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Should there be a pause or intermission in Mahler's 3rd?

  • Intermission

    Votes: 4 13.3%
  • No pause or intermission

    Votes: 12 40.0%
  • 1 minute pause

    Votes: 4 13.3%
  • 2 minute pause

    Votes: 6 20.0%
  • 3 minute pause

    Votes: 1 3.3%
  • 4 minute pause

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • 5 minute pause

    Votes: 2 6.7%
  • The piece should never be played at all

    Votes: 1 3.3%
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
There are some conductors who have an intermission after the first movement. The only concert where I heard it that way with with Levine conducting. I am looking at the the upcoming Houston Symphony performance and see that a young conductor name Andrés Orozco-Estrada is doing it with intermission. I never heard Klaus Tennstedt conduct it but he played it straight through according to a review I read in the NY Times. I read that Mariss Jansons decided to place an intermission after the first movement when he was recovering from an illness. I found another online review that said James Conlon had an intermission when he did it with the Julliard Orchestra. When I heard Levine do it it said in the program notes that Mahler stipulated that there should be a long pause after the first movement. But that doesn't mean an intermission.

I've done some extensive research - by reading the wiki page on it (lol) -and see it says: "When it is performed, a short interval is sometimes taken between the first movement and the rest of the piece. This is in agreement with the manuscript copy of the full score (held in the Pierpont Morgan Library, New York), where the end of the first movement carries the inscription Folgt eine lange Pause! ("there follows a long pause").The inscription is not found in the score as published."

So what do you think the conductor should do, have a full intermission, just a long pause, or play it straight through? If you want a pause how long should it be?
 

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I do believe Mahler called for a significant pause after the first movement, not sure about an intermission though.

Or...I might be thinking of the second symphony that he calls for a significant pause after the first movement.

Or maybe both?

I'm sure Mahlerian knows if no one else.
 

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I do believe Mahler called for a significant pause after the first movement, not sure about an intermission though.

Or...I might be thinking of the second symphony that he calls for a significant pause after the first movement.

Or maybe both?

I'm sure Mahlerian knows if no one else.
He called for a pause of five minutes between the first two movements of the Second Symphony, mostly because of the large gap in tone between them.

The score of the Third I have doesn't specify any pause, but the work is divided into two parts, with the first movement taking up the entire first part. This could be cited as evidence that he desired an intermission.

On the other hand, the Fifth Symphony is divided into three parts: Movements 1 and 2, Movement 3, and Movements 4 and 5 respectively. I don't think that a longer-than-normal pause is taken between these, nor should it be. The Third may be the longest symphony in the standard repertory at about 100 minutes, but even at that length it's still shorter than some Wagner acts, for instance. I say if you want a pause, it should be brief.
 

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This may have changed in recent years, but at one point orchestra union contracts required there be an intermission (without thought being given to evening-length works), so conductors would throw one in after the first movement, using Mahler's note as an excusable reason.
 

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Mahler doesn't seem to provide a 'why'. I suppose he could have figured the 1st mvt needed 5 minutes to finish cooking; for me 30 seconds will do fine. We are after all in the microwave age.
 

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There are some conductors who have an intermission after the first movement. The only concert where I heard it that way with with Levine conducting. I am looking at the the upcoming Houston Symphony performance and see that a young conductor name Andrés Orozco-Estrada is doing it with intermission. I never heard Klaus Tennstedt conduct it but he played it straight through according to a review I read in the NY Times. I read that Mariss Jansons decided to place an intermission after the first movement when he was recovering from an illness. I found another online review that said James Conlon had an intermission when he did it with the Julliard Orchestra. When I heard Levine do it it said in the program notes that Mahler stipulated that there should be a long pause after the first movement. But that doesn't mean an intermission.

I've done some extensive research - by reading the wiki page on it (lol) -and see it says: "When it is performed, a short interval is sometimes taken between the first movement and the rest of the piece. This is in agreement with the manuscript copy of the full score (held in the Pierpont Morgan Library, New York), where the end of the first movement carries the inscription Folgt eine lange Pause! ("there follows a long pause").The inscription is not found in the score as published."

So what do you think the conductor should do, have a full intermission, just a long pause, or play it straight through? If you want a pause how long should it be?
Having learned the piece from the Horenstein recording on lp, I have become used to an interval equal to the time required to flip the lp. Any longer of an interval would make me think that I took a detour to the kitchen for a bowl of ice cream.
 

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Perhaps a pause of a minute or two would be acceptable in a live performance. With my CD player I can make the pause as long as needed.
 

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I've wondered why this hasn't been done on disc - would a long-ish pause seem too awkward?
 

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I've wondered why this hasn't been done on disc - would a long-ish pause seem too awkward?
Because you can pause the CD player yourself, and have an intermission for as long as you want.

When I listen to Mahler 3, I usually break it down to three parts, with a short break (a minute or two, mainly to stretch the legs) after the first and third movements.
 

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This thread is quite interesting. Three weeks ago I've heard Mahler's 3rd in concert in Mexico city. It was my first "live performance" experience with Mahler and it was really awesome. David Stern was the conductor of the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional. In fact, there was a brief pause after the first movement (two or three minutes I think). I had the perception that the conductor and the orchestra should stop to take a breath because of the intensity of god Pan's celebration!
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
This thread is quite interesting. Three weeks ago I've heard Mahler's 3rd in concert in Mexico city. It was my first "live performance" experience with Mahler and it was really awesome. David Stern was the conductor of the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional. In fact, there was a brief pause after the first movement (two or three minutes I think). I had the perception that the conductor and the orchestra should stop to take a breath because of the intensity of god Pan's celebration!
I'm going to hear Mehta conduct it in Montreal in a couple of weeks. It will be interesting to see how he does it.
 
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