Author Topic: The Great Mahler Debate  (Read 86945 times)

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Offline Israfel the Black

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Re: Mahler Mania
« Reply #300 on: May 01, 2007, 02:48:57 PM »
Given his very direct quotations from Beethoven it is hard not to.

Or Wagner for that matter. See thee original the 3rd Symphony GustavMahler. He simply adored Wagner.

Steve

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Re: Mahler Mania
« Reply #301 on: May 01, 2007, 02:51:02 PM »
i wouldn't link Bruckner to any other composer, he was a unique case.

No composer is independent of the influence of every other composer. It may be subtle, but its there. I have always seen the styles of Schumann and Brahms in Bruckner.

Offline Israfel the Black

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Re: Mahler Mania
« Reply #302 on: May 01, 2007, 02:55:36 PM »
No composer is independent of the influence of every other composer. It may be subtle, but its there. I have always seen the styles of Schumann and Brahms in Bruckner.

Indeed. As have I.

mahlertitan

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Re: Mahler Mania
« Reply #303 on: May 01, 2007, 03:13:30 PM »
No composer is independent of the influence of every other composer. It may be subtle, but its there. I have always seen the styles of Schumann and Brahms in Bruckner.

yeah, my point is that he was not a "progressive" as you guys claim.  He wrote HIS music, he incorporate those passages from Beethoven to show his Admiration for the great composer, but stylistically speaking, all those so called "modern" influences has nothing to do with him being modern. He just wrote the music that way, in a very naive way you can say.
A good example is the scherzo from his 9th symphony, a lot people say that sound a lot like 20th century music, however, i doubt that he wrote that movement trying to create something "new".

Offline BachQ

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Re: Mahler Mania
« Reply #304 on: May 01, 2007, 03:15:05 PM »
You know what? I'm starting to wonder if I should just retitle this "The Great Mahler Debate" and just start over with a new thread (restricted to Mahler only, no Elgar) to really discuss his music... ;D

Even if we go back to the topic at hand, there'll be 15 pages to read through of endless back-and-forth.

Anyone else like this idea? ;)

It's entirely the threadmaster's fault for allowing the discussion to veer so far afield . . . . . . . .  :D

Offline MishaK

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Re: Mahler Mania
« Reply #305 on: May 01, 2007, 03:18:05 PM »
yeah, my point is that he was not a "progressive" as you guys claim.  He wrote HIS music, he incorporate those passages from Beethoven to show his Admiration for the great composer, but stylistically speaking, all those so called "modern" influences has nothing to do with him being modern. He just wrote the music that way, in a very naive way you can say.
A good example is the scherzo from his 9th symphony, a lot people say that sound a lot like 20th century music, however, i doubt that he wrote that movement trying to create something "new".

I think you're vastly underestimating the man. May I recommend you get the Harnoncourt 9th with the lecture that includes a performance of the surviving bits of the finale? It is quite illuminating as to the originality of Bruckner's compositional process. I think the image of Bruckner as the accidental provincial idiot savant of Austro-German romanticism is in dire need of revision.

Choo Choo

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Re: Mahler Mania
« Reply #306 on: May 01, 2007, 03:21:30 PM »
Every time I open a Bruckner score, the impression I always take away is how clever he was.  How precise and carefully judged his scoring.  There are parts of the score of the 9th that look like the technical blueprints of an advanced super-weapon.

mahlertitan

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Re: Mahler Mania
« Reply #307 on: May 01, 2007, 03:26:53 PM »
I think you're vastly underestimating the man. May I recommend you get the Harnoncourt 9th with the lecture that includes a performance of the surviving bits of the finale? It is quite illuminating as to the originality of Bruckner's compositional process. I think the image of Bruckner as the accidental provincial idiot savant of Austro-German romanticism is in dire need of revision.

i am not questioning Bruckner's originality, but if you want to persuade me that he was not a "provincial idiot", explain to me why he had so little confidence in his own abilities? why so many versions of the same work?

