Milwaukee Symphony Mahler 8 proved to be quite an enjoyable experience. This production marked Maestro Andreas Delfs’ finale with the Milwaukee Symphony after which he would be stepping down as Music Director. One could feel the familiar tugging of heart strings to see and hear the ardent response from those on and off the stage as Delfs took the podium. It was all too apparent that he had made a lasting impression on the music community of Milwaukee as well as those who enjoyed the fruits of its labors. And as the maestro brought the finale to a triumphant close at the end of both performances, all in the audience almost immediately rose to their feet, applauding fiercely. I, for one, enjoyed the tickling sensation of victory washing over me in a calming wash of energy.
I enjoyed sharing the soloist duties with my fellow colleagues. Each solo voice possessed a character and line that they inhabited fully. When one reaches a specific level of professionalism, one cannot deny the feeling of accomplishment and excellence that comes with it. To listen to each voice was to hear a technician work their craft as only one of sufficient stage experience could produce.
The adult and youth choirs offered a comfortable cushion for which both the soloists and the orchestra were able to build on to round out the wonderful, full sound that is required of this of Mahler’s great works. When all the elements of the entire ensemble are engaged, the result is staggering. I always wonder how individuals could conceive all that sound…all those different voices and instrumental parts all working as a unit. Such gifted individuals as Mahler could NOT have possibly been human, for the works they have bestowed on the world surpass mortal abilities, in my humble opinion.