Author Topic: Mahler Mania, Rebooted  (Read 351880 times)

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Offline André

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Re: Mahler Mania, Rebooted
« Reply #4040 on: April 13, 2018, 12:24:54 PM »
I have a question: I’ve been listening to different versions of Schoenberg’s Chamber symphony no 1 and in the second section (track 2 in both Rattle versions) I hear strong echoes of Mahler’s 7th symphony, esp. the first Nachtmusik (I think - not absolutely sure).

Any thoughts on that ?

Offline Mahlerian

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Re: Mahler Mania, Rebooted
« Reply #4041 on: April 13, 2018, 12:34:22 PM »
I have a question: I’ve been listening to different versions of Schoenberg’s Chamber symphony no 1 and in the second section (track 2 in both Rattle versions) I hear strong echoes of Mahler’s 7th symphony, esp. the first Nachtmusik (I think - not absolutely sure).

Any thoughts on that ?

Oh absolutely.  It's a fascinating connection, because Mahler's Seventh hadn't yet been performed in public when Schoenberg's work was written, so if he knew it, it was from the score or from private performances.  You're right, too, in pegging the "scherzo" section of the Schoenberg work, but it's the second Nachtmusik, the "Andante amoroso," where the motif originates.

Other connections between the two works are more tenuous, but both have a strong emphasis on the interval of the perfect fourth, and the chains of fourths found in the first movement of Mahler's symphony find their way into every corner of Schoenberg's.  We do know that Schoenberg loved and admired the Seventh.
"l do not consider my music as atonal, but rather as non-tonal. I feel the unity of all keys. Atonal music by modern composers admits of no key at all, no feeling of any definite center." - Arnold Schoenberg

Offline André

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Re: Mahler Mania, Rebooted
« Reply #4042 on: April 13, 2018, 12:45:06 PM »
Gee, thanks for these details, Mahlerian ! Wasn’t sure which Nachtmusik, and didn’t feel like putting the whole disc to verify.  I knew it couldn’t be a coincidence. I mean, these whiffs of the Andante amoroso coming in and out of the orchestral texture are striking once you focus on them, which I had never done before. I like that Schoenberg work, but a friend of mine positively adores it. He made me a cdr with copies of some of the versions he owns. I got to listen to it 3 times in a row  8).

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Re: Mahler Mania, Rebooted
« Reply #4043 on: April 15, 2018, 01:04:42 AM »
I have always thought there was a similarity between Mahler's 7th and Schoenberg's 1st.......nice to know this info, Mahlerian.

Offline relm1

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Re: Mahler Mania, Rebooted
« Reply #4044 on: April 26, 2018, 04:28:54 PM »
Can someone please summarize the issue with the Symphony No. 6 inner movement orders?  Why is there so much dispute and what is the general consensus?  Most likely because I first encountered the work this way, the adagio feels better as a third movement because it heightens the contrast with the finale's angst. 

Offline André

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Re: Mahler Mania, Rebooted
« Reply #4045 on: April 26, 2018, 04:35:23 PM »
There is no general consensus. Opinions diverge sharply on the subject. Go for what you actually prefer after listening to the 2 options  :).

Offline relm1

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Re: Mahler Mania, Rebooted
« Reply #4046 on: April 26, 2018, 04:41:35 PM »
There is no general consensus. Opinions diverge sharply on the subject. Go for what you actually prefer after listening to the 2 options  :).

Why did Mahler struggle with this?  I find the Osmo Vanska/Minnesota jarring though a very find interpretation because of the movement order. 

Offline André

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Re: Mahler Mania, Rebooted
« Reply #4047 on: April 26, 2018, 04:44:49 PM »
Why did Mahler struggle with this?  I find the Osmo Vanska/Minnesota jarring though a very find interpretation because of the movement order.

Blame it on perfectionism and self-doubt.

Offline SurprisedByBeauty

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Re: Mahler Mania, Rebooted
« Reply #4048 on: April 26, 2018, 11:04:50 PM »
Can someone please summarize the issue with the Symphony No. 6 inner movement orders?  Why is there so much dispute and what is the general consensus?  Most likely because I first encountered the work this way, the adagio feels better as a third movement because it heightens the contrast with the finale's angst.

I can. Mahler composed it Scherzo-Adagio. He only ever performed it Adagio-Scherzo. He is subsequently only known to have opted for that latter form (i.e. publishing the parts accordingly).

The resumption of Scherzo-Adagio is based on a mistake and Alma Mahler misremembering and a Mahler Society Editor playing loose with the truth.

