Bass Blog

Michael Hovnanian formerly played bass with an orchestra located in a large midwestern city.

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Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Unanswered Questions

The “I hate Mahler 1” post generated quite a few comments and questions.

The Neruda Songs were sung by Kelley O’Connor, mezzo-soprano. Sorry, her name didn’t make it into the post.

Some hapless bassist probably concocted the description of the Mahler 1 solo as unplayable. Maybe the words ‘by me’ were dropped at some point. As his close relationship with Bottesini is well documented, Mahler obviously had an idea what the bass was capable of playing.

Even if Mahler 1 is a masterpiece, I can’t bring myself to enjoy it. It’s not Mahler (or Haitink’s) fault the piece is way over programmed. I’m a big fan of what Haitink does with Mahler, in particular the way he is able to keep vulgarity from creeping into passages where it has no business.

BTW, Haitink has always reminded me more of Nikita Khrushchev.


nocynic said...

Yeah, but did Haitink ever pound the table with his shoe?

Michael Hovnanian said...

Imagine that, with a wooden shoe...

Geo. said...

I was at the Saturday evening performance, and I agree with the assessment that Haitink completely removes any sense of vulgarity from the work. I sort of half-agreed with the one critic in your burg (the one with the 3-part name) about the relatively spacious pace of the work, and at times where it seemed that the tension seemed to sap a touch. But Haitink knew what he wanted and got it, and even managed to keep your unnamed-band's (in)famous brass section somewhat in check. Also noteworthy is that he did not have the horns stand during the finale's coda. It was also a droll moment when Haitink closed the score on the 4th curtain call and walked off stage with it.