Mahler with a Wrinkle: Introducing the Cardboard Orchestra
I tend to think of certain orchestras as "Mahler orchestras." The New York Philharmonic is one such orchestra because Gustav Mahler himself was its music director for a time, so its traditions of performing Mahler's works, in a sense, extend back to the composer himself. The Chicago Symphony Orchestra is another "Mahler orchestra," because its famed brass section seemsÂ perenniallyÂ to have been designed for the flawless execution of Mahler's lip-splitting,Â larger-than-life orchestrations. These are just two examples. You get the idea. Recently, I came across a video of an altogether different kind of Mahler orchestra, one the composer himself never saw, much less led. And one totally without a brass section.Â The orchestraÂ also has noÂ woodwinds, and its strings have more in common with puppets than with horsehair and rosin. Yet still, it plays Mahler's music. What is this orchestra, you ask?Â TakeÂ a look: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6sFsGNrJVC0 What the Cardboard OrchestraÂ lacks in technical precision itÂ makes up forÂ in environmental friendliness: It's recyclable.