Author Topic: Mahler Mania, Rebooted  (Read 611045 times)

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Offline MishaK

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Re: Mahler Mania, Rebooted
« Reply #100 on: May 09, 2007, 07:21:08 AM »
La Grange in his book Gustav Mahler

And what's his source?

Marc

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Re: Mahler Mania, Rebooted
« Reply #101 on: May 09, 2007, 09:14:31 AM »
I'm not ignoring you, Marc. I'm still digesting your post and will reply eventually.

Sarge

Sarge, no problem at all. Take your time.
(Actually, when I myself read my posting again, I must admit that it looks like some kind of a heavy 'outburst'. But, while talking about Mahler and his music, I permit myself to do that once in a while. ;))

Offline from the new world

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Re: Mahler Mania, Rebooted
« Reply #102 on: May 09, 2007, 10:32:23 AM »
That's one consideration but it doesn't explain why one conductor's Adagietto is 7 minutes long and another's 15.

Though one thing to mention is that the nearly 17 minute adagietto played by Cobra, is deliberately played at half the intended tempo, so is actually equivalent to 8.5 min. This explains why he takes over 2 hours to do a Schubert 9th, and 80 minutes for Beethoven's 7th.

Steve

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Re: Mahler Mania, Rebooted
« Reply #103 on: May 09, 2007, 10:41:30 AM »
That is all very lovely but where to find the bloody thing. I've been wanting to hear it for years and never could track down a copy.

Mine, was in the form of a gift. I will find out where he obtained it.  :)

Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: Mahler Mania, Rebooted
« Reply #104 on: May 10, 2007, 02:25:21 AM »
And what's his source?

Various: timings annotated in the conductors' scores are one source; reviews of the concerts; anecdotes written by people who were in the audience and noted the times.

Sarge
« Last Edit: May 10, 2007, 02:36:22 AM by Sergeant Rock »
the phone rings and somebody says,
"hey, they made a movie about
Mahler, you ought to go see it.
he was as f*cked-up as you are."
                               --Charles Bukowski, "Mahler"

Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: Mahler Mania, Rebooted
« Reply #105 on: May 10, 2007, 03:35:49 AM »
Wasn't this maybe the case with Mahler and Alma? Was he able to love her in the 'average' way? Didn't he want to love her in his 'own way'? Was this to be said in the 'Adagietto', like a kind of very personal love song?
Mahler and Mengelberg became close friends when Mahler visited the Netherlands. Maybe he discussed his feelings for Alma with Mengelberg and others? Like he did with Freud, in Leiden?

Sure. As I said before, why would Mengelberg make up the story? It's even possible Mahler told the conductor but didn't tell Alma what the music really meant...which would explain her silence on the subject. Now, whether the average person is still going to hear it as a "love song," even if Mahler meant that, I still doubt. Of course I consider myself the average person in this context  ;D

Quote
Für dich leben! Für dich sterben .... Almschi!

Tenth symphony: a love song??

Well, those final pages contain some of the most intensely emotional music ever written and surely express his feelings for Alma but yeah...what were those feelings? Love certainly, and a willingness to sacrifice himself, if only metaphorically...but I hear doubt too, and incredible pain.

Quote
How many of us are able to really feel this way for another human being?
Alma was much younger than Mahler; somehow I get the feeling that their interpretations of 'real love' were not the same. So she tried her 'luck' with others, like Gropius. Maybe Mahler could foresee this in an earlier stage? Maybe he was already amazed by the fact that this 'most wanted woman in Vienna and widely spread neighbourhood' fell in love with him. Could he really believe it?

This is the part of your post that gave me the most pause. It really hit home. I took it personally. In high school I fell in love with a girl everyone thought was way out of my league. I was a bit amazed too she fell for me and I often felt insecure...and jealous. She inspired a lot of poetry. When she left me suddenly and never talked to me again--literally never spoke to me again--I was devastated and it "ruined" my life. I quit university and joined the army in a grand "romantic" gesture. I continued to write poetry, the Jean Poems, over the next three decades. To me they are all love poems. In 1996 I contacted her when her mother died; we exchanged letters. She apologized for the way she'd treated me and admitted her life hadn't turned out well. I sent her a few of the poems, asking her if she'd like to read the entire cycle. I never heard from her again ;D

Attempting to read them objectively, I could see that my obsession with her might not be attractive, might not even be considered "love" to the average person. My poetry isn't the roses are red, violets are blue kind that people think of when thinking love poetry but are closer to the Rückertlieder and Winterreise in tone and mood.

