May 17th, 2014

briar

Bim-bam, Mahler calling!


Bernard Haitink's Mahler 3rd with the Philharmonic is a little on the slow side in the early movements: Summer Marches In, but isn't in a rush about it. It's not a bad sort of slow, just a bit broader than usual. It emphasizes the episodic nature of the first movement especially, but Haitink manages this without completely abandoning the structural lines. It's mostly quite genial, a fairly non-martial sort of march. This is Haitink's second subscription week, and the orchestra is playing superbly for him. And of course he and they are old hands at this music.

I was less happy with the sound. We exchanged from last night when Amy couldn't go, to the back of the third tier, where we could see the whole orchestra (the basses and brass are often out of sight from our regular seats) but not hear them. I'm not sure if it's distance, the slight overhang there, or just one of Avery Fisher's many odd pockets of suck, but most of the low frequencies and very quiet sounds don't get there. So it all sounded a bit short in heft and energy, though I don't believe it actually was. And the Friday night audience, as usual, reminded me why I avoid them.