SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Symphony will release the complete recordings of Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 8, also known as “Symphony of a Thousand,” on Friday, Nov. 17.
“Not many orchestras are fortunate enough to record Mahler (No.) 8 ever,” said Thierry Fischer, music director and conductor of the Utah Symphony, in a news release. “But thanks to Maurice Abravanel and the tradition he started 50 years ago, it has happened here in Utah twice!”
Featuring the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Madeleine Choir School, the release marks the end of a Utah Symphony tour that included all 10 of Mahler’s symphonies performed over the last three years.
“I marvel at the depth of local talent and the willingness of musicians to come together in a unique collaboration to perform this musical tour de force,” said Ron Jarrett, president of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, in the news release. “It is a testament of hope and optimism that does justice to Mahler’s vision.”
The Utah Symphony has a long history of recordings and performances of Mahler's works that can be traced back decades.
The late Maurice Abravanel, former music director of the Utah Symphony, took part in the first American orchestral recording of Mahler’s seventh and eighth symphonies when he conducted performances of the works from 1963-1974, according to utahsymphony.org.
The symphony's website states these distinguished years brought the Utah Symphony and the conductor international fame and honors, including the Mahler Award presented to Abravanel by the Bruckner Society in 1965.
The eight soloists joining the symphony and choir for the recording include sopranos Orla Boylan, Celena Shafer and Amy Owens; mezzo-sopranos Charlotte Hellekant and Tamara Mumford; tenor Barry Banks; baritone Markus Werba; and bass Jordan Bisch.
“We offer our thanks to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, the choristers from The Madeleine Choir School and the eight incredible soloists who went on this new journey with us,” Fischer said in the news release. “The intense commitment of everyone involved was apparent from the first rehearsal to the final performance, and we were all deeply moved by the audience's reaction to Mahler's music. It is so wonderful to have this memory preserved now for all time.”
The two-disc album is currently available for preorder on Amazon.