Offline Israfel the Black

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Re: Mahler Mania
« Reply #308 on: May 01, 2007, 03:28:58 PM »
yeah, my point is that he was not a "progressive" as you guys claim.  He wrote HIS music, he incorporate those passages from Beethoven to show his Admiration for the great composer, but stylistically speaking, all those so called "modern" influences has nothing to do with him being modern. He just wrote the music that way, in a very naive way you can say.
A good example is the scherzo from his 9th symphony, a lot people say that sound a lot like 20th century music, however, i doubt that he wrote that movement trying to create something "new".

It seems a bit naive to superimpose one's opinion on the intention of his music, rather than the actual value of the music itself. It's also a bit cliche to reduce Bruckner to the simpleminded non-progressive stereotype that he is so commonly attached. The same argument could most aptly describe the music of Bach. A reserved, near complacent man of faith and homebody who loved the organ -- but who was also undeniably a progressive, influential genius ahead of his time. The same argument could be made on Schubert for that matter. Fortunately, music critics do not use such assumption based merits on analyzing the influence or impact of music, for such knowledge is of course impossible to truly ascertain. Instead, we look at the music itself, and its undeniable attributes. It could be argued, Bruckner was singnificant enough influence on Wellesz and Klenau to further progress their dissonances to the use of atonality. Not to mention Mahler viewed Bruckner as his forerunner, and the former is most certainly a staple of modern music.

Offline Israfel the Black

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Re: Mahler Mania
« Reply #309 on: May 01, 2007, 03:32:53 PM »
i am not questioning Bruckner's originality, but if you want to persuade me that he was not a "provincial idiot", explain to me why he had so little confidence in his own abilities? why so many versions of the same work?

How confident was Brahms exactly? Apprehensive at best. Your argument has no weight. Character judgments of his assumed customary habits do little to adjust one's opinion of his genius. I find his humility far more revering and telling of his genius than Wagner and Stravinsky's aristocratic pretensions.

Offline MishaK

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Re: Mahler Mania
« Reply #310 on: May 01, 2007, 03:36:05 PM »
i am not questioning Bruckner's originality, but if you want to persuade me that he was not a "provincial idiot", explain to me why he had so little confidence in his own abilities? why so many versions of the same work?

That's not quite correct. His main concern was to get his works performed in the first place, however bastardized. He accepted a lot of suggestions by conductors who thought his work unplayable as originally written, simply for the sake of getting them performed. Much of these changes involved exactly removing the harmonic clashes Bruckner had written in the original. But his confidence in his own work as originally conceived is evidenced by the fact that he bequested many of his original scores to the Austrian National library. These have been the basis for undoing much of the damage that many of the edits have done to his scores. It wasn't so much lack of confidence as it was a compromise with the artistic tastes of his times for the purpose of getting his work performed at all.

Israfel also raises a good point. Brahms burned so much of his work that he thought inferior, so that we are left with what one might call an unrepresentative sample of works of uniformly exceptional caliber. Beethoven wrote and rewrote dozens of times before he was sufficiently happy with his work to have it published.

Offline Israfel the Black

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Re: Mahler Mania
« Reply #311 on: May 01, 2007, 03:42:30 PM »
That's not quite correct. His main concern was to get his works performed in the first place, however bastardized. He accepted a lot of suggestions by conductors who thought his work unplayable as originally written, simply for the sake of getting them performed. Much of these changes involved exactly removing the harmonic clashes Bruckner had written in the original. But his confidence in his own work as originally conceived is evidenced by the fact that he bequested many of his original scores to the Austrian National library. These have been the basis for undoing much of the damage that many of the edits have done to his scores. It wasn't so much lack of confidence as it was a compromise with the artistic tastes of his times for the purpose of getting his work performed at all.

Israfel also raises a good point. Brahms burned so much of his work that he thought inferior, so that we are left with what one might call an unrepresentative sample of works of uniformly exceptional caliber. Beethoven wrote and rewrote dozens of times before he was sufficiently happy with his work to have it published.

