August 12, 2015 Tanglewood concert review by Dave Read
The culmination of the Tanglewood Music Center’s 75th anniversary celebration was the Aug. 8, 2015 performance of Mahler’s Eighth Symphony, the Symphony of a Thousand, with BSO music director Andris Nelsons conducting 363 musicians, including the TMC Fellows, the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, eight leading vocal soloists, the Boston University Tanglewood Institute Chorus, the American Boychoir, and members of the BSO. Not only was this concert an impressive spectacle, but it was as thrilling a musical experience as one could imagine.
Latin hymn combined with Goethe’s Faust
The composition is in two parts: the 8th century hymn for the Christian feast of Pentacost, Veni, creator spiritus, and the final scene from Goethe’s Faust, which itself covers three millenia of history. Mahler found the connection for that improbable coupling in the third stanza of the hymn, “Accende humen sensibus,/Infunde amorem cordibus!” (“Illuminate our senses,/Pour love into our hearts!”) Judging by the response of the audience in the Shed and accross the Lawn, that invocation was achieved – everybody smiled broadly, standing for wave after wave of applause.
For a brief video of this performance, visit streambso.org, where you’ll see that Mahler’s 8th opens loud and bright, organ and choir invoking a church-like setting. But however universal every doctrine claims its scope, this performance of Mahler’s 8th would bear no doctrinal delimitation; this celebration was no church-going event! Mahler’s treatment of Goethe’s text is practically a sampler of musical styles and ideas, leading to the final chorus. The journey is spellbinding, building naturally to a close, nothing forced, no straining, the accumulation of one beautiful sound after another until your senses – and your soul, have been thouroughly engaged and satisfied.
- Boston Symphony orchestra – Aug. 8, 2015 program
- Koussevitsky Music Shed, Tanglewood
- Andris Nelsons conducts Mahler Symphony No. 8
- The Leonard Bernstein Memorial Concert
- Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra
- Alumni of the Tanglewood Music Center
- Erin Wall, soprano (Magna Peccatrix)
- Christine Goerke, soprano (Una poenitentium)
- Erin Morley, soprano (Mater Gloriosa)
- Mihoko Fujimura, mezzo-soprano (Mulier Samaritana)
- Jane Henschel, mezzo-soprano (Maria Aegyptiaca)
- Klaus Florian Vogt, tenor (Doctor Marianus)
- Matthias Goerne, baritone (Pater Ecstaticus)
- Ain Anger, bass (Pater Profundus)
- Tanglewood Festival Chorus, John Oliver, conductor
- Boston University Tanglewood Institute Chorus, Ann Howard Jones, conductor
- American Boychoir, Fernando Malvar-Ruiz, conductor
- Tanglewood tickets:
- Box Office: 617-266-1200; 888-266-1200
- Website: tanglewood.org
About Tanglewood: box office, tickets, getting there, nearby hotels
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Getting around the Tanglewood campus
The Tanglewood campus, summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Tanglewood Music Center comprises several hundred acres in the towns of Lenox and Stockbridge. It is the location of the Koussevitsky Music Shed and Ozawa Hall, where hundreds of thousands attend concerts and a variety of events, including picnics. We always advise new visitors to arrive early and take their daily walking exercise wandering the beautiful Tanglewood grounds.
Here is a dynamic map of the Tanglewood grounds, with photos and information for such points of interest as Aaron Copland Library, Highwood Manor House, The Glass House, and The Lion’s Gate.