Gustav Mahler:
Origins and Legacy

Part 1: Origins (National premiere June 23, 2011 at 9pm)
(check your local listings)

From the sounds outside his bedroom window—a kind of sonic goulash of military marches, ethnic dance bands, church bells, ritual prayer, and nature itself—Gustav Mahler fashioned symphonies of cosmic scale, great beauty, and jarring emotional twists and turns. And he did it all in the brief moments he could spare from his day job as one of Europe’s preeminent conductors. Join Michael Tilson Thomas as he returns to the provincial Austro-Hungarian city of Mahler’s childhood, traces his musical roots, his rise as a young conductor, and, with the help of the San Francisco Symphony, escorts us through the stunning creation and shocking premiere of Mahler’s First Symphony.

Production Credits

Symphony No. 1 in Concert (National premiere June 23, 2011 at 10pm)
(check your local listings)

Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony perform Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 1, “Titan” to give viewers the full experience however our audiences having watched the documentary will be far better prepared than the Budapest audience of 1888. The “live on tape” performance was part of the SFS’s Mahler09 Festival which took place in Davies Symphony Hall in September and October of 2009.

Production Credits

Part 2: Legacy (National premiere June 30, 2011 at 9pm)
(check your local listings)

In an astonishingly productive twenty-five years, Gustav Mahler created an entire universe of emotion in music. In his 45 songs and ten symphonies, he looks into the depths of the human soul, explores the fragile nature of beauty, and tells us to hold on to wonder in spite of life’s sorrow. In this episode of Keeping Score, Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony bear witness to Mahler’s grand achievements and great sorrows—his career-crowning appointments in Vienna and New York, and the sudden, tragic death of his daughter—and show how his stormy inner life inspired new heights of creativity.

Production Credits

 A Mahler Journey (National premiere June 30, 2011 at 10pm)
(check your local listings)

This concert includes the pivotal repertoire explored in Part 2: Mahler: Legacy. Featuring world renowned Baritone Thomas Hampson, a noted interpreter of Mahler’s songs, performing Songs of a Wayfarer, the program also includes his famous and poignant love song, Adagietto from Symphony No. 5, the Scherzo from Mahler's Seventh Symphony and the Rondo Burleske from the Ninth. These highlights of San Francisco Symphony’s 2009 Mahler Festival: Origins and Legacies featured some of Mahler’s most accessible music. Taped over four consecutive nights in September 2009, Michael Tilson Thomas offers insight into the man and the inspiration for his compositions.

Production Credits

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AIR-DATE
Thursday, June 23, 2011 at 9pm
TAGS
Mahler, Vienna
  		    

Comments

Anonymous (not verified)
April 11, 2011

Is there a possibility this could also be streamed online.

Dave (not verified)
April 15, 2011
I just watched this episode on KQED HD with the audio piped through my stereo system. My stereo system does not use Automatic Gain Control. I think you should go through this episode and redo the most of the mix. If you set the volume so that MTT and others speaking are at an appropriate volume, easy to hear but not booming, then most of the orchestra selections, especially the ff sections, are about 6db too soft. Later in the program there are orchestra selections where the music is not ff or even f, but the orchestra is too loud relative to the speaking sections. Also when MTT plays the piano, the piano is a bit too loud. As a whole the levels of orchestra, narration, and piano are very inconsistent. The other way to say this is that if you adjust the volume so that the full orchestra sections sound right, in other words, not suppressed, then the narration and piano selections and some of the later mf orchestra sections are too loud. I don't recall noticing these problems with previous episodes. Thanks for this wonderful series!
Dave (not verified)
April 15, 2011

About the second program, the complete Mahler 1st.

There were terrible audio level problems at the beginning. Then it became obvious that either someone is riding the volume control or you have heavy compressor/limiter action going on. As the music gets stronger, you dial it back, so it's suppressed. At 7 minutes in when the music dies down to high strings, harp and flute, the volume floods in making this very soft passage maybe 20db or more too loud.