JEAN FORTY-FIVE/SONNET TWENTY

You are my text, my reason to write. Not
a day has died since sixty-six, the Fall,
when you haven't appeared, disrupting thought
and dashing expectations like the "wrong"
notes in a sixteenth century madrigal
by Gesualdo that startle but enthrall
and weave us moody into dissonant
textures. You clash with my life; like a gong,
shatter my peaceful consonance in the light
of 9 p.m., walking down hillside vines;
the clashing note I use to fashion lines,
a song, as evening darkens into night,
broods into West where, still, a pale light shines,
where my text doth lie, my reason to write.



So, yeah, I understand what you mean when you say Mahler's idea of love wouldn't necessarily be Alma's. Your post made me think. Thank you.

Sarge


« Last Edit: May 10, 2007, 03:44:09 AM by Sergeant Rock »
the phone rings and somebody says,
"hey, they made a movie about
Mahler, you ought to go see it.
he was as f*cked-up as you are."
                               --Charles Bukowski, "Mahler"

karlhenning

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Re: Mahler Mania, Rebooted
« Reply #106 on: May 10, 2007, 03:57:21 AM »
Well, those final pages contain some of the most intensely emotional music ever written and surely express his feelings for Alma but yeah...what were those feelings? Love certainly, and a willingness to sacrifice himself, if only metaphorically...but I hear doubt too, and incredible pain.

What were those feelings, indeed!  That is part of music's seductive powers . . . it feels so genuine, so immediate, yet it is at the last impossible to map specific emotive content onto the music.

Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: Mahler Mania, Rebooted
« Reply #107 on: May 10, 2007, 03:59:41 AM »
What were those feelings, indeed!  That is part of music's seductive powers . . . it feels so genuine, so immediate, yet it is at the last impossible to map specific emotive content onto the music.

Your real name is Karl Hanslick, isn't it  ;D

Sarge
the phone rings and somebody says,
"hey, they made a movie about
Mahler, you ought to go see it.
he was as f*cked-up as you are."
                               --Charles Bukowski, "Mahler"

Offline PaulR

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Re: Mahler Mania, Rebooted
« Reply #108 on: May 10, 2007, 05:34:02 AM »
Szell and Maazel are both in the top tier and both are budget priced. I prefer Maazel because I'm in love with Kathleen Battle's voice...and because Maazel gives her all the room she needs.

Sarge
Thank you!

uffeviking

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Re: Mahler Mania, Rebooted
« Reply #109 on: May 10, 2007, 08:15:03 AM »
My latest additions to my Mahler collection are three DVDs from Philips, Symphonies No. 1 & 2, next DVD No. 3 and the third Nos. 4 & 7, all conducted by Bernard Haitink and played by the Berliner Philharmoniker. All performances are from the early nineties.

So far I only watched No. 1 and really like it. Surprised by Haitink's visible involvement and lively actions, to the extent of allowing himself one leap of at least 3 inches off the podium. Only Lenny did not; unexpected from the usually cool Dutchman.

The orchestra is of course at it's best; they show how much they like playing this music guided and encouraged by the Maestro. The strings swing in the air of the huge Philharmonie, filled to the last seat. Both the woodwinds and the horns raise up their instruments to let us hear to the fullest the glorious sounds.

I am looking foreward to watch the next four symphonies and then I hope Philips will release all of them. Maybe they already did, but I have not found the source for them yet. 

Marc

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Re: Mahler Mania, Rebooted
« Reply #110 on: May 10, 2007, 09:58:39 AM »
What were those feelings, indeed!  That is part of music's seductive powers . . . it feels so genuine, so immediate, yet it is at the last impossible to map specific emotive content onto the music.

This, I think, is true. Our discussion about the Adagietto and the Rückert-song is another prove of that.

Sarge, about your reaction to my contributions, I couldn't decide whether I should place it on the forum or send you a PM. Because it belongs to the above-mentioned discussion, I finally thought it better to place it here:

I felt a bit insecure while reading your post. It was very emotional, very personal. I hope I didn't disturb you.

I tried to say something about love, and the meaning of love, in general, with Mahler's music somewhere floating in the background. Of course everyone has got their own experiences with feelings of love. Of course I do have them, too.

