Author Topic: Mahler Mania, Rebooted  (Read 655888 times)

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Offline krummholz

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Re: Mahler Mania, Rebooted
« Reply #5120 on: August 12, 2022, 06:24:26 AM »
I think you are referring to these trills here?
https://youtu.be/8qYqW-otXxI?t=536

Not sure about @calyptorhynchus, but those are indeed the trills I was referring to, and which to me seem like an echo of the ones in the 6th. But the overall context in which they occur is, I agree, very likely a reference to the music he heard in his youth.

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If this is what you're referring to, not the same as the trills adding tension as a climax loom which is another devise, just not used here.  I frankly don't hear this as having that much extra-musical meaning but still sounds an awful lot like the music he was exposed to in his youth in his family's tavern.  See that documentary I linked to earlier from MTT/SFO where they play side by side the tavern songs of that day and how those tunes worked their way in to funeral marches.  The specific example, from Mahler's 1st symphony, 3rd movement - the funeral march, starts with a funeral march (not dark or angst filled like Chopin but a solemn procession) but in the middle of it, a slow waltz joins in the procession then another one interrupts the first one.  I think if there is any extra-musical inspiration here, it is that joy and sorrow are bedfellows.

+1. The "interruption of the interruption" in #1, III does indeed sound like klezmer music, and I believe Bernstein even pointed this out in one of his talks on Mahler.

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On a side note, I've been reading Mahler's Letters to Alma and from this period, I was very surprised how upbeat and positive Mahler was.  From 1910, just months before his death, he wrote this: "I've come through the year with flying colours, and haven't actually spared myself.  Of the three of us [Mahler, Alma, Alma's mother (his mother in law)], I alone have uninterruptedly enjoyed good health."  This surprised me because at this time he had completed the 9th (his darkest work), was rehearsing the 8th (his greatest public success), and was starting on the 10th.  Mahler is an interesting enigma - his music contains so much passion and he seemed to be in good spirits at the time.  His career was on fire, and he seemed very happy and productive. [...]

Indeed. The usual story that Mahler in his last years was dying of a heart ailment and knew it has to be classified as a canard. He had a (probably rheumatic) heart valve defect that certainly predisposed him to the endocarditis infection that felled him in February, 1911, but he was not disabled by it (at least, not after the first few months after his diagnosis when he severely curtailed his physical activities). He was extremely active and as you say, his career was on fire, spending his winters in New York where he was conducting both the Philharmonic and (if memory serves) the Metropolitan Opera, and composing in Europe during the summer.

I tend to agree with Deryck Cooke that the 9th was a phase in Mahler's development, both as a person and as a composer, and that the 10th shows that he was well past that phase and exploring new worlds in his music. It's a terrible pity that antibiotics had yet to be discovered in 1911 - scarcely 30 years later, Mahler's illness would have been curable.

Offline Spotted Horses

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Re: Mahler Mania, Rebooted
« Reply #5121 on: August 12, 2022, 04:03:11 PM »
I've been hoping to experience a little Mahler Mania, but these works are so long, even one movement taxes my schedule! :)

Online relm1

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Re: Mahler Mania, Rebooted
« Reply #5122 on: August 13, 2022, 05:04:10 AM »
I've been hoping to experience a little Mahler Mania, but these works are so long, even one movement taxes my schedule! :)

"If you think you're boring your audience, go slower not faster." - Gustav Mahler

Offline hvbias

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Re: Mahler Mania, Rebooted
« Reply #5123 on: August 14, 2022, 05:39:32 AM »
"If you think you're boring your audience, go slower not faster." - Gustav Mahler

I should have this etched in stone and hung above my stereos. I was commenting in the big box thread that long frantic ballets can't hold my attention, but a thirty minute Mahler movement even at a low volume- I've been so absorbed that I've only later seen the missed call on my phone!
"I feel very strongly about Chopin — I just love him" - Fou Ts'ong

Offline Spotted Horses

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Re: Mahler Mania, Rebooted
« Reply #5124 on: August 14, 2022, 07:04:35 PM »
"If you think you're boring your audience, go slower not faster." - Gustav Mahler

I don't begrudge Mahler the heavenly length. I just wish I had the time to experience it.