Burning with self-confidence and ambition, Gustav Mahler began, even before his major breakthrough, to work on what would become his 1st Symphony. He started out with the intention of writing a symphonic poem, but gave it the structure of a symphony.
At the première, critics responded negatively, and Mahler made some drastic changes. It is now clear that this symphonic first fruit, with its boundless energy, ironic allusions, lovely ballads and grand heroism, was the seed from which the others would spring.
Gil Shaham's love for the Bartók's Violin Concerto is proven by the not one, but already two recordings he has made of this classic, more recently with Stéphane Denève. 'Bartók’s Concerto No 2 finds him drawing on an even greater palette of colour and infusing the finale with the right amount of edginess,' wrote The Guardian.