The Mahler Project: A fascinating documentary on the musical world of
Gustav Mahler as seen by the two great musicians, and a recording of
Mahler's colossal Ninth.
"Mahler created a new world with each of his symphonies (...) It is a
fantastic journey for both of us". With these few words, Daniel Barenboim
sums up the vast scope of a project undertaken with his friend Pierre
Boulez: two very different world-class conductors tackle all nine
completed symphonies of Gustav Mahler (1860-1911) with one orchestra,
the Staatskapelle Berlin. Performed as a complete cycle in Berlin, Vienna
and New York, the concerts were a tremendous success. The Financial Times
even wrote: "New York is going Mahler mad".
Before embarking on this journey, the two conductors underwent a long
period of reflection and discussion. In this documentary, director
Christoph Engel compiles a rich selection of statements, conversations and
musical excerpts which show how differently each maestro approaches this
mighty oeuvre: "Barenboim's readings seethe with subtly controlled
passion [...] Boulez approaches Mahler with a cool head¿", summarized
The New York Times. Yet each conductor remains true to his vision: "We
don't try to influence each other. We are who we are", said Pierre Boulez
to The New York Times.
In addition to being a fascinating insight into Mahler's symphonic oeuvre,
which allows the viewer to uncover the essence of Mahler's music, "The
Mahler Project" also features a complete concert recording from the
Berliner Philharmonie of the colossal Ninth Symphony, which is considered
as the culmination of the Austrian composer's works. Conductor Daniel
Barenboim delivers an interpretation which The New York Times proclaimed
"a milestone for the Staatskapelle Berlin".