Gergiev and Mariinsky's Mahler: The Eighth Symphony, 'Symphony of a Thousand'
Mahler wrote his "Symphony of a Thousand" in a white heat of inspiration during the summer of 1906, and its 1910 premiere in Munich proved the greatest success of his career. The symphony is in two parts: the first uses the Latin Pentecost hymn "Veni, creator spiritus", and the second the conclusion of Goethe’s Faust, Part II. Mahler's feat in combining different languages, genres of music, and sacred and secular themes is as astonishing as his marshalling of such enormous forces: an immense orchestra, two large mixed choirs and separate children’s chorus, organ, off-stage brass, and eight vocal soloists.
The Carnegie Hall premiere of Mahler's Eighth Symphony took place on April 6, 1950, with the New York Philharmonic, Leopold Stokowski, conductor, with Frances Yeend, Uta Graf, and Camilla Williams, sopranos; Martha Lipton and Louise Bernhart, contraltos; Eugene Conley, tenor; Carlos Alexander, baritone; George London, bass-baritone; the Schola Cantorum of New York; Westminster Choir; and Public School No. 12 Boys Chorus.
Excerpt from Mahler Symphony No. 8 (I. Hymnus: Veni, creator spiritus)
London Symphony Orchestra / Valery Gergiev, Conductor