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Dudamel's Mahler 7 is Forbes - CD Of The Week

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The Seventh is Mahler's trickiest Symphony in almost every way. Baffling banalities next to arduous intricacies, questions of irony or naïveté, and turn-on-a-dime changes of mood. The rustic alpine sits next to an irregular waltz played like a Viennese Heurigen-orchestra that has collectively gone insane, sits next to Romeo and Juliet's balcony in an overtly Italianate movement. The end is glorious-or-is-it-? splendor in Meistersingerish C-major.

Some of the most established Mahler-orchestras and conductors have floundered, so why should the Simón Bolivar (non-youth) Orchestra succeed, even under Gustavo Dudamel? At the 2013 Salzburg Festival they certainly didn't flounder – despite or because Dudamel's tendency towards the superficial, which in any case appears to be an approach that works well in a work that tends to react skittishly to over-interpretation or ironic distance. (On this topic see also the Gustav Mahler mini-biography I wrote for Steinway's musician portraits or the ionarts review of Yannick Nezét-Séguin's performance at the Leipzig Mahler Festival in 2011)

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