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Gustav Mahler

After creating the "Conductor of the 20th Century" poll, I did not realize there were so many Mahler fans on DL.

What is your favorite symphony he wrote?

Favorite recording of favorite symphony?

Favorite non symphonic piece?

Favorite recording of favorite non symphonic piece?

Add anything else you want to add about Herr Gustav Mahler.

Mahler is to classical music what Kafka is to literature.

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by Anonymousreply 154February 3, 2022 10:40 PM

Favorite Symphony? No. 1

Favorite recording? Claudio Abbado conducting the Berliner Philharmonic (1992)

Favorite non symphony? Das Lied von der Erde, but not too familiar with it. Remember thinking it was beautiful, but long.

Recording? Not sure

I always felt Abbado understood Mahler better than Bernstein though.

by Anonymousreply 1January 11, 2022 7:09 PM


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by Anonymousreply 2January 11, 2022 7:10 PM

In some pictures, he looks sort of like Stephen Colbert.

by Anonymousreply 3January 11, 2022 7:13 PM

Das Lied von der Erde (esp. Ludwig/Wunderlich with Klemperer)

by Anonymousreply 4January 11, 2022 7:15 PM

R4 I will have to give that a listen. I don't understand the Liv Ullmann reference, can you explain please?

by Anonymousreply 5January 11, 2022 7:18 PM

[quote]Mahler is to classical music what Kafka is to literature.

Oh, that's too bad.

by Anonymousreply 6January 11, 2022 7:20 PM

i have performed a few. the first is a perennial favorite though

by Anonymousreply 7January 11, 2022 7:20 PM

I love classical music but I've never gotten Mahler. His music always sounds whiny, over-the-top, and way too dramatic without being interesting. For late 19th century music/early 20th I prefer Dvorak, Sibelius, Debussy, etc.

Can one of you fans explain why you like him?

by Anonymousreply 8January 11, 2022 7:34 PM

Das Klagende Lied

by Anonymousreply 9January 11, 2022 7:41 PM

R8 "always sounds whiny, over-the-top, and way too dramatic without being interesting"

This is literally DL.

by Anonymousreply 10January 11, 2022 7:50 PM

Ninth is the greatest. First movement is the apotheosis of Mahler's work and life.

[quote]Mahler is to classical music what Kafka is to literature.

This is how high school sophomores in private college prep schools talk. Don't. But since you started it, OP, the correct analogy is "Mahler is to music what Mann is to literature. SATIE in a rare bad mood analogizes with Kafka, dear.

by Anonymousreply 11January 11, 2022 7:58 PM

He made the *best* pastries!

by Anonymousreply 12January 11, 2022 8:02 PM

[quote] Mahler is to classical music what Kafka is to literature

What can that possibly mean?

They're both Austrian? They both had two eyes and black hair?

Aphorisms and metaphors are supposed to contain a morsel of wit or truth.

by Anonymousreply 13January 11, 2022 8:02 PM

the film bio

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by Anonymousreply 14January 11, 2022 8:03 PM

Why do I like Mahler's music, r8? Perhaps because it can be "way too dramatic," though I find that very interesting. I love that aspect of Springsteen's music as well. And I really loved the Phil Spector groups. I guess I like "over the top." Also, I love the melodies, very few of which I am able to perceive in Dvorak or Debussy (since you brought them up). I have very few of their recordings.

Do you find Sibelius' symphony no. 2 "dramatic"? I do, and that may be the reason it's the only piece of his music I really love.

OP, my favorites shift from 6 to 3 to 2. I love the very opening of 6, as well as the andante, which may be my very favorite movement in all of classical music. I love the grandness of all of these. Someone said something in the earlier thread about people "understanding" music. I, for one, do not understand music. I have no technical knowledge of anything. But I do know enough to recognize what I love to listen to.

My favorite recording of No. 6 is Bernstein's first recording on CBS. It's my imprint version, and because it's so much faster than other versions in the first movement, everyone else sounds kind of slow.

I like Abbado's No. 3 with the VPO. I also like Bernstein's CBS recording, but I usually play Abbado. Unlike with 6, I'm generally happy with any recording of this symphony.

As for No. 2, I like Abbado's Chicago recording, Bernstein's on DG (one of the slowest), Bernstein's on CBS with the NYPO, and Klemperer's from the Klemperer Legacy collection on EMI. I used to like Rattle's first version, but I don't listen to it much anymore.

Among his non-symphonic music, I'm not a big fan of DLVDE. I do like some of his songs and song cycles, though. Das Klagende Lied. Kindertotenlieder. And Lieder Und Gesange Aus Der Jugendzeit, which were added as makeweight at the end of Bernstein's Symphony No. 3. Here's one of them:

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by Anonymousreply 15January 11, 2022 8:03 PM

Another pieca Mahler. I'll drink to Mahler!

by Anonymousreply 16January 11, 2022 8:03 PM

At the expense if sounding dumb, is this the Mahler referred to in the song “Ladies Who Lunch”?

by Anonymousreply 17January 11, 2022 8:04 PM

No, r17, see r12.

by Anonymousreply 18January 11, 2022 8:06 PM

Yes, it is, r17.

