Mahler’s Big Day


Even if you didn’t care, you probably saw this one: Gustav Mahler was born 150 years ago today (July 7th, 1860). Here‘s a nice article that collects some links (and reviews). Universal Edition has a blog set up (with a rather ominous “Meine Zeit wird kommen” as a slogan) dedicated to Mahler Anniversary Year with some interviews already up and so on. I’m sure there is more out there, but I’m too lazy to look.

11 thoughts on “Mahler’s Big Day

  1. Thanks for the reminder. Belated celebration on the other side of the pond. I should have remembered, given that he died on my birthday a few years before my actual birth, no doubt setting in place a mutually edifying spiritual kinship…

    • One is glad to be of service. Have you by any chance read those gigantic volumes by Henry-Louis De La Grange? I’m saving those for some future retirement day, but I’m yet to meet anyone who actually attempted the feat.

      By the way, thanks for recommending Terteryan, he’s quite a composer, I’m really enjoying his symphonies.

  2. Not read Henry-Louis De La Grange, but I’m aware of them. I’ve mostly stuck with the more trivial stuff by Alma Mahler and Bruno Walter concerning Mahler’s famously erratic “gait.” Although, Adorno’s book on Mahler was quite good.

    Glad you’re enjoying the Terteryan. It’s a shame his symphonies aren’t performed more.

  3. Mikhail, have you read the Wittgenstein collection that Winch published as “Culture & Value”? (really a bunch of stray notebook entries on everything from Shakespeare & Goethe to Judaism…) Anyway, scattered therein are some thoughts on music. (L.W. said that a particular movement, I think from Brahms, had held him back from suicide). I thought of it just now because of the stark contrast he draws between Mahler (he’s against him) and Bruckner (thumbs-up). I have thought off-and-on about the musical in Wittgenstein for years and I feel no closer to figuring it out (if there’s anything to figure), but since you clearly have good taste and seem to care about the music/philosophy interface, I thought I’d ask.

    • No, I haven’t looked at those. But if he’s against Mahler and for Bruckner, then I’ll probably hate whatever he has to say. The only person I’ve ever met who genuinely liked Bruckner was a friend of mine who played French horn (or something of that nature) and Bruckner always had plenty of good parts for him. I personally think Shostakovich is the pinnacle of that kind of symphonic tradition, so why bother with anything else?

      • I’ll defer to you, but only ’cause it’s your blog.
        (muttering something sotto voce that sounds like it might start with ‘pr…’)

      • Don’t get me wrong, Bryan, I love me some Prokofiev, but as a culmination of the symphonic tradition he is too innovative, too outside of the proverbial box. Remember, we were talking about folks like Mahler/Bruckner and certainly Shostakovich is more in that tradition than Prokofiev. Me thinks…

      • when you put it that way, I rather see what you mean, I think. Truth be told, my patience with the symphony wears, not nonexistent but thin, after (dare I even say it…?) Brahms. (There. now I’m permanently tarred with the conservative brush.) The later we get, the more impatient I get. Smaller chamber works I can listen to right up to today, but the large-scale orchestral pieces feel very problematic to me. Maybe that is why P. appeals to me– precisely because he is ‘outside the box’. But your point is well taken that is we start with Mahler &/or Bruckner, (as opposed to, say, “Russian music”), S. is closer and more organically connected.

      • I do like smaller works myself (again, Shostakovich’s string quartets are great), but I think it’s absolutely normal to be impatient with symphonies or larger works (think 3-4 hour operas) – we, moderns, just don’t have the attention span. What I usually do it listen one movement as a time, again and again, and then put it all together in one good listen, then at least I can recognize all the elements, themes, developments etc etc…

        And I do like Brahms, I don’t think it’s a sign of conservatism…

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