Saturday, February 04, 2012
How many performers does it take to pull off Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 8, popularly and dauntingly known as the "Symphony of a Thousand"? The answer isn't as obvious as it appears.
For the Los Angeles Philharmonic, which performs the gargantuan symphony Saturday at the Shrine Auditorium, the tally is 1,011, with a lingering asterisk or two. It marks a rare, but certainly not unique, instance of the symphony being performed on the scale that the composer intended.
The bulging roll call consists of 18 different groups coming together for an unprecedented undertaking by the orchestra: 91 musicians from the L.A Philharmonic, 99 from the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela, 813 singers from 16 local choruses and eight vocal soloists.