilling climb through the Alps that this work can orchestrate, this performance nevertheless demonstrated a good fulfilling stroll. Given the weather outside, I kept my hiking boots on.

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