I know there are people who feel ruined when their overwhelming feelings of love aren't returned in a more or less satisfying way. I also think (know?) there are people who feel enrichened with whatever experience of love they feel or endure. They are somehow able to sublimate their feelings of grief into feelings of .... some sort of comfort and even happiness. (For example: happy just to give love without the taking.)
Of course Mahler suffered, and he must have suffered from the fact that Alma didn't return his love for her the way he wanted, or had hoped for. He kept on loving her any way. In his own way, in his own heaven .... maybe. (I admit I'm guessing, I'm not a graduated shrink ;). Or I'm just forcing myself to conclude something that 'proves' my hypothesis about the Rückert-song. [;) again].)

Maybe that's what some parts of his musical heritage is all about. His own picture of an idyllic alpine meadow, with a loving untouchable woman sitting in the grass. Withdrawn from the real world, and loving this 'Belle Dame sans Merci' in his own created world, his own idea of heaven. Maybe that's what I wanted to say in my posts.

Well, just another stream of thoughts. I'd like to add that I understand what you talked about in your reaction. Maybe this was your own 'Mahlerite' experience of love, or something that looked like that. Love is .... lovely, but in some cases it's also a lot of pain.
Thanks for your very personal contribution. It takes some courage to do that.


Regards,

Marc.


BTW: I had some problems to decide to write this in a PM or at the forum, mainly because of your personal associations, caused by my contributions. It's not my 'average' way to connect music this close to human emotions and feelings, and share that with 'every one' on a forum. I didn't think of the possible consequenses. Before you know it, this forum is about very personal subjects, and then there's always the risk of hurting someone (even when one didn't mean to). Although I really feel there is 'something' going on when listening to music. Mahler's music sometimes is a rather intruding example of that (not always, it really depends on my own state of mind). But of course, Karl 'Hanslick' Henning is right: what specific emotions are we talking about, when listening to - for instance - Schubert's string quintet or a Mahler song? I guess it can be almost anything, even when - as we proved - (poetic) lyrics are added. So many times, even though music can unite us all, we are, with our feelings, while listening and enjoying, .... allein in unserm Lied.
« Last Edit: May 10, 2007, 10:11:17 AM by Marc »

Offline MishaK

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Re: Mahler Mania, Rebooted
« Reply #111 on: May 10, 2007, 10:18:42 AM »
But of course, Karl 'Hanslick' Henning is right: what specific emotions are we talking about, when listening to - for instance - Schubert's string quintet or a Mahler song? I guess it can be almost anything, even when - as we proved - (poetic) lyrics are added.

Which brings me to another point. What is far more important than the emotions conveyed at one given point or another of the piece, is the emotional progression or development of the interpretation. By analogy, you can plausibly interpret the role of Hamlet in the play in many different ways. You can make him an introvert or an extrovert, etc. But most important is that the character development is logical and plausible such that the audience will follow you. He can't already be stark raving mad in Act I. It's the same with music. Any given movement cannot be emotionally flat and constant from beginning to end. It has to have a development. Whether you see the Adagietto as a confession of deep love or as an estrangement from the world, either way is fine. But you have to plausibly convey that to the audience. And that depends on how you get from A to B, how you transition between the different elements of the movement, how you build toward the climax and how you let it dissolve thereafter. If this is plausible and convincing, you will have the audience eatnig out of your hand. That's why these comparisons of timings are of little help in assessing the qualities of a given interpretation.

Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: Mahler Mania, Rebooted
« Reply #112 on: May 10, 2007, 12:47:44 PM »
That's why these comparisons of timings are of little help in assessing the qualities of a given interpretation.

Since a conductor has to choose a tempo I assume he has reasons; and one of those reasons must be because it fits his interpretive goals. Tempo isn't the only thing that matters, of course, but it's primary, I think. Lenny wouldn't have gotten the same profound sense of grief and desolation had he chosen to play a seven minute Adagietto at JFK's funeral.

I think a discussion of tempo is vitally important when discussing performances and what they mean to us.

Sarge
the phone rings and somebody says,
"hey, they made a movie about
Mahler, you ought to go see it.
he was as f*cked-up as you are."
                               --Charles Bukowski, "Mahler"

Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: Mahler Mania, Rebooted
« Reply #113 on: May 10, 2007, 12:57:20 PM »

I felt a bit insecure while reading your post. It was very emotional, very personal. I hope I didn't disturb you.

