Some Guy irately complained about my irrelevant, sophomoric, and esoteric “non-review” of last night’s performance of Mahler 6, and requested — nay, demanded — that I write a “real” review. To this reproach I can only say “Touche.” So, here is my Official Review, translated into Standard Written Criticalese:
MAESTRO Haitink led a LUCIDLY INFORMED READING of the Mahler Sixth Symphony last night at Symphony Center. IT WAS WORTH THE WAIT, as the ERSTWHILE Concertgebouew leader AMPLY DEMONSTRATED. Classical RESTRAINT was combined with romantic ELAN in a performance that combined URGENCY with METICULOUS PRECISION. KUDOS to the fine playing of Concertmaster Chen, principal horn Clevenger and especially to that finest of trombonists, Jay Friedman. But if I take my hat off to them, I put it back on again when I consider the antics of that percussionist who kept walking on and off the stage. We go to the concerts to see the music as well as hear it, you know!
The tempi were SPACIOUS, but not OVER-BROAD, while the articulations ADMIRABLY combined FINESSE and a sense of stylistic APPOSITENESS with a POWER that NEVER SEEMED FORCED. VELVETY LEGATO GAVE WAY WHEN NECESSARY TO BRUTAL FORCE, and the extreme emotional states evoked by this TRAGIC LANDMARK [Actually this is only too true. -JG] CONFRONTED the listener WITH A SENSE OF HIS OWN MORTALITY. [True, again. -JG]
Anyway, this is the way criticism oughtta be written, pal. And to my irate interlocutor, may I pose the immortal question first posed by the eminent critic Carl Showalter from the movie Fargo: “Happy now, A———?”
Here are some favorite Mahler 6 recordings.