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by Anonymousreply 19January 11, 2022 8:07 PM

R15 TMI, indigestible.

by Anonymousreply 20January 11, 2022 8:08 PM

Gustav Mahler = the pretentious version of Nelson Riddle.

by Anonymousreply 21January 11, 2022 8:09 PM

Gustav Mahler and Anton Bruckner = undisciplined messes.

by Anonymousreply 22January 11, 2022 8:11 PM

R18 I don’t get the remark at R12

by Anonymousreply 23January 11, 2022 8:13 PM

My favorite Mahler song is “The Ladies Who Lunch”.

by Anonymousreply 24January 11, 2022 8:17 PM


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by Anonymousreply 25January 11, 2022 8:17 PM

Mahler might do a good 'movement' but his symphonies are like David Lean in 1970.

Over-indulged and undisciplined. One lapse in judgement gets amplified into an embarrassing, irretrievable mess.

by Anonymousreply 26January 11, 2022 8:19 PM

So glad I don't listen with r26's set of perceptions.

by Anonymousreply 27January 11, 2022 8:22 PM

Mahler was last century's version of Sondheim.

by Anonymousreply 28January 11, 2022 8:26 PM

A matinee, a Pinter play - Another piece of Mahler’s …..

by Anonymousreply 29January 11, 2022 8:29 PM

[quote] Gustav: You know sometimes I think that artists are rather like hunters aiming in the dark. They don't know what their target is, and they don't know if they've hit it. But you can't expect life to illuminate the target and steady your aim. The creation of beauty and purity is a spiritual act.

[quote] Alfred: No Gustav, no. Beauty belongs to the senses. Only to the senses.

by Anonymousreply 30January 11, 2022 8:30 PM

His symphonies sound ponderous. Leonard Bernstein was his great champion, which doesn't say much for Lenny. Mahler's real revival came in the 70s/80s. Marty Peretz of the New Republic was a prominent champion in that era which didn't say much for Mahler. His wacky, self-involved wife Almaseems more interesting than him. She left him for Gropius (the architect), although otherwise she was drawn to Jewish men, while eventually having quite a few Nazi friends.

by Anonymousreply 31January 11, 2022 8:50 PM

[quote] Mahler is to classical music what Kafka is to literature.

Kafka is a dead end. A terminus.

by Anonymousreply 32January 11, 2022 8:51 PM

I love Mahler's "Ancient Evenings" because of all the gay butt sex but he was so rude and egotistical.


by Anonymousreply 33January 11, 2022 8:54 PM

Another vote for Das Lied von der Erde. Just spectacular and covers about every range of emotion. Sometimes I'm in a "To Youth" mood; sometimes in an "Absence" mood.

As far as the symphonies go, the most accessible is #4. And it's still my favorite. Bruckner's 7th Symphony is my favorite amount his oeuvre.

by Anonymousreply 34January 11, 2022 8:56 PM

"Yes, you sit at that piano every Sunday morning and play Mahler for Maris.

But you hate Mahler...

...Besides Maris, who doesn't?"

by Anonymousreply 35January 11, 2022 8:57 PM

I don't want to pay big money and get dressed up in my best clothes to go to a concert to hear a big, well-paid orchestra play the children's song 'Frère Jacques'.

Mahler insults me!

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by Anonymousreply 36January 11, 2022 9:06 PM

R32 is formally correct in terms of analogy but not in real terms of influence, rather than artistic paternity. "Terminus" is silly, considering how his pseudo-rationalistic approach to human experience in his art contributed, of course, to absurdism, psychological expressionism and surrealism and their later effects, as well as even-now-contemporary themes of the individual in the state, the meaning of freedom, the equality of the subjective with the objective, and the numerous shards stuck into nihilism.

by Anonymousreply 37January 11, 2022 9:08 PM


Who follows Kafka?

Whom was influenced by Kafka?

by Anonymousreply 38January 11, 2022 9:11 PM

I often listen to the 3rd movement of Symphony 2, all by itself. It is sinuous, explosive, gripping. I was imprinted by the Blomstedt Decca/London recording.

by Anonymousreply 39January 11, 2022 9:15 PM

I was imprinted by a Vergeltungswaffe Two.

by Anonymousreply 40January 11, 2022 9:17 PM

Hi [R5], I was raised watching Bergman films on video and always felt an affinity with her. All his actresses were amazing and arguably were in superior films to those he made with Liv, with the four great exceptions ( Persona, Cries and Whispers, Scenes from a Marriage, and Autumn Sonata).

Das Lied is Mahler's greatest work. The sixth and final movement, the Abschied--longer than the first five combined--is indescribably moving. You might want to listen to Ich bin der Welt abhenden gekommen (from his Rückert-Lieder) first, as it's the spiritual predecessor to the Abschied.

Most of the symphonies have at least one great movement. I rarely revisit them except the andante from the 6th, the adagios from the 4th and unfinished 10th. Arguments can be made for the greatness of the 9th, esp. its last few minutes, but I think he conveys the same feelings more interestingly in other pieces.

Whoever drew the connection between Kafka and Satie has strangely calibrated sensibilities. Their sensibilities and preoccupations belong to different universes. The Mann-Mahler connection makes a bit more sense but mostly has to do with Visconti's Death in Venice and Mann's infusing Aschenbach (a writer in the novella) with some Mahlerian traits. There's a lot more to Mann than Mahler and vice versa.

by Anonymousreply 41January 11, 2022 9:22 PM

Mahler's greatest achievement and the best recorded performance of it (fans of Kathleen Ferrier feel otherwise, but they're wrong).