No, not at all...my feelings are like old friends; I know them intimately. I just hadn't thought about some things in a very long time but I appreciated the opportunity you gave me to delve into my past again. I just hope I didn't disturb you! Poets are natural exhibitionists, you know, and we can cause embarrassment and/or giggles just like a streaker dashing through a crowd ;D  My favorite poet, John Berryman, used to say a poet couldn't be afraid to make a fool of himself in print. I've taken that to heart  :D

Sarge
« Last Edit: May 10, 2007, 01:04:49 PM by Sergeant Rock »
the phone rings and somebody says,
"hey, they made a movie about
Mahler, you ought to go see it.
he was as f*cked-up as you are."
                               --Charles Bukowski, "Mahler"

Offline MishaK

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Re: Mahler Mania, Rebooted
« Reply #114 on: May 10, 2007, 01:07:27 PM »
I think a discussion of tempo is vitally important when discussing performances and what they mean to us.

Sure, but only if one discusses tempo in relation to the rest of the interpretation. There are 9-minute Adagiettos that seem interminable and 12-minute Adagiettos that one wishes would go on forever. In and of itself, tempo alone is not a very informative variable.

Don

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Re: Mahler Mania, Rebooted
« Reply #115 on: May 10, 2007, 01:27:21 PM »
Sure, but only if one discusses tempo in relation to the rest of the interpretation. There are 9-minute Adagiettos that seem interminable and 12-minute Adagiettos that one wishes would go on forever. In and of itself, tempo alone is not a very informative variable.

I agree.  Tempo is one of the important variables, but more important is what the conductor/performer does with it.  For example, Gardiner tends to use quick tempos in his Bach Cantata recordings, giving the music a more celebratory element than one of reverence.  McCreesh also uses quick tempos, often giving off a rushed, not celebratory nature.

Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: Mahler Mania, Rebooted
« Reply #116 on: May 10, 2007, 01:58:53 PM »
Sure, but only if one discusses tempo in relation to the rest of the interpretation. There are 9-minute Adagiettos that seem interminable and 12-minute Adagiettos that one wishes would go on forever. In and of itself, tempo alone is not a very informative variable.

Of course not, but we're laying the foundation here: seeing what the range of tempi is first so we can then begin to compare what the conductors do with their chosen speeds. My theory, born out by listening to a dozen and more versions, is that a slower speed has a profound affect on the mood the Adagietto projects. Rushed through at seven or eight minutes, no matter what else the conductor does, isn't going to give you that same mood. If you can provide an example of a speed demon conductor who makes a dirge out of the movement at that speed, I'd like to hear it.

Sarge
« Last Edit: May 10, 2007, 02:04:36 PM by Sergeant Rock »
the phone rings and somebody says,
"hey, they made a movie about
Mahler, you ought to go see it.
he was as f*cked-up as you are."
                               --Charles Bukowski, "Mahler"

Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: Mahler Mania, Rebooted
« Reply #117 on: May 10, 2007, 02:02:33 PM »
Tempo is one of the important variables

In and of itself, tempo alone is not a very informative variable.

Tempo isn't the only thing that matters, of course

Good, we're all in complete agreement  ;D

Sarge
the phone rings and somebody says,
"hey, they made a movie about
Mahler, you ought to go see it.
he was as f*cked-up as you are."
                               --Charles Bukowski, "Mahler"

uffeviking

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Re: Mahler Mania, Rebooted
« Reply #118 on: May 10, 2007, 02:17:16 PM »
Watched Mahler's Symphony No. 2 this afternoon and it's as excellent as No. 1. Sylvia McNair and Jard van Nes are the soloists and the Ernst-Senff-Choir's massed voices putting a glorious finishing touch to this work.

Bernard Haitink and the Berliner Philharmoniker are again a superb team and it is amazing how the musicians respond to the conducting with an exactness not often achieved. When Haitink calls for the end, there is not one note to be heard, not a fraction of a note as so often happens with other orchestras, some flute or horn trailing a tiny bit. Not in this performance, everything is perfect.

Marc

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Re: Mahler Mania, Rebooted
« Reply #119 on: May 13, 2007, 09:21:11 AM »
I am looking foreward to watch the next four symphonies and then I hope Philips will release all of them. Maybe they already did, but I have not found the source for them yet. 

AFAIK, on DVD, this is all, Haitink doing Mahler 'live' in Berlin. Both the live videos and the studio CD's were stopped by Philips before Haitink could finish his second (third, if you include the live videos) complete cycle. Can't remember why. Maybe they thought: there are already too much Mahler cycles, and maybe the sales figures were too low.
To me personally: a pity; because I was very curious about Haitink's Berliner Ninth. But it turned out to be The Ninth that never was. :'(