The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music news: Mahler turns 150 and a new Mahler website — with a People’s Edition — has been launched by Deutsche Grammophon and Decca records

July 13, 2010
6 Comments

By Jacob Stockinger

Attention, all Mahlerites!

Or is it Mahlerians?

This past Wednesday, July 7, was the 150th anniversary of the birth of composer Gustav Mahler (below). (And 2011 will see the 100 the anniversary of his death.)

Two big record labels – Deutsche Grammophon and Decca – have come up with what The Ear thinks is a great idea for marking and marketing the event.

In addition to regular new releases and reissues plus a special Mahler website, they are setting up a “People’s Edition” that invites ordinary listeners to design an appropriate anniversary edition of the classical giant.

Here is the “original text” – that is, the press release:

(New York, NY) July 7, 2010 – During this Mahler anniversary year Deutsche Grammophon and Decca lead the way by honoring the revolutionary composer with Mahler 150.

Certainly one of the most influential composers of symphonies and song-cycles, Mahler will be feted with a website that encourages exploration of his works, a “People’s Edition” (below) selected and programmed by listeners, and an impressive line-up of new releases and rare re-issues.

Today is the 150th anniversary of Mahler’s birth and the composer will be celebrated with numerous live concerts (including a recital with Thomas Hampson in Mahler’s birth-house in Kaliste, Czech Republic which will be web-cast live on htttp://www.medici.tv).

Deutsche Grammophon and Decca join the celebration by launching a new website devoted to the richest catalog of Mahler recordings in existence as well as beginning a number of long reaching initiatives.

The Mahler 150 website, http://www.mahler150.com, is devoted to the composer and his music and will offer full-track streaming of the complete Deutsche Grammophon and Decca Mahler catalogs – featuring some 180 symphony recordings – with integrated shop links for instant purchase on CD or download.  (Full-track streaming will be available for all titles next week, though most are available now).

Additionally, there will be a comprehensive out-of-print section of over 60 recordings, including important recordings that have become virtually unobtainable and legendary performances from the archives that are being made available for the first time in digital form via the DG Web Shop.  (No purchase is necessary to enjoy the free streaming and to participate in the voting).

“Mahler – The People’s Edition” invites music lovers to compile and vote online for their own dream cycle by taking advantage of our full-track streaming to compare any or all of the combined Deutsche Grammophon and Decca 180 recordings of Mahler symphonies.

The “winning” complete set will be released as a CD box-set this fall.

A host of major new releases will also accompany the celebrations, including Pierre Boulez’s new Cleveland Orchestra recording of “Des Knaben Wunderhorn” with mezzo Magdalena Kožená and baritone Christian Gerhaher; a new recording of Thomas Hampson performing “Des Knaben Wunderhorn” as well scheduled for January 2011; and the Mahler Complete Edition (below) on 18 CDs (already available) featuring classic recordings by Claudio Abbado, Leonard Bernstein, Pierre Boulez, Riccardo Chailly, Carlo Maria Giulini, Bernard Haitink, Herbert von Karajan, Rafael Kubelik, Zubin Mehta, Seiji Ozawa, Giuseppe Sinopoli and Sir Georg Solti.

Mahler himself famously proclaimed: “A symphony must be like the world. It must contain everything.”

Inspired by that challenge, Mahler 150 will embrace his vast musical world in a multi-dimensional format certain to engross Mahler lovers everywhere as well as create new admirers for this endlessly fascinating composer.

His time is now!”

What do you think of the idea of a People’s Edition?

Do you intend to contribute to it?

Do you have a favorite Mahler symphony or work and a favorite performance of it?

The Ear to hear.


Posted in Classical music

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