There is objective musicological reason to favor Scherzo-Adagio. There is subjective dramatic reason to favor Scherzo-Adagio. (You're onto some of it.) But about the last bit opinions differ. (Ivan Fischer, for example, was open to have it either way and after trying it in concert both ways, several times, he opted for Adagio-Scherzo.)

More details here: http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2016/04/gustav-mahler-symphony-no6-part-1.html

If you are a stickler to "last-known-idea-is-definitive" thinking, you have to go Adagio-Scherzo. But if you are inquisitive, there seems to be as much reason to go Scherzo-Adagio as vice-versa ... in which case it comes down to which you deem a more fitting approach. Myself, I am wholly in the Scherzo-Adagio camp.

Offline aukhawk

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Re: Mahler Mania, Rebooted
« Reply #4049 on: April 26, 2018, 11:58:08 PM »
I can. Mahler composed it Scherzo-Adagio.

To be clear - do you mean that at the time of composition (or conception) he had an intent to use that order - or is it a simple matter of that being the order in which he wrote the music regardless of the later order of assembly?
Because if the latter - I don't think we can read very much into that, after all you could extend it to say he composed it Scherzo-Adagio-Half of Symphony 7-Finale of 6.

I must say (with Karajan's recording fresh in mind  :) ) that Scherzo first just makes it sound like an extension of the first movement, whether that's good or bad I'm not sure ...

Offline SurprisedByBeauty

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Re: Mahler Mania, Rebooted
« Reply #4050 on: April 27, 2018, 12:24:55 AM »
To be clear - do you mean that at the time of composition (or conception) he had an intent to use that order - or is it a simple matter of that being the order in which he wrote the music regardless of the later order of assembly?

Because if the latter - I don't think we can read very much into that, after all you could extend it to say he composed it Scherzo-Adagio-Half of Symphony 7-Finale of 6.

I must say (with Karajan's recording fresh in mind  :) ) that Scherzo first just makes it sound like an extension of the first movement, whether that's good or bad I'm not sure ...

I meant that it was composed with the intent of the Scherzo being followed by the Adagio. Not just that he happened to compose one movement before another. The musicological analysis, of which I am not capable myself, would back that claim up.


The reason being given for Mahler's change of heart after the GP and before the first performance was that it was suggested to him by people he trusted that the first and second movement were far too similar; that the listeners would respond better to the fast-slow-fast-FINALE structure.*


We think of Mahler having a robust ego, certainly compared to Bruckner. But he wasn't at all that confident about his works as his letters (esp. those to Strauss) reveal. He was very eager to have his works performed and pleased to engage in just about any kind of compromise to give them a start.

*That may be true: but I happen to believe that this is the point of the symphony: A ONE, TWO Blow to the kisser courtesy movements 1 & 2. Then recovery and hope in the Adagio. Then the devestating Finale. What the Scherzo-as-second movement loses following the similar First, the Finale loses trice over, following the Scherzo-as-third.

Offline Mahlerian

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Re: Mahler Mania, Rebooted
« Reply #4051 on: April 27, 2018, 04:59:22 AM »
I meant that it was composed with the intent of the Scherzo being followed by the Adagio. Not just that he happened to compose one movement before another. The musicological analysis, of which I am not capable myself, would back that claim up.

Yes.  In fact, it was initially published in that order, before the composer decided to reverse the two movements before the initial performance.  It's a little misleading to talk about "all of the performances" Mahler gave, because the first round was such a flop and the reviews so vitriolic that it's only a slight exaggeration to say that the Sixth Symphony was the straw that broke the camel's back and forced Mahler to leave his job at the Vienna Court Opera.

As for the order the movements were composed in, like several of the other symphonies, the Sixth was composed from the inside out.  The inner movements came first (forget which was the first, probably the Scherzo) then the first movement, then the last, but with the structure already more or less formed in Mahler's mind from the beginning.

The reason being given for Mahler's change of heart after the GP and before the first performance was that it was suggested to him by people he trusted that the first and second movement were far too similar; that the listeners would respond better to the fast-slow-fast-FINALE structure.*

*That may be true: but I happen to believe that this is the point of the symphony: A ONE, TWO Blow to the kisser courtesy movements 1 & 2. Then recovery and hope in the Adagio. Then the devestating Finale. What the Scherzo-as-second movement loses following the similar First, the Finale loses trice over, following the Scherzo-as-third.

I think it's helpful to look at the work as being in three parts: the first movement, the inner movements, then the finale.  This way the piece functions whether the scherzo or the andante follows the opening allegro.