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by Anonymousreply 42January 11, 2022 9:25 PM

[R38] Borges, for one.

by Anonymousreply 43January 11, 2022 9:27 PM

R42 Kathleen Ferrier's back-story is more potent than her voice.

by Anonymousreply 44January 11, 2022 9:29 PM

Wouldn't you just die without Mahler?

by Anonymousreply 45January 11, 2022 9:31 PM

[quote] Wouldn't you just die without Mahler?

No. Bruckner is Mahler's messy, older brother.

by Anonymousreply 46January 11, 2022 9:37 PM

Yes, [R44], her story and its obvious resonance with the themes of the work made the association indelible. It's a great performance, but I prefer the cosmic quality of Ludwig to Ferrier's intimacy.

by Anonymousreply 47January 11, 2022 9:40 PM

[quote] indelible

Performers are there on stage to performers the creator's work. Their private life is no one's else's business.

The irrelevant backstories we now see on TV talent shows is irrelevan, revolting over-emotionalism.

by Anonymousreply 48January 11, 2022 9:44 PM

His Lieder, especially the Ruckert Lieder. Fucking amazing.

Mahler wrote ppp much more beautifully than FFF.

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by Anonymousreply 49January 11, 2022 9:44 PM

[quote] Fucking

Speak for yourself, R49.

by Anonymousreply 50January 11, 2022 9:46 PM

Wasn't I?

by Anonymousreply 51January 11, 2022 9:47 PM

R28 is the Datalounger I would most like to marry.

by Anonymousreply 52January 11, 2022 9:55 PM

Sondheim was under the delusion he was this century's Mahler.

by Anonymousreply 53January 11, 2022 9:57 PM

^ Mahler couldn't write lyrics.

by Anonymousreply 54January 11, 2022 9:58 PM

Amazing how Mahler still inspires such opposing passions.

I'm just going to be the asshole here and say that it's fine not to enjoy Mahler's music, everyone has different tastes, but the criticisms (overindulgent, sloppy, messy, etc.) are the surest way to sniff out people who think they know something about music but don't really. The reason why Mahler's music became such a sensation in the 60s was of course due in part to Bernstein's advocacy, but basically because every important conductor since then recognized the music's greatness and caught the bug. Abbado, Mehta, Levine, Tennstedt, Chailly, Sinopoli, Rattle, the list goes on, all became Mahler specialists. Even Pierre Boulez (whose disdain for many 20th century composers was notorious) eventually became a great Mahler champion. The notion that Mahler became popular because of Marty Peretz and the New Republic is bizarre bordering on insane.

The fact is Mahler was a composer of genius whose scores are constructed with such intricacy and exactitude, with such contrapuntal ambition, and which mash-up musical styles in an extraordinary way, and are so emotional stirring and moving, but also deeply ambiguous. His work is the key progression in classical music post-Wagner and leading to the 2nd Viennese school. This is why performing Mahler is a prerequisite for basically every aspiring conductor post-Bernstein. It's not just audiences who love it, the musicians love it too.

My favorites are the 3rd, 4th, 6th, and 9th. It's hard to choose between them. But I love the others almost as much.

Favorite Mahler conductors would include Klemperer, Bernstein, Mitropoulos, and Tennstedt. Sometimes Karajan and Boulez.

by Anonymousreply 55January 11, 2022 10:10 PM

[quote] The reason why Mahler's music became such a sensation in the 60s was of course due in part to Bernstein's advocacy

And Visconti's movie.

by Anonymousreply 56January 11, 2022 10:17 PM

[quote] mash-up

That does NOT belong in a symphony, R55.

by Anonymousreply 57January 11, 2022 10:19 PM

[quote] It is sinuous

The tenth is very sinuous and quite satisfactory.

And it's only 26 minutes long.

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by Anonymousreply 58January 11, 2022 10:30 PM

[quote] Gustav Mahler

Suitable only for poseurs, intellectuals Jews and those who think it's OK to laugh along with tasteless clips like this—

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by Anonymousreply 59January 11, 2022 11:16 PM

I love Elgar, and have always thought he was quite the daddy (huge nose and all) when this photo was taken in 1900 (age 42-43).

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by Anonymousreply 60January 11, 2022 11:49 PM

Oh, fuck. I didn't fully read the OP post. Apologies. Nevermind.

by Anonymousreply 61January 11, 2022 11:51 PM

Mahler was championed by conductors before Bernstein including Klemperer, Stokowski, Walter, and Mitropoulos. The Mitropoulos Mahler1st on Columbia Masterworks Heritage is one of the all time great symphonic recordings. And the sound is astoundingly good for a recording of its age. The Solti 8th with Chicago and the Stokowski 2nd with the London Symphony in '74 are other classic recordings.

Also for the guy who only likes the Sibelius 2nd I recommend the 6 cd box just put out by Warner of Barbirolli's Sibelius recordings. It is very cheap and very wonderful. In fact everybody get it!

