Simon Rattle on Gustav Mahler

Do you remember when you heard the music of Gustav Mahler for the first time?

I am not sure. I grew up in Liverpool when they were doing what was actually the first European Mahler-cycle with the same orchestra and conductor. It’s extraordinary to think of that – this was the middle of the ‘60s. But no-one in Europe had played all the symphonies with the same conductor at this time. It had only been done in Utah, by the Utah Symphony Orchestra. And look – one forgets how off-centre Mahler was at this time, before Bernstein, before etc. etc. Berthold Goldschmidt had only just performed the Mahler Third for the first time in Britain; that was in 1962. I have still a magnificent tape of that. So, Sir Charles Groves and the Liverpool Philharmonic, they did two a year for five and a half years, because they also did Das Lied von der Erde, they also did the early version of the completed Tenth. And I can remember, because I was studying: violin with one player in the orchestra, percussion with another, and they said: “Ah! We’re on our twice-yearly struggle with Mahler”.

Read the full interview here.

UE Mahler Interviews: Simon Rattle from Universal Edition on Vimeo.

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