Zum Konzert am 26. Oktober 1960 in London

The Daily Telegraph, 28. Oktober 1960


Centenaries can be empty tokens, but Mahler’s has not been celebrated in vain when an audience can now be interested enough to fill the Festival Hall and react with the greatest enthusiasm to the first of the Philharmonia’s pair of Mahler concerts.

I much doubt if this would have been possible a year ago.

Chronologically, the programme was back to front; and indeed, despite the scale of the first symphony that made it the natural choice for the second half, the Rückert songs and the 10th symphony’s Adagio would have made a more powerful ending.

Moreover, it is this work that takes the language of the first symphony and without breaking the idiom shows how it can adapt itself to concepts not yet expressed in music. It is, since Mahler invites paradox, prophetic nostalgia.

That silence should follow it, rather than the not so dissimilar world of the Rückert setting "Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen," would have been an added poignancy. But Fischer-Dieskau’s singing of this and of two more of the wonderful Rückert settings was memorable in its depth of understanding.

It is to this aspect of Mahler’s many-sidedness that Jascha Horenstein instinctively responds.

John Warrack

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