The first movement presents a conflict between two types of themes; let's say the strident and the lyrical.  The whole movement inverts the normal dramaturgy of a sonata-allegro form, with the highest tension at the outer points and the lowest tension in the exact center.  In the end, the lyrical theme takes hold, but only by taking on the characteristics of the strident theme.

The two central movements re-examine what just occurred, focusing on separate aspects.  The scherzo takes up the strident theme type and in fact goes over the same harmonic territory as the first movement all over again, with the exception that it ends in wearied collapse.  The tension in this movement more or less stays at a high level.  The andante takes up the lyrical theme type (though actually derived from a more martial sounding passage from the first movement) and takes the key of the lowest point of tension from the first movement as its home.  The development of tension in this movement is something like the first, but less gradual, with mercurial shifts in mood.  The climax near the end marks the point at which the conflicts in the music throughout rise to the surface, and it is resolved with seeming forthrightness before ending in wistful recollections of some of the earlier motifs (the movement's "theme" does not return after the climax).

A tonally ambiguous gesture sets the finale into motion, and its drama stems from constant and almost regular waves of tense striving and uneasy meditation.  The main themes of the movement combine characteristics of both the strident and the lyrical types from the opening allegro, and the finale turns at those points where the orchestral setting becomes most opulent in the Straussian vein.  As with the andante, these will always collapse, and here they do so with violence.  We find that the triumph of the first movement's coda cannot be recaptured and the interior movements pointed towards the ultimate conclusion of the work in defiant destruction.
"l do not consider my music as atonal, but rather as non-tonal. I feel the unity of all keys. Atonal music by modern composers admits of no key at all, no feeling of any definite center." - Arnold Schoenberg

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Re: Mahler Mania, Rebooted
« Reply #4052 on: April 27, 2018, 10:16:08 PM »
Can someone please summarize the issue with the Symphony No. 6 inner movement orders?  Why is there so much dispute and what is the general consensus?  Most likely because I first encountered the work this way, the adagio feels better as a third movement because it heightens the contrast with the finale's angst. 

m8 you really know how to open a can of worms

Offline André

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Re: Mahler Mania, Rebooted
« Reply #4053 on: April 28, 2018, 02:49:44 AM »
 :laugh:

Offline Cato

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Re: Mahler Mania, Rebooted
« Reply #4054 on: May 16, 2018, 06:16:49 AM »
A few days ago my wife and I were driving in Cincinnati, and on I-270 we came across a car with an Ohio license plate displaying...:

Quote
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                                    MAHLER 9


We honked and waved and gave a thumbs up!   :D

I once knew a priest (he died some years ago) who said he owned every known recording of Mahler's Ninth and would travel hundreds of miles to hear it played live.
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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Mahler Mania, Rebooted
« Reply #4055 on: May 16, 2018, 06:30:17 PM »
A few days ago my wife and I were driving in Cincinnati, and on I-270 we came across a car with an Ohio license plate displaying...:



We honked and waved and gave a thumbs up!   :D

I once knew a priest (he died some years ago) who said he owned every known recording of Mahler's Ninth and would travel hundreds of miles to hear it played live.

That’s so cool! I’m actually listening to Mahler’s 9th as I type this: it’s certainly a symphony I’d love to see in concert just to be engulfed into that sound-world.
“I really would like to go to Marmorkirken. It was there that I heard music for the first time, and that experience is like a heavenly vision for me.” - Rued Langgaard

Offline aukhawk

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Re: Mahler Mania, Rebooted
« Reply #4056 on: May 16, 2018, 10:41:44 PM »
I saw Haitink with his CO perform Mahler 9 in London, oooh, 45 years ago.  About the time of his first recording on Philips.  The 'bells' (geat slabs of rough-cast grey metal) towards the end of the first movement were EPIC and so other-worldly.  On some recordings you hardly hear them at all, but live the weird sound they made just got everywhere.

Offline PerfectWagnerite

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Re: Mahler Mania, Rebooted
« Reply #4057 on: May 29, 2018, 05:51:06 AM »
What do you guys think about this recording?




Offline Biffo

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Re: Mahler Mania, Rebooted
« Reply #4058 on: May 29, 2018, 06:40:30 AM »
What do you guys think about this recording?



I remember being impressed but it is years since I listened to it. Seems to be the only Mahler that Jochum recorded - he had an experienced Mahler orchestra and soloists (Merriman, at least, not sure about Haefliger).

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Re: Mahler Mania, Rebooted
« Reply #4059 on: May 29, 2018, 09:50:40 AM »
What do you guys think about this recording?



Noble and wonderful!