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Reading Mahler Scores

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Greta:
What fun this is! Already there's so much more I hear I didn't realize was going on until I saw it on paper. Mahler was so brilliant, I bow down.  0:)

I wanted to mention the book Gustav Mahler: The Symphonies by Constantin Floros that others have talked about on GMG, it really is an indispensable resource for this kind of study. The most important thing it addresses for me is Mahler's form (with measure numbers!) which helps immensely when wading through such long dense music. Mahler often twists and transforms his themes so completely by the end of a movement, this is tough to follow upon hearing but much easier to read about.

I have some experience reading orchestral scores and have taken orchestration, so following is okay, but trying to figure out how it all fits together with Mahler is the challenge. And I'm not great with other languages so I'm always trying to remember exactly what the score directions mean. Though I do have Dover Study Editions (which can be had quite cheaply through Amazon or EBay) which have a glossary for basic definitions.

I was so immediately fascinated with Mahler's writing and orchestration I knew seeing the scores I would be like a kid in a candy store. :D And I end up spending so long entranced with one part I haven't gotten through much of it yet! But last night I dove right into two "pieces of candy", the amazing Sturmisch bewegt of the 5th and the rousing Rondo-Finale of the 7th. Hmm, I guess I could've started off easier!

But you have a whole new appreciation for different recordings when you follow along with the score. That's another dimension I love about score-reading. I wish I had so much more time to do it! One thing I love about collecting is how conductors differ in their interpretations and considering the why behind their choices. Does he stick by the score or do something very different? And if he does, does he justify it? I'm tempted to go off onto the merits or interesting finds I've come across with some recordings I've used, but will get into it more sometime in the Recordings area. I think it's fascinating though, especially in cases where in instrumentation something is omitted, or added, I'm not sure what to think about that yet!

To clarify my question about recordings, for those familiar with the scores, who is especially idiomatic tempo wise? I don't have that many recordings yet (4 or so of each symphony) and was curious so I have some kind of general idea, I guess this might suggest a sort of middle of the road interpretation. There's my Mahler-blat for today...  ;)

PS - In the 5th, I saw the direction mit dem Bogen geschlagen - literally "with the Bows beat", is this the same as col legno?

The Mad Hatter:
I always found Mahler much easier to read than, say, Beethoven (first time I tried I got absolutely lost in the score of Beethoven's ninth). With Mahler, if you're not sure, just follow one instrumental line until you have things a bit more steadily.

PerfectWagnerite:

--- Quote from: The Mad Hatter on June 06, 2007, 09:37:18 AM ---I always found Mahler much easier to read than, say, Beethoven (first time I tried I got absolutely lost in the score of Beethoven's ninth). With Mahler, if you're not sure, just follow one instrumental line until you have things a bit more steadily.

--- End quote ---

That's what I do, usually I go with the first violins :)
Some I know the scores fairly well, like for the 2nd and 3rd symphonies if I listen for a minute or so I can flip to the score and find the right place.

Marple:
Hello Greta!
This pdf has a list of terms used by Mahler : http://uiso.music.uiuc.edu/Mahlerterms.pdf

It is always nice to meet other Mahlerites! I'm actually studying his 6th symphony right now and it is hard work, but in the end when you get it right... It's fantastic!
For me when working with his scores it is important first of all to get a clear view of the form. When I have this I can start learning by heart which of cause is important if I want to conducting the work without the score.

About recordings. I would recommend Bernstein but I would wait before listening. One wise man once told me never to read scores and listen to the music at the same time. When you read and work with the score without music playing in the background, your ability to hear the notes, orchestration and the different colours of the instruments will automatic improve - and from a conductors point of view this is a very important ability. (I don't know if you're conducting too and therefore need this ability... but anyway...  ;) )

The symphonies of Mahler is an incredible world of stories being told in a wide range of time. For me it is fun and exciting to work with because there's always something new to discover everytime you open the score. And it is a challenge to get hold on to in every way.

I speak german so if you're having any problems with it I would gladly help. ;)

Larry Rinkel:

--- Quote from: Marple on June 06, 2007, 01:34:38 PM ---One wise man once told me never to read scores and listen to the music at the same time.
--- End quote ---

Other wise men say the direct opposite.

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