Excellent write up! Not to mention it took Brahms 14 years to complete his First Symphony. He cursed himself in the shadow of Beethoven, and as such influence extends to Bruckner, the same could be said for him as well. These masterminds set a standard so high for themselves that they constantly challenged the perfection of their work, while both still maintaining a deep integrity for their music. Beethoven himself revised frantically, and these two greatly influenced composers honor the obsessive perfection in Beethoven tradition.

Offline MishaK

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Re: Mahler Mania
« Reply #312 on: May 01, 2007, 03:52:59 PM »
Excellent write up! Not to mention it took Brahms 14 years to complete his First Symphony. He cursed himself in the shadow of Beethoven, and as such influence extends to Bruckner, the same could be said for him as well. These masterminds set a standard so high for themselves that they constantly challenged the perfection of their work, while both still maintaining a deep integrity for their music. Beethoven himself revised frantically, and these two greatly influenced composers honor the obsessive perfection in Beethoven tradition.

You could go even further: there is no true great artist who is ever really fully content with his work. The ability to produce ever greater masterpieces is grounded in a painful awareness of every minute inadequacy of one's own abilities and the obsession with attempting to overcome these inadequacies.

Steve

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Re: Mahler Mania
« Reply #313 on: May 01, 2007, 03:53:26 PM »
Excellent write up! Not to mention it took Brahms 14 years to complete his First Symphony. He cursed himself in the shadow of Beethoven, and as such influence extends to Bruckner, the same could be said for him as well. These masterminds set a standard so high for themselves that they constantly challenged the perfection of their work, while both still maintaining a deep integrity for their music. Beethoven himself revised frantically, and these two greatly influenced composers honor the obsessive perfection in Beethoven tradition.

Yes, I agree, Israfel the Black with much that you have said. History shall judge the merits of compitions, not the artists themselves. If we think of Bruckner as an isolated pragamatist, with no connection whatsoever to the romantic standards of the time , then we deny his role in the development of the genre. Why not simply accept the more plausible explaination, that he was simply that progressive?

Steve

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Re: Mahler Mania
« Reply #314 on: May 01, 2007, 03:54:29 PM »
You could go even further: there is no true great artist who is ever really fully content with his work. The ability to produce ever greater masterpieces is grounded in a painful awareness of every minute inadequacy of one's own abilities and the obsession with attempting to overcome these inadequacies.

Well put, O Mensch. I would add that it is time which is the arbiter of art.

Offline Israfel the Black

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Re: Mahler Mania
« Reply #315 on: May 01, 2007, 04:00:31 PM »
Yes, I agree, Israfel the Black with much that you have said. History shall judge the merits of compitions, not the artists themselves. If we think of Bruckner as an isolated pragamatist, with no connection whatsoever to the romantic standards of the time , then we deny his role in the development of the genre. Why not simply accept the more plausible explaination, that he was simply that progressive?

The fact he trained for 40 years before ever writing his first major composition alone shows he revered greatly the art and progressive power of music. I doubt such a staunch advocate of Wagner would not be a forward thinking composer, for Wagner was just that, and to side with him over Brahms, who many would say was more of a reactionary to modernism of the Romantic era. He was deemed as a radical in his time. I imagine he would have change his compositional style if he was simply a complacent who was disinterested in progression.

Steve

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Re: Mahler Mania
« Reply #316 on: May 01, 2007, 04:01:28 PM »
Some movements/parts of Mahler symphonies may be complex but over 50 % of what I have heard is not complex. In fact the music sounds like it's in sleep and I am screaming please, wake up!

Complexity is not only the amount of notes/bar, it's about how much music you have per one note.

I don't dislike Mahler. It's just easy listening and I get a little bored for it's simplicity and tediousness.

Why would that be the definition of complexity? Wouldn't one have to consider the structural arrangement of those notes?

Calling Mahler simple and tedious.... I'm dumbfounded.

