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Leonard Bernstein’s Complete Mahler Symphony Cycle Now on Carnegie Hall+

Posted July 29, 2023

Leonard Bernstein’s Complete Mahler Symphony Cycle Now on Carnegie Hall+

Across nine massive works and an incomplete tenth, Gustav Mahler created one of the most enduringly powerful symphony cycles in all of music. Full of iconic moments, larger-than-life stories, and musical innovations, this body of work offers enough emotion and substance to enjoy and study for a lifetime. Some of music’s greatest luminaries have done just that—including Leonard Bernstein, who made history as the first conductor to record a full Mahler symphony cycle, not only on audio recordings, but also video.

As of this month, music lovers can now watch Bernstein’s complete symphony cycle on Carnegie Hall+, the premium subscription video-on-demand channel created through a partnership between Carnegie Hall and Unitel, the world’s leading classical music audiovisual producer and distributor.

The Mahler cycle was the first project taken on in the more than 20-year-long association between Bernstein and Unitel. The leading Mahler interpreter of our time, Bernstein filmed all nine of Mahler's complete symphonies, plus the Adagio from the composer’s never-completed Tenth Symphony, between 1971 and 1985, chiefly with the Vienna Philharmonic. The project created a sweeping record of these landmark performances which inspired a major re-appreciation of Mahler's works amongst audiences. One installment—Mahler’s Symphony No, 2, “Resurrection”—was recorded with the London Symphony Orchestra with soprano Sheila Armstrong , mezzo-soprano Janet Baker, and the Edinburgh Festival Chorus. Performed in London’s Ely Cathedral, it was captured in 1973 by Sir Humphrey Burton who directed all ten films in the featured cycle.

Thanks to a special initiative with NHK in Japan, select programs in the series—including symphonies nos. 1, 2, and 5—have recently been fully re-mastered from their 35mm film format to high definition. Carnegie Hall+ is the only streaming platform on which these transformed presentations are now available for viewing in 4K and new state-of-the-art sound.

A viewing guide on Carnegie Hall’s website details Mahler’s symphonies with video excerpts of the complete Bernstein cycle.

Alongside the symphonies, Carnegie Hall+ programming also currently includes The Little Drummer Boy: Bernstein on Mahler, the acclaimed 1984 BBC documentary about Bernstein’s experiences conducting Mahler masterworks, also directed by Burton.

These programs are part of the extensive collection of programming on Carnegie Hall+ featuring Bernstein as conductor, composer, and pianist with new selections planned to be added in coming months.


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