I'm not a fan of contraltos and in fact they no longer even exist but Kathleen Ferrier is one of the greatest singers we have recordings of.

by Anonymousreply 62January 12, 2022 12:23 AM

The Mahler referenced in The Ladies Who Lunch was Mahler's a Jewish bakery on lower 2nd Av. which closed in the 80s.

by Anonymousreply 63January 12, 2022 12:30 AM

^ What's he doing in those gloves? Out for a run in his dog-cart?

by Anonymousreply 64January 12, 2022 12:31 AM

[quote] The reason why Mahler's music became such a sensation in the 60s was of course due in part to Bernstein's advocacy,

That may be so in the US and due in part to Bernstein's TV shows.

But I deliberately sought out an ancient Englishman who was a commercial artist practicing in London in the 30s and 40s.

He couldn't understand my interest in Mahler saying it was all so much 'schmaltz'.

by Anonymousreply 65January 12, 2022 11:11 PM

[quote] the film bio

An unauthorised film biography R14.

I loved his composing room seen burning in this picture. But the decor was always the best part of Ken Russell movies

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by Anonymousreply 66January 12, 2022 11:21 PM

It's the composing hut, r66.

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by Anonymousreply 67January 12, 2022 11:26 PM


That hut is so cute.

by Anonymousreply 68January 12, 2022 11:52 PM

I was in the chorus for Mahler’s 8th, also called Symphony of a Thousand, as the first performance was done by 1000 musicians. It is definitely over the top. Two SSAATTBB choruses, a children’s chorus, eight soloists, a symphony orchestra and a half, and an organ. It was great fun to perform.

by Anonymousreply 69January 13, 2022 12:22 AM

It's almost always more fun to perform a work than to watch it.

You get to understand all the subtleties and how it's constructed.

by Anonymousreply 70January 13, 2022 12:25 AM

I feel that way about chamber music. Duos, trios , quartets must be a helluva lot more interesting to play than to listen to. Listening for any length of time for me soon gets tedious. But the interplay of musicians must be amazing to experience as a participant.

by Anonymousreply 71January 13, 2022 12:30 AM

[quote] Favorite non symphonic piece?

"Boom Boom (Let's Go Back to my Room)"

by Anonymousreply 72January 13, 2022 12:30 AM

I was a marching and concert band nerd in HS and college, so I love that Mahler frequently uses marches and strongly rhythmic dances. Plus he isn’t afraid to have his brass rip your face off with volume. Mahler was my first favorite composer (now, it’s R. Strauss) and was my introduction to long-form classical music in many ways. So I will always love him.

My favorite overall symphony might be 2. My imprint recording is Solti with Chicago, so I’m used to faster tempi.

Starting from most fav, the cycle for me is 2 > 3 > 1 > 4 > 7 > 9 > 6 > 5 > 10 > 8.

Other fav recordings are 3 (rare Haitink recording with VPO), 1 (Abbado and BPO), 4 (tennstedt with LPO), 7 (Abbado and BPO, Although Lenny and NYPO give a better start for the Finale), 9 (Boulez and CSO), 6 (Abbado and BPO), 5 (Abbado and BPO)

Fav moments are:

1 - 2nd mov overall

2 - March of the dead after the low brass chorale section of the 5th movement. It’s so thrilling! I always have to stand up and conduct a phantom orchestra. The climaxes during the 3rd mov are awesome as well, plus the charming clarinet lines.

3 - the 3 buildups and climaxes of the first movement. Exciting and hell to conduct and track the flow of the melodies around the orchestra. The choral movement is also fantastic, as is the adagio. The snippets from his songs and the content shared with the 4th symphony make this one a favorite.

4 - So gentle and welcoming. I heard this one in HS French class as we watched the film “La Maitre de Musique” with Jose Van Dame. The whole first movement is a joy, as is the Ruhevoll. And the last movement donated from the 3rd symphony is lovely.

5 - The horn scherzo is a showpiece and everybody loves the Adagietto.

6 - Many have mentioned the gorgeous Andante. The large orchestral parts to the final movement are also fantastic. He keeps a really nice even meter that makes the music fun to anticipate and feel catharsis.

7 - A gorgeous and often hated work. The end of the first movement is so much fun. The drama with the exaggerated triple meter is excellent, bouncing between the brass and strings. Plus the finale is my favorite in all of Mahler’s music. Just straight heat from the first timpani hits and the horn calls. The brass stays powerful and the strings give such glorious sounds. The meter jumps around, so you really have to pay attention to stay on beat. There’s a portion maybe 2/3 of the way through where the brass have a solo chorale and it’s just. Perfect. Then the strings come in and you get the thrilling conclusion. So good.

8 - hate it

9 - The first mov is lovely. But my favorite is the second movement and the great lines for low brass and horns.

by Anonymousreply 73January 13, 2022 1:17 PM

How anyone can hate the 8th is beyond me. It would be like hating the Berlioz Requiem.

by Anonymousreply 74January 13, 2022 1:24 PM

R69 I was also in the chorus for a production of 8! What an incredible time. I did study abroad in England & joined choir and it was the only thing we worked on. We rehearsed Mahler 8 for weeks and weeks. Then we finally got to the combined rehearsals and it was incredible. The choir ended up being a combo of our University choir, two other college choirs, 2 or 3 community choirs, 2 children's choirs, and I think one or two local church choirs. We didn't quite get to the "thousand" performers but it was close.

by Anonymousreply 75January 13, 2022 4:22 PM

I saw the 8th performed at the Kennedy Center sometime in the late '80s. Every singing gay in town was on stage for the event. It was lovely hearing people being enthusiastic about Mahler, and even nicer to watch and listen to the concert.

by Anonymousreply 76January 13, 2022 4:33 PM

I'd be interested to know what the 8th sounds like to somebody "buried in the mix" as a chorus member--I've only heard it as a spectator. And it was overwhelming.