Greta

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Re: The Great Mahler Debate
« Reply #317 on: May 01, 2007, 07:20:59 PM »
Okay, I have changed the title of this thread. It is now The Great Mahler Debate.

Do continue as you please! Any and all debate about the music is welcome - but please, refrain from personal attacks$:)

For discussing events of his life and specifics about his symphonies/lieder, there is the thread - Mahler Mania, Rebooted.

Of course, there will be some crossover, but things were getting so heated that it would be quite difficult at this point to get it back on a straight track. So instead, this thread has been set free. Hopefully this was a good idea, I guess we'll see.

Try to behave yourselves, guys. ;)

Right, as you were!

Greta

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Re: Mahler Mania
« Reply #318 on: May 01, 2007, 09:14:22 PM »
Quote
He simply adored Wagner.

I'm listening to Mahler's 5th now, and there are really so many connections between he and Wagner here. Such a landmark symphony for Mahler. The three works I hear strong links with are Tristan, Meistersinger, and Tannhauser and occasionally some Ring. It is very obviously Fascinating.

Tristan, in the exploring of chromaticism, and the Adagietto looks a little back to the Liebestod, and many smaller moments such as several minutes into the Rondo-Finale. But several minutes before the end of the 1st movement are some very good examples. And the end of the movement is quite Wagnerian, Tannhauser comes into play. (Also the Chorale ending of the 5th symphony.)  Meistersinger has some influence at the end of the first mvmt too, and the Scherzo reminds me of "Dance of the Prentices".

I'm only just now really getting into listening to Mahler's 5th and realized these connections, also by coincidence I was recently listening to Wagner overtures in preparation for a concert I'm attending.

In a bio I'm reading, it states that he did indeed "adore" him, and "his Wagner interpretations were considered the marvels of their time". Somehow Wagner has a way of seeping into his interpreters. ;)  But also in the same sentence, he says "Mahler's music remained uninfluenced by the Wagnerian idiom" (this is Egon Gartenberg's book) I don't agree with that. While yes, Mahler was markedly different and unique, I'd say he was very much influenced by Wagner in some of his writing. Especially with the pivotal 5th symphony it shows.

I understand Mahler was also influenced by Bruckner occasionally as well, but I haven't embarked on the Bruckner adventure yet (ach, where to start?) so maybe someone else can comment on that more.

mahlertitan

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Re: Mahler Mania
« Reply #319 on: May 01, 2007, 09:25:23 PM »
I'm listening to Mahler's 5th now, and there are really so many connections between he and Wagner here. Such a landmark symphony for Mahler. The three works I hear strong links with are Tristan, Meistersinger, and Tannhauser and occasionally some Ring. It is very obviously Fascinating.

Tristan, in the exploring of chromaticism, and the Adagietto looks a little back to the Liebestod, and many smaller moments such as several minutes into the Rondo-Finale. But several minutes before the end of the 1st movement are some very good examples. And the end of the movement is quite Wagnerian, Tannhauser comes into play. (Also the Chorale ending of the 5th symphony.)  Meistersinger has some influence at the end of the first mvmt too, and the Scherzo reminds me of "Dance of the Prentices".

I'm only just now really getting into listening to Mahler's 5th and realized these connections, also by coincidence I was recently listening to Wagner overtures in preparation for a concert I'm attending.

In a bio I'm reading, it states that he did indeed "adore" him, and "his Wagner interpretations were considered the marvels of their time". Somehow Wagner has a way of seeping into his interpreters. ;)  But also in the same sentence, he says "Mahler's music remained uninfluenced by the Wagnerian idiom" (this is Egon Gartenberg's book) I don't agree with that. While yes, Mahler was markedly different and unique, I'd say he was very much influenced by Wagner in some of his writing. Especially with the pivotal 5th symphony it shows.

I understand Mahler was also influenced by Bruckner occasionally as well, but I haven't embarked on the Bruckner adventure yet (ach, where to start?) so maybe someone else can comment on that more.

have you seen the movie "Mahler"?