This is the kind of nonsense we used to have to live with in the 50s and 60s before there was digital. This is no way to present classical music, especially Mahler. There is no reason the audio on the HD broadcast should be inferior to your wonderful CDs.

I am sorely disappointed. A friend and Mahler fan who was watching over the air with a conventional TV hated it also.

Please fix this! I can't believe that MTT knows this is how it sounded on our TVs at home.

BTW, the audio sample on the web site is tinny and not in stereo.

echeng
April 20, 2011

Yes, the Symphony is working on releasing these programs online. You can view the first concert online now, and the second concert will be available starting Friday April 22.

To view this and past episodes go to: http://video.pbs.org/program/1295137935/

The documentary episodes will be released in June after national broadcast.

- SF Symphony / Keeping Score

echeng
April 20, 2011

Dear Dave,

Thank you for your passion and interest in these programs. We are working on the audio issues, as we have also informed you privately.

Best regards,

San Francisco Symphony

Jay (not verified)
April 20, 2011

Not since Leonard Bernstein has Gustav Mahler's music — the power and complexity of its composition; the authenticity of its sorrow and elation; its heartfelt pain and immeasurable beauty — been so confidently and empathically impersonated in presentation than through the brilliance of Michael Tilson Thomas. I look forward to Part 2: Legacy on KQED tomorrow evening and especially next month to the SFS performance of what many musicians and scholars alike agree is Mahler's most personal work (and one of music’s greatest achievements), Symphony No. 9 in D major, one of a very small number of works from any age or culture that merit total silence from the audience upon completion of a performance. I attended two presentations in the same week of MTT’s Mahler No. 9 a couple of years ago, and I anticipate another transcendent experience to come. As one YouTube reviewer perfectly described a segment halfway through the 4th movement ("Adagio: Sehr langsam und noch zurückhaltend") with Bernstein leading the Vienna Philharmonic: “… a moment of writhing passion in its extreme paroxysm physically tears the listener into pieces.” Many thanks to each of you… MTT, the musicians of the SFS and, most of all, Gustav Mahler… for making your life’s greatest work our life’s greatest joy.

Bruce Steir (not verified)
April 28, 2011

Keeping Score was so beautiful that I can not find the words to describe how meserized I was by the music, photography,history,naration and editing. As a long time patron of the San Francisco Symphony, I am pleased that this wondereful program will reach a national audience.

Lorel Kapke (not verified)
April 28, 2011

Thanks for sharing the link to your past episodes of the SF Symphony / Keeping Score.

Eric Jones (not verified)
May 23, 2011

Check your PBS listing for June 23 and June 30th...

Lisa (not verified)
June 20, 2011

A few weeks ago, The Washington Post in WDC printed that the television series about classical composers "Keeping Score" will be showing two documentaries "Origins" and "Legacy" on June 23rd and June 30th. It further states, "On WETA, check local listings for exact times."

Well, I checked and NOTHING for 6/23 on WETA is showing this program. Can you help please? During Mahler month this past May on WETA classical station, I listened and fell in love with Mahler's music and very much want to watch this program. But it will not show this Thursday in WDC!!

Keeping Score (not verified)
June 23, 2011

Hi Lisa,

WETA will show Part 1 "Origins" on Tuesday 6/28 at 10pm, and Symphony No. 1 on Wednesday 6/29 at 4pm. Then "Legacy" and "A Mahler Journey" will air on Thursday 6/30 from 9-11pm.

Hope that helps!

Keeping Score

Sima M Schwartz (not verified)
June 24, 2011

Thanks a lot to San Francisco Symphony and a conductor Michael Tilson Thomas for a great presentation of Gustav Mahler's spirit & music!!!
I watched TV Keeping Score on June the 23rd 2011 with non stopping desire to see and hear more about G. Mahler's deep, same time simple and complicated beautiful composition of the 1st Simphony.
This Origins and Legacy program should be available to school age audiences to understand classical music approach of sound, nature and human spirit!
Congratulations,
Sima Schwartz

Melissa Moon (not verified)
June 24, 2011

Bruno Walter, Lenny, now MTT ... Great interpreters of Mahler's music. Thank you so much for posting info about this on FB, or I would not have known. I just listened to both Origins and the entire Sym. #1 shows with tears, joy, and delight. I have been a Mahler devotee all my life. In my view, there is no other composer who explores and demonstrates the depths, heights, and indominable, inextinguishable power of the human spirit than Mahler.