Mahler, not Phil Spector, invented the "Wall of Sound"!

by Anonymousreply 77January 13, 2022 7:15 PM

I sang the eighth as a child - it has significant bits for boys choir - and it indeed felt like swimming upstream the whole time

by Anonymousreply 78January 13, 2022 7:26 PM

Sorry R74, I knew it would be a controversial opinion haha. I accept that #8 is one of his most loved and that #7 (one of my absolute favorites) ranks way lower with more people. I probably have pretty bad taste, TBH. I wasn’t a very good musician.

by Anonymousreply 79January 13, 2022 7:28 PM

Greatest Mahler moments? There are so many. But, I mean the end of the 2nd symphony will send shivers up just about anyone's spine. The last movement of the 3rd symphony - maybe the most beautiful thing he ever composed. The slow movement of the 4th symphony - exquisite perfection. The ecstasy of the final minutes of the 8th symphony. The first movement of the 9th symphony - maybe the greatest thing he ever composed. The list goes on and on.....

by Anonymousreply 80January 14, 2022 2:56 AM

R77, I was a bass so I was a few risers up from the bottom row, with the entire orchestra in front of me. Yeah, there were parts where I couldn't even hear myself singing because of the sheer amount of sound. It wasn't bad though, we were in an incredible performance space. One of my favourite musical experiences.

by Anonymousreply 81January 14, 2022 5:29 AM

We're friends with his grand nephew Steve here in Seattle. Great photographer & ceramic artist. (at least I think the relation was grand nephew- I remember talking to Steve's dad years before he passed & he said he was his great uncle)

by Anonymousreply 82January 14, 2022 6:02 AM

He made chocolate, right?

by Anonymousreply 83January 14, 2022 6:30 AM

An interesting take on the famous end of the 3rd. Not the best version, but I imagine this type of virtual performance is hard to pull off.

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by Anonymousreply 84January 14, 2022 6:49 AM

r77 - I sat in bleachers behind the orchestra. I was about 3/4 the way up. Mostly the orchestra wasn't overwhelming and I could hear most of the chorus. There were a couple of times when the choir was at full volume where it was a bit difficult to hear myself sing. I would guess the audience in the front seats would have been overwhelmed.

Famed Estonian conductor Neeme Järvi was the conductor. The orchestra was the Gothenburg Symphony augmented by about half of the Minnesota Orchestra. The chorus included the Orphei Drängar from Sweden as well as members from many of the area choirs. The children's part was sung by several of the local Children's Choirs.

It was recorded and broadcast over public radio.

by Anonymousreply 85January 14, 2022 8:26 AM

It's interesting that Mahler was writing his very long late romantic symphonies at the same time as Schoenberg and Webern were writing tiny compressed works that might only last 30 seconds- in the same city, running in the same circles. My favorite Mahler work is Das Lied von der Erde (The song of the earth). Taken from Chinese poetry with little bits of Chinoiserie thrown in to leaven the late European Romantic harmonic language. He didn't title it symphony simply out of superstition, because Beethoven had only written 9 symphonies and some composers afterwards thought that writing a symphony no. 9 would jinx him or it. Personally I would say that Mahler and Bruckner could both have benefitted from having a strict editor, but there are those who say that every word of Proust's Remembrance of things past is crucial, and likewise, many would say that every note in Mahler is crucial.

by Anonymousreply 86January 14, 2022 9:13 AM

Gustav Mahler = Too much bombast!

by Anonymousreply 87January 15, 2022 1:11 AM

I was really surprised that Shostakovich was heavily influenced by Mahler. It's very apparent in several of his symphonies.

by Anonymousreply 88January 15, 2022 2:07 AM

^ You mean Schoenberg, not Shostakovich.

by Anonymousreply 89January 15, 2022 2:43 AM

Which Shostakovich symphonies remind you of which Mahler symphonies, r88?

by Anonymousreply 90January 15, 2022 3:51 AM

I got turned on to Mahler (and by Mahler -I lost my virginity while listening to his 9th) in high school. I had read Richard Matheson's Bid Time Return (source novel for Somewhere In Time) and went to the public library to check out some Mahler recordings which had been featured so prominently in the book. I became an addict. He just "spoke" to me, I guess.

Mahler anecdote 1: I searched for nearly two years for a piano, as I am very picky about the sound. I would play the Adagietto from Mahler's 5th (not particularly well) to test each instrument. In one place -a huge warehouse with hundreds of pianos of nearly every make and age - the owner came running over to me as I tried out a 1915 Steinway, saying that anyone who played Mahler deserved his personal attention. He also confided the piano's soundboard had been repaired several times, and it wouldn't hold its tune.

