“Mahler is more contemporary now than in 1910”
Do you remember the first time you heard Mahler’s music?
Pons: It was at the Schola Cantorum in Montserrat. I studied at the monastery from age 10 to 14 and sang in the Schola Cantorum. This is a place with a very long tradition and a very good library, and also where I heard Mahler’s music for the first time – recorded, not live.
Straight after I left Montserrat, a few friends gave me the complete symphonies, conducted by Bernard Haitink with Elly Ameling singing in the 4th. That was the soundtrack to my life, so to speak, when I was 14, 15, 16 years old. Later on, the first time I conducted Mahler’s music was with a small group. A chamber version of Das Lied von der Erde [The Song of the Earth], Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen [Songs of a Wayfarer] – those were my initial contacts with Mahler.