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11-24-2004 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,540
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 1
Post ID: 269
Reply to: 269
Why I do not love Mahler?

It is not that I do not like Mahler:  I like him but I do not love him.

I listen Mahler for a while and am quite familiar with most of recorded performances, heard “live” in a number of occasions the Mahler’s symphonies and songs, read a lot about him. I always very much enjoyed and intellectually appreciated Mahler’s personal visions and hugely respect him as a musician. My personal preference in Mahler’ music are spread around Second, Fifth, Sixth, and Ninth symphonies and somewhere between Hermann Scherchen and John Barbirolli. Mahler take a large amount of space on my shelves….

…but year after year I again and again come to a realization that there is something very self-destructive and I would say masochistic in my relationship with Mahler.

Mahler probably is the only composer that, while music while it being played, I feel very comfortable to interrupt in a very muddle of the phases. I mean I fully appreciate the magnificents and beauty (and in many instance the wisdom) of the Mahler expressiveness but they are not those precious values for me that we let play wishing that they should never end.  In fact I kind of like when Mahler music stops, and while I am listing it I kind of look forward to it.

I realized that I very seldom let the Mahler symphonies to be played form begging to end, I just do not see the reason and do not feel needs. However, my consciousness very readily absorbers the Mahler phraseology and I find myself very frequently to quote the Mahler music from memory.  Isn’t is strange that I have such a fascination on the “binary Mahler” but do not grasp him as whole, or at least do not find a lot of correlation between myself and the Mahler music?

I do have a very strange relationship with Mahler, very much different then with any other composer. It is not a love/hate, acceptance/rejection but rather the receiving Mahler as an avoidable “something” that can not be not-acknowledged but still “something”  that lacks a personal touch with myself. You know, it kind of as appreciation of somebody’s else children or admiration of a beautiful women but with realization that it is not something that you actual in love with and therefore you do not feel it as something that is a part of you.

Rsg,
Romy the Cat


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
11-28-2004 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
cv
Derby, United Kingdom
Posts 173
Joined on 09-15-2004

Post #: 2
Post ID: 314
Reply to: 269
Re: Why I do not love Mahler?

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I'm way out of my depth here, I think I know what you mean Romy; my own feeling about Mahler is that just when he's developing what could be the most haunting melody or lyrical phrase he gets bored with it and goes off on a tangent. Not always, of course, but I sometimes wish he had been a bit more willing to admit the obvious, even cheesy, at times.

OTOH, maybe it wasn't boredom but a very conscious effort on his part to avoid simplicity, or the familiar. Intrusion of the composer's left-brain where it doesn't belong?

Either way, I suppose if you take that to an extreme you end up with free jazz, which I can respect on some pretentious intellectual level but not picture anyone truly loving (well, maybe John Zorn).

Funny you mention the "absorption of his phrasing" - I often find myself whistling some of his more unorthodox lines - usually to very odd looks. And I also find that sometimes just one of the more monolithic movements from the 5th or 6th is all I need.

Incidentally, I forgot to thank you for the Scherchen recommendation for the 5th - just love that chaotic, bordering-on-the-out-of-control finale.

cheers

cv

01-10-2005 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
MusicLover
Tulsa, OK, United States
Posts 18
Joined on 01-07-2005

Post #: 3
Post ID: 491
Reply to: 314
Intellectualizing Music

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HI,
Music is meant to create a feeling. Who is to say your feeling is better than my feeling. It;s all about sensitivity to feeling and the creation of emotion.
If a sound (or a set of sounds) can create that emotion & feeling in you, then your good luck. If it cannot, then your bad luck. Don;t blame the creator of the sounds.

I find the extolling of some types of music, and the derogation of other types shallow, as I do criticising some composers, even in one type of music. Who is to know what MAhler felt when he composed it? How does it matter? What matters is what YOU feel when you lsiten. If it leaves you dead, or wanting to turn it off, then that's not Mahler's problem. SOme others may LOVe Mahler. