Author Topic: The Great Mahler Debate  (Read 86935 times)

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Offline BachQ

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Re: Mahler Mania
« Reply #280 on: May 01, 2007, 09:47:32 AM »
I have probably heard 5 hours of Mahler's music.

And you've spent 15 hours posting about Mahler's music . . . . . .

Offline 71 dB

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Re: Mahler Mania
« Reply #281 on: May 01, 2007, 10:24:23 AM »
And you've spent 15 hours posting about Mahler's music . . . . . .


I have listened some Mahler symphonies after that statement so it's closer to 10 hours now.  ;D
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Offline BachQ

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Re: Mahler Mania
« Reply #282 on: May 01, 2007, 10:44:03 AM »
I have listened some Mahler symphonies after that statement so it's closer to 10 hours now.  ;D

Excellent.  One should avoid falling below a one-to-one ratio (1:1) between the amount of time spent discussing a particular composer viz. the amount of time spent listening to a particular composer  ::) . . . . . .

Offline Israfel the Black

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Re: Mahler Mania
« Reply #283 on: May 01, 2007, 01:29:05 PM »
Interesting - considering that there is a direct link between the music of Schubert and Bruckner, in terms of the one influencing the other.

(My point is only that there may be all different connections between musical works, and it may be hazardous to make inferences on the basis of some connections rather than others.)

I didn't exactly just make an inference. I made a reference, because I am interested in exposing another to the works of a great composer. I can't possibly fathom your point. It's the nature of communication. There is nothing hazardous or lost in such an action. If he does not see the same connection that I find in Bruckner and Elgar, he can simply listen to something else. Something to gain, however, is two people who can relate the same interests and perhaps, better understand the music of two great composers. I am simply relating my experiences with the composer to another. How else should one conduct themselves on a forum which discusses classical music? It all seems very sensible to me sir. I respect your inclination toward discretion, but there is little at risk in offering a suggestion on the hope someone will relate the same interests.

As for the direct connection between Bruckner and Schubert, I have not heard or seen so much as that. Perhaps there is some influence, but the only direct connection between Bruckner's music which is popularly understood or known would be of that to Beethoven and Wagner. I would even note the relation between Bach and Bruckner before Schubert, to be sure. Unless of course, you are simply making your own subjective observation, in which case, I will future consider.

Choo Choo

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Re: Mahler Mania
« Reply #284 on: May 01, 2007, 01:33:17 PM »
Fine.  Have it your own way.  I am happy to defer to your greater knowledge of Bruckner.

Offline Israfel the Black

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Re: Mahler Mania
« Reply #285 on: May 01, 2007, 01:39:59 PM »
Well, if you feel it is necessary. Although I was under the impression we were discussing the value of aesthetic judgment and not so much the composer.

Choo Choo

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Re: Mahler Mania
« Reply #286 on: May 01, 2007, 01:48:28 PM »
Not really.  The connections with Schubert, for example, are a matter of record.  Not only did they share the same counterpoint teacher (not at the same time, obviously) but a number of Bruckner's early works, including piano pieces, were, by his own account, heavily influenced by Schubert (and also Schumann).

You can certainly argue that the influence of Beethoven and Wagner was greater on the later compositions - but the issue is not between the influence of Schubert versus the influence of Beethoven, but the influence of Schubert (a matter of record) versus the connection to Elgar (as perceived by you.)  In asserting so confidently the superiority of the latter over the former, you appear to elevate your own judgement over the documentary record.

That is what I meant.

Choo Choo

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Re: Mahler Mania
« Reply #287 on: May 01, 2007, 01:54:18 PM »
I should add, I am not saying that there is no merit in the connection to Elgar.  Not at all.  I, for example, find pre-echoes in Bruckner's 3rd Symphony of the minimalist works of Steve Reich and Terry Riley.  However I consider that to be mainly a fact about my own listening experience, and would be very doubtful about asserting it as carrying any significance for the works themselves.

But that's enough Bruckner.  This is supposed to be about Mahler.  Sorry everybody.

Greta

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Re: Mahler Mania
« Reply #288 on: May 01, 2007, 02:07:04 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? ;)

mahlertitan

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Re: Mahler Mania
« Reply #289 on: May 01, 2007, 02:10:14 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 quite fun one way or the other. >: ;D

Offline MishaK

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Re: Mahler Mania
« Reply #290 on: May 01, 2007, 02:12:27 PM »
I, for example, find pre-echoes in Bruckner's 3rd Symphony of the minimalist works of Steve Reich and Terry Riley. 

Exactly! As I have mentioned on the old board, I find Bruckner fascinating precisely because his music seems to simultaneously contain memories of a very ancient past (the traces of old church music contained in his brass chorales) and looks forward to a more distant future (minimalism, atonality etc.) than any of his contemporaries.

Offline Israfel the Black

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Re: Mahler Mania
« Reply #291 on: May 01, 2007, 02:13:29 PM »
Not really.  The connections with Schubert, for example, are a matter of record.  Not only did they share the same counterpoint teacher (not at the same time, obviously) but a number of Bruckner's early works, including piano pieces, were, by his own account, heavily influenced by Schubert (and also Schumann).

You can certainly argue that the influence of Beethoven and Wagner was greater on the later compositions - but the issue is not between the influence of Schubert versus the influence of Beethoven, but the influence of Schubert (a matter of record) versus the connection to Elgar (as perceived by you.)  In asserting so confidently the superiority of the latter over the former, you appear to elevate your own judgement over the documentary record.

That is what I meant.

I am more arguing this notion of a direct connection or influence in the works of Bruckner and Schubert based from your original statement. There may be some influence, as I noted, but your suggestion was as if I should have recognized such influence instantly in my experience with Bruckner when it is not strongly evident in his music, nor commonly known from my experience, and perhaps only in those earlier works. I am sure Bruckner draws on many influences, Schubert included, but I don't usually see the association of the two. Bruckner's use of harmony and counterpoint was an expertise Schubert himself considered himself lacking in, quite the contrary for say Beethoven, Wagner, or even Bach. I would say there is even a stronger influence of an organ savvy Brahms in Bruckner. Once again, I never considered the connection so I shall play closer attention in the future given your sources.

I should add, I am not saying that there is no merit in the connection to Elgar.  Not at all.  I, for example, find pre-echoes in Bruckner's 3rd Symphony of the minimalist works of Steve Reich and Terry Riley.  However I consider that to be mainly a fact about my own listening experience, and would be very doubtful about asserting it as carrying any significance for the works themselves.

But that's enough Bruckner.  This is supposed to be about Mahler.  Sorry everybody.

This is far more in line with what I am talking about in terms of musical relationships. The popular influences of such and such composers are well known, but I am more interested in finding uncanny musical relationships between composers of different eras. I am prone to agree with your assessment of minimalist undertones in the 3rd Symphony, although I am inclined to lean toward a Glass connection over Reich  ;).

Offline Israfel the Black

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Re: Mahler Mania
« Reply #292 on: May 01, 2007, 02:19:25 PM »
Exactly! As I have mentioned on the old board, I find Bruckner fascinating precisely because his music seems to simultaneously contain memories of a very ancient past (the traces of old church music contained in his brass chorales) and looks forward to a more distant future (minimalism, atonality etc.) than any of his contemporaries.

I find the relationship more in his repetitive arpeggios and sense of harmonic rhythm. I may be alone in this department but I don't find Bruckner hinting at much atonality in his works, though I would certainly say he was progressive. He seems more like tonality on overload, this is why I would link him closer to say Philip Glass over Steve Reich.

Choo Choo

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Re: Mahler Mania
« Reply #293 on: May 01, 2007, 02:27:01 PM »
I probably expressed myself badly.  At no point did I or do I wish to argue that there is something wrong with making the sort of connection you have been doing.  There may even be some historical basis for the link, in that Bruckner's music was generally well received in 19thC England - his 7th, particularly so - to the extent that at one stage he even entertained fantasies of moving to England "where I am appreciated" (it being a bad time for him in Vienna just then.)  So it is feasible that Elgar may have been exposed to Bruckner's music in the pre-WWI days before anti-German sentiment set in.  I really don't know - for me this is just a speculation.  It's interesting - but a speculation.  The Schubert link to Bruckner, however, is a matter of record (and not just the early works:  I've certainly read critics who claim to hear the influence of Schubert in the later symphonies as well.)

Choo Choo

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Re: Mahler Mania
« Reply #294 on: May 01, 2007, 02:31:59 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? ;)

How about this: the Bruckner piece where the link to minimalism (and I do mean Reich rather than Glass) appears (to me) at its strongest is ... the piano transcription of Symphony no.3 by the 17-year-old Gustav Mahler.

There!  Phew.

Offline MishaK

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Re: Mahler Mania
« Reply #295 on: May 01, 2007, 02:40:37 PM »
I may be alone in this department but I don't find Bruckner hinting at much atonality in his works, though I would certainly say he was progressive. He seems more like tonality on overload, this is why I would link him closer to say Philip Glass over Steve Reich.

Who have you heard in the 9th? A lot of conductors tend to underplay the harmonic clashes in Bruckner, practically balancing them out of existence. But say what you want, the 9th is full of amazing dissonances. That huge clash at the climax of the Adagio could be straight out of the Rite of Spring. Barenboim once observed that when he first heard the Scherzo of the 9th he thought it was some strange Shostakovitch. There is definitely a lot more hints of the future than just minimalism (which there is certainly plenty of in the countless string ostinatos of all of his mature works, the opening of the 3rd that you mention is a great example).

Offline Israfel the Black

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Re: Mahler Mania
« Reply #296 on: May 01, 2007, 02:41:36 PM »
I probably expressed myself badly.  At no point did I or do I wish to argue that there is something wrong with making the sort of connection you have been doing.  There may even be some historical basis for the link, in that Bruckner's music was generally well received in 19thC England - his 7th, particularly so - to the extent that at one stage he even entertained fantasies of moving to England "where I am appreciated" (it being a bad time for him in Vienna just then.)  So it is feasible that Elgar may have been exposed to Bruckner's music in the pre-WWI days before anti-German sentiment set in.  I really don't know - for me this is just a speculation.  It's interesting - but a speculation.  The Schubert link to Bruckner, however, is a matter of record (and not just the early works:  I've certainly read critics who claim to hear the influence of Schubert in the later symphonies as well.)

Indeed, fascinating observation! Once again, I can see the Schubert influence and have acknowledged your sources; my argument was simply that there does not seem to be an undeniable direct connection, insofar as being a primary influence or popularly association.

mahlertitan

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Re: Mahler Mania
« Reply #297 on: May 01, 2007, 02:42:20 PM »
i wouldn't link Bruckner to any other composer, he was a unique case.

Offline MishaK

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Re: Mahler Mania
« Reply #298 on: May 01, 2007, 02:43:51 PM »
i wouldn't link Bruckner to any other composer, he was a unique case.

Given his very direct quotations from Beethoven it is hard not to.

Offline Israfel the Black

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Re: Mahler Mania
« Reply #299 on: May 01, 2007, 02:46:44 PM »
Who have you heard in the 9th? A lot of conductors tend to underplay the harmonic clashes in Bruckner, practically balancing them out of existence. But say what you want, the 9th is full of amazing dissonances. That huge clash at the climax of the Adagio could be straight out of the Rite of Spring. Barenboim once observed that when he first heard the Scherzo of the 9th he thought it was some strange Shostakovitch. There is definitely a lot more hints of the future than just minimalism (which there is certainly plenty of in the countless string ostinatos of all of his mature works, the opening of the 3rd that you mention is a great example).

I never questioned his dissonances. Bruckner was very progressive, as I acknowledged. He foreshadowes much of modern music, but not to the degree of atonality. I am not one of those who simply associate one with the other. Mozart could be very dissonant, along with Desprez and Beethoven, yet I wouldn't quite consider them playing with atonality. In fact, quite the contrary. It seemed more as experimenting with the possibility's of tonality. Bruckner can be very dissonant, most certainly, and one of the forerunners. Yet, as I previously mentioned, I see very little instances or suggestions of atonality in Bruckner's music, perhaps not at all.