Boston-based, British-born conductor Benjamin Zander has been acclaimed for his fresh, dramatic interpretations of symphonic literature-particularly in the works of Mahler and Beethoven. A tireless and passionate advocate for bringing classical music to the general public, he has not only devoted much of his career to coaching and conducting young musicians, but has also established a reputation as a highly-respected motivational speaker for large international groups and corporations. Using music as metaphor for positive, creative thinking, he regularly brings enthusiastic corporate executives with no musical background to their feet to sing the theme from Beethoven's Ninth Symphony.
This live recording of Mahler's Ninth Symphony marks his debut on the Telarc label, and includes a bonus discussion disc offering the conductor's unique observations on the score and its performance, which Zander believes will enable the first-time listener to both understand and become drawn to Mahler's music. Zander comments that his interpretation of Mahler involves a process of restoration. "There used to be a way of playing the works of Mahler that was incredibly free-something that was there in Mengelburg's and Mahler's own performances," he says. "It requires an infinite subtlety and flexibility of timing that is rare these days, in which one thinks of the orchestra as a chamber music instrument, and each of the musicians as virtuosos on their instruments."