Mahler anecdote 2: In college I got a job as a Saturday morning DJ of a classical music show on a local radio station. The station was indie rock, but they wanted the classical show for diversity (knowing damn well that no one would listen to it anyway). One Saturday I had my usual 2-hour slot doubled to four hours because the DJ after me was going to be out of town, so I programmed a Mahler marathon. I was surprised by a call-in during the third hour from one of my music professors, "I love Mahler as much as the next guy, but three hours? Enough already!" It was the only call I ever got while hosting the show...

My favorite piece is the 9th Symphony (on DG conducted by Carlo Maria Giulini), followed by the 5th (conducted by Klaus Tennstedt), and the 1st (conducted by Sir Adrian Boult). I had always thought of Boult as a conductor of Vaughan Williams and other English composers, but his 1958 recording of Mahler's 1st is breathtaking, and sonically better than many newer recordings.

Just in the last couple of weeks I discovered a BBC Proms concert of Gustavo Dudamel and the Simón Bolivar orchestra doing Mahler's 2nd that blew me away. There are several versions available on YouTube, but sadly there was no commercial release of the performance. The excerpt below is the finale of the fifth movement -a great place for non-Mahlerites to start their exploration.

And, in true Datalounge spirit, I will add that Mahler was hot and I'd have done him in a minute.

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by Anonymousreply 91January 15, 2022 4:52 AM

Shostakovich was hugely influenced by Mahler's symphonies - this is well documented. Boulez who, as noted upthread, spewed venom towards many 20th century composers he deemed insufficiently original/progressive, including Shostakovich, compared the composers: “Shostakovich plays with clichés most of the time, I find. It’s like olive oil, when you have a second and even third pressing, and I think of Shostakovich as the second, or even third, pressing of Mahler."

by Anonymousreply 92January 15, 2022 12:23 PM

[quote] Shostakovich was hugely influenced by Mahler's symphonies

Shostakovich may have have used similarly large orchestras like Mahler. But I don't know how you can claim he was an 'influence' because Shostakovich had so very much more to get him composing.

But listen to this. Schoenberg and Mahler worked together and the final minute of this work is a direct steal from Mahler's slithering tenth.

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by Anonymousreply 93January 15, 2022 9:21 PM

One of my favorite pieces, R93!

by Anonymousreply 94January 15, 2022 9:31 PM

Per Wikipedia (I know), much of Shostakovich's 4th Symphony is influenced by Mahler.

by Anonymousreply 95January 15, 2022 10:22 PM

I'm listening to Abbado's first recording of Symphony No. 2, with the CSO (1977). Generally, I like his first Mahler series more than his second.

by Anonymousreply 96January 16, 2022 5:14 PM

That's an insulting comparison OP Kafka is way overrated.

by Anonymousreply 97January 16, 2022 5:29 PM

Mahler-pretentious shit. He is No Kafka.

by Anonymousreply 98January 16, 2022 5:49 PM

r90, all of them, but particularly the later ones, frenetic whirling strings, snarling brass, clarion piercing upper woodwinds. all it took as one generation to go from existential viennese angst to gulag nihilism

by Anonymousreply 99January 16, 2022 6:08 PM

[quote] much of Shostakovich's 4th Symphony is influenced by Mahler.

Which part? What specifically?

by Anonymousreply 100January 16, 2022 8:19 PM

The great Decca classical music record producer John Culshaw(probably gay, never married, died on the youngish side in 1980) who was one of the most important people in developing and expanding the classical music market and recorded many great performances loathed Mahler. Like to the point where listening to him was upsetting. I originally felt the same way but have come around and now have many recordings of his music though he's still not one of my favorite composers.

by Anonymousreply 101January 16, 2022 9:11 PM

[quote] John Culshaw

I've listened to his interviews and he could be insufferably pretentious.

The company was determined to get more sales out of the FINITE pool of available music. So they'd be forced to resurrect European/Slavic no-hopers and flog them on to the public.

by Anonymousreply 102January 16, 2022 9:17 PM

After the record companies drained the small amount of decent composers they then got new recordings with "authentic instruments" to forces us to buy extra recordings.

by Anonymousreply 103January 16, 2022 9:28 PM

r101 Mahler > the Ring Cycle

by Anonymousreply 104January 16, 2022 9:33 PM

I agree

by Anonymousreply 105January 17, 2022 12:38 AM

r100 asks about Mahler influence on Shostakovich 4th - which part? what specifically? How about the fucking opening bars and initial march theme? How about the orchestration (use of trumpets, woodwind, ostinato percussion) and entire sound palette? If you can't sense the borrowings from Mahler 5 and 6 there, you need a new set of ears.

by Anonymousreply 106January 17, 2022 12:28 PM

John Culshaw was an interesting figure. I think he was clearly gay and kind of dashing back in the day. Died young. I'm sure he would have been a DL poster had he lived, enlivening the board with all his gossip. His memoir - PUTTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT - published posthumously - is a great read, as are his other books.

by Anonymousreply 107January 17, 2022 12:30 PM

You can see Culshaw in action on several Benjamin Britten documentaries. He chain smokes, drawls in a very (faux?) posh voice, and keeps the touchy composer placated. He's also featured prominently in the film "Ring Resounding," taping Solti's Gotterdammerung in 1965.

