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Mahler's Fifth

Dear Ben Zander,

Thank you, thank you, thank you. Totally wonderful!! I'm talking about your compelling and provocative discussion of the Mahler Fifth on the 2001 recording with the Philharmonia, which I found in the main branch of the St. Louis County Library recently. An infinite thank you for doing this for musicians and all "Mahlerians", as you so aptly put it.

I especially was moved by your musical comments interwoven with European history and Mahler's personal history and complex personality. I especially enjoyed your beautiful and poetically conceived script and the orchestral excerpts, particularly those in the first section, The Orchestra. (I plan to use it in my college music appreciation classes this semester since I can never appropriately "scale the heights" with my seemingly meager explanations.) I enjoyed learning about the funeral rhythm, as well as the tempo issues for the Adagietto and its interpretation. However and alas, I don't think I can hear the C# as a leading tone to the glorious D Major!

Among the slow Mahler movements, I personally think that the Andante of the Sixth is the very best. It is indeed most tragic sounding, except for the hopeful E Major with its pastoral and joyous cowbells. I especially think the Eb Major/g minor congruence at 47 introducing the English horn solo is especially brilliant. I think the return to Eb at 61 with its new melodic extension and that great F9 chord preceded by a quasi Baroque circle of fifths, is worthy of being called one of the great Mahler moments, don't you?!

Thanks again for all you are doing and thanks for your recent good wishes on my "landing" in Boston. I would love to attend some of your rehearsals and I hope that my work life as well as your generous and collegial spirit, might make that possible.

All best wishes for '04-'05!


Alan Pearlmutter

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