Jim B (not verified)
June 25, 2011

I stayed up an hour past my usual bedtime to listen to this fine performance, and it was SO worth it. I had to stand up for the last movement to stay awake (I wake at 4:45 a.m.), but then I just felt like one of the horn players! You have done a fine job bringing this to a national audience. Congratulations!

David V (not verified)
July 1, 2011

I check my email several times per day on Yahoo and have been a fan of past Keeping Score programs. Today, July 1st, was the first time I saw your banner ad for the Mahler specials. It is the only internet advert I have ever clicked through, and now I see that I have already missed these broadcasts. I suggest the SF Symphony look into how their account was handled by Yahoo.

HW (not verified)
July 1, 2011
I cannot thank you enough for the wonderful series on Mahler! What a great exposé on his life, with terrific examples of his music, precisely 100 years after his untimely death. Although I am not a musician, discovering Mahler was truly life-changing for me, beginning in 1971, when as a 19 year old (with considerable existential angst), I attended a concert of his 1st Symphony in London, where Bernard Haitink conducted the London Philharmonic. The following couple decades of my life, I was immersed in Mahler, and I was very fortunate to regularly attend Mahler concerts in my area, including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sir George Solti. It has been many years since those early days and, while I do not have the ear of a musician, Mahler’s music remains indelibly imprinted on my being. I will be forever grateful for all of those highly charged emotional journeys through the inner and outer cosmos, especially when I was struggling so intensely with the meaning of existence and the purpose of my own life. Each movement of Mahler's symphonies has enraptured me, but early on, the Scherzo in Mahler's 5th struck me particularly. I thought it was an extraordinary demonstration of man's tumultuous struggle with intense pleasure and utter despair, especially the horn’s anguishing cries, and with joy the exuberant victor that ultimately enables the celebration of life and a fervent ability to endure it, in all its beauty, in the Adagietto. I discovered Rilke not long after finding Mahler, and Rilke's writing similarly transformed me during that time. Since they were from the same era and location, sometimes, I've often wondered if Rilke's descriptions of music were in reference to any personal experiences he may have had with Mahler's music, such as when he wrote, in 1910, "I, who even as a child had been so distrustful of music (not because it lifted me out of myself more violently than anything else, but because I had noticed that it never dropped me again where it had found me, but lower down, somewhere deep in the unfinished), I endured this music, on which one could ascend upright, higher and higher, until one imagined that, for a while this must just about have been heaven." A huge Bravo to Michael Tilson Thomas, for commemorating Mahler with such terrific examples of his music and perceptive insights into his soul! And an enormous thank you to Mahler himself, for touching and revealing the human condition at its very core!
Anonymous (not verified)
July 20, 2011

Mahler is one of my personal favourites.

@Lisa - thanks for the recommendation, I'll check it for sure.

Donald Harper (not verified)
August 23, 2011

Later in the program there are orchestra selections where the music is not ff or even f, but the orchestra is too loud relative to the speaking sections. Also when MTT plays the piano, the piano is a bit too loud. As a whole the levels of orchestra, narration, and piano are very inconsistent. The other way to say this is that if you adjust the volume so that the full orchestra sections sound right, in other words, not suppressed, then the narration and piano selections and some of the later mf orchestra sections are too loud. I don't recall noticing these problems with previous episodes. Today, July 1st, was the first time I saw your banner ad for the Mahler specials. It is the only internet advert I have ever clicked through, and now I see that I have already missed these broadcasts. I suggest the SF Symphony look into how their account was handled by Yahoo.

Benedita Barttels Antonio (not verified)
September 10, 2011

He is one of the greatest artists, I love his music

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