Culshaw did produce two of Solti's earliest Mahler recordings: the first (1964) and the fourth (1961), even if he disliked the music.

"PUTTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT" is full of very opinionated gossip about the classical music world of the 50s and 60s.

by Anonymousreply 108January 17, 2022 12:56 PM

Such a card!

by Anonymousreply 109January 17, 2022 1:02 PM

[quote] How about the fucking opening bars

No need for language like this when discussing Mahler.

by Anonymousreply 110January 17, 2022 7:50 PM

R110: His slutty, shrewish wife would probably differ with you.

by Anonymousreply 111January 17, 2022 7:57 PM

Yes Culshaw was dishy.

by Anonymousreply 112January 18, 2022 5:49 AM

The sad thing about Mahler is that there isn’t very much of it. There are the 9 symphonies, the unfinished 10th, some song cycles and other random works, and that’s it.

by Anonymousreply 113January 18, 2022 6:16 AM

Well, the works are so lengthy, that in terms of sheer performance time, I'm sure they equal or exceed the works of composers considered more prolific. Ravel's entire output could probably fit on 4 cds for instance. Almost all the Mahler symphonies exceed an hour - some are considerably longer. A complete Beethoven symphony is perhaps 20-30 minutes unless the orchestra does the repeat in the exposition of the first movement. The 3rd and 9th are longer. Mozart symphonies are 15-25 minutes.

by Anonymousreply 114January 18, 2022 6:27 AM

Yes, R110, I'd rather have ten Ravels than one Mahler.

by Anonymousreply 115January 18, 2022 6:40 AM

Does anyone recall the Mahler Society in Los Angeles? I worked for Hilda Fuques, chair of the Viennese Opera Ball. LA had many Austrian immigrants who formed the Mahler Society. I had the great pleasure of knowing these people who championed Mahler. We would sight read some scores in his own hand. As couple of famous composers were members.

I worked for Georg Solti both in the 1970’s. He taught me so much about understanding Mahler in ways I had not considered. Cherished memories.

My husband and I bonded over Maher. I was newly home from Europe after a CSO tour where we recorded the 8th. I met my guy at a piano recital I gave on Beethoven’s birthday. He was introduced to me and asked me about Vienna and how Mahler affects me. A few days later I just happened to drive past his place and I nearly crashed when I heard the Mahler 8 playing. I knew then he was the “one”.

Fifty years later we still love Mahler. I have many Mahler-related events in my life.

by Anonymousreply 116January 18, 2022 6:51 AM

The OP's picture looks as though Mahler is quite sunburnt.

Perhaps he spent too many weeks and months on the sunny Lido contemplating life, death and Tadzio.

by Anonymousreply 117January 18, 2022 8:29 AM

Great post, r116.

by Anonymousreply 118January 18, 2022 11:51 AM

Mahler got deeply tanned hiking in the mountains in the summer (when he also composed, hence the short number of works).

by Anonymousreply 119January 18, 2022 12:24 PM

[quote] My husband and I bonded over Maher.

Bill Maher definitely doesn’t belong in this discussion

by Anonymousreply 120January 18, 2022 12:45 PM

R116 sounds like some sort of deranged fanboy, like a collector of Madame Alexander dolls.

by Anonymousreply 121January 18, 2022 12:46 PM

Should the Mahlerites be insulted by this celebrity's comments?

Offsite Link
by Anonymousreply 122January 18, 2022 7:40 PM

Solti was known as The Screaming Skull.

by Anonymousreply 123January 19, 2022 2:28 PM

No one, it seems, has mentioned "Kindertotenlieder". It's very, very good.

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by Anonymousreply 124January 19, 2022 2:48 PM

And sung by a man, which I think is the way Mahler intended:

by Anonymousreply 125January 19, 2022 2:50 PM

Oops, missed...

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by Anonymousreply 126January 19, 2022 2:51 PM

I love Christa Ludwig doing Mahler!

by Anonymousreply 127January 19, 2022 3:15 PM

r124 see r15 re: Kindertotenlieder. Thanks for posting it, r126.

by Anonymousreply 128January 19, 2022 6:01 PM

Not a fan of mahler

by Anonymousreply 129January 19, 2022 6:15 PM

Neither the biggest fan of Beethoven or Mahler.

I prefer Lehar.

by Anonymousreply 130January 20, 2022 5:14 AM

I’ll have a piece of Mahler’s!

by Anonymousreply 131January 20, 2022 10:58 AM

Mahler was a snobby bitch.

He was grumpy fulfilling his duties at the Vienna Opera House.

Emperor Franz Joseph admired the visiting soprano named Nellie Melba and received her at court in 1900. Mahler was contemptuous of her coloratura and said 'I'd rather listen to a clarinet'.

by Anonymousreply 132January 25, 2022 11:08 PM

Gus painter

by Anonymousreply 133January 26, 2022 9:10 PM

You think Mahler was a bitch? Well Rossini was a DL cunt! When Adeline Patti sang one of his arias he said, 'Who wrote that?!'

by Anonymousreply 134January 27, 2022 4:14 AM

R134 Was Rossini complaining about Patti's interpretation?

by Anonymousreply 135January 27, 2022 4:19 AM

I believe her florid ornamentation to show off her spectacular coloratura was not something he appreciated applied to his music.

by Anonymousreply 136January 27, 2022 4:25 AM

There's a famous story of Handel grabbing a soprano by the throat and dangling her by the neck out of a second story rehearsal window, threatening to drop her if she did not sing his notes as written. It was common for artists to add their own ornamentation at the time but he was furious with the way she was doing it.

by Anonymousreply 137January 27, 2022 4:33 AM

Rochard Rodgers I believe hated Peggy Leigh's Lover but it probably made him a lot of money.

by Anonymousreply 138January 27, 2022 4:37 AM


by Anonymousreply 139January 27, 2022 4:42 AM

[quote] their own ornamentation at the time

A cadenza.

by Anonymousreply 140January 27, 2022 4:44 AM

[quote] Peggy Leigh

Peggy Lee

by Anonymousreply 141January 27, 2022 4:47 AM

[quote]There's a famous story of Handel grabbing a soprano by the throat and dangling her by the neck out of a second story rehearsal window, threatening to drop her if she did not sing his notes as written.

You forgot the part where she called him the devil, and he called her bealzebub. Handel was prone to publicity Hijinks that would make the kardashians smile. The episode you mention was likely created to drum up sales for the performances.

by Anonymousreply 142January 27, 2022 12:44 PM

Mahler was too cowardly to attempt opera.

by Anonymousreply 143January 29, 2022 10:10 PM

I noticed I was feeling rather weepy at the climax of the 'Symphony of the Thousand' in a packed concert hall with the Standing Room full of people who couldn't get seats..

It may have been because my companion was about to leave for overseas (and never get back in touch).

But in retrospect I think it was the magnitude of the occasion which brought the tear to my eyes. The symphony's words were in German so there was no intellectual reason why I should react emotionally.

I have since heard from an army general who said an effective way to get recruits is via big parades, big marching bands, lots of noise and loud, brassy music. He said young men get slightly hysterical and do things that they wouldn't normally do.

by Anonymousreply 144February 1, 2022 9:28 PM

Doctor Zhivago's brother Yevgraf Zhivago narrates this scene of a military parade in Moscow saying 'There were too many volunteers [to fight in the failed war]. Most of it was mere hysteria'.

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by Anonymousreply 145February 1, 2022 9:48 PM

Mahler worked for most of the year as a conductor. He wrote music during a few months in the summer. I think that is why his symphonies are so long, so complex, and, often, so loud: everything he wrote had to be a "masterpiece," he didn't have time for anything playful or trivial.

by Anonymousreply 146February 2, 2022 1:53 AM

^ Could that be why he was so angry?

by Anonymousreply 147February 2, 2022 3:18 AM

I wonder if Gustav Mahler met Richard Wagner and hated each other.

I bet they played the size-queen game, 'My orchestra is bigger than your orchestra!'.

by Anonymousreply 148February 2, 2022 6:52 PM

Mahler was 23 and a student when Wagner died, so I'm pretty sure that there was no way that they would have ever met. Although Wagner did conduct, that was not his primary talent and it's unlikely that he was as skilled a conductor as Mahler. Mostly he would have been secretly (if not openly) contemptuous of Mahler because Mahler was Jewish and Wagner was very anti-Semitic. However, there is no denying that all European composers were (at least briefly) under the spell of Wagner in the late 19th century, especially German ones. The sound that Wagner achieved with his massive orchestrations and the rich brass parts became the ideal for German composers up through and including Richard Strauss. Mahler was equally enamored of this Wagnerian sound and also with some of the compositional techniques and harmonic language of Wagner.

by Anonymousreply 149February 3, 2022 8:24 AM

And the first conductor of all things Parsifal was Herman Levi who was hardly a practicing Catholic.

by Anonymousreply 150February 3, 2022 12:08 PM

This is an interesting paragraph from Wikipedia:

Levi's name is indissolubly connected with the increased public appreciation of Wagner's music. He was a longtime friend of Wagner; when preparing for the inaugural Bayreuth Festival, he wrote to his father, "Wagner is the best and noblest of men ... I thank God daily for the privilege to be close to such a man. It is the most beautiful experience of my life".[1] He conducted the first performance of Parsifal at Bayreuth in 1882, even though Wagner initially objected to this and was quoted as saying that Levi should be baptized before conducting it. However, Ludwig II of Bavaria, who was Wagner's patron, told him in a letter that "Nothing is more repugnant, nothing less edifying than such squabbles; people after all are brothers, in spite of all denominational differences."[2] Levi was connected with the musical life at Bayreuth during the remainder of his career. He visited London in 1895, and died in Munich in 1900. He was interred in a mausoleum in the grounds of his villa later that year in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

by Anonymousreply 151February 3, 2022 12:11 PM

^ I guess that says Ludwig II of Bavaria was a level-headed, sensible philosophical man after all.

by Anonymousreply 152February 3, 2022 10:19 PM

I have autographed cabinet cards of both Levi and Lillie Lehman, which I inherited from my late partner. He was an opera buff and collected such memorabilia.

by Anonymousreply 153February 3, 2022 10:34 PM

^ Lilli, not Lillie. Sorry.

by Anonymousreply 154February 3, 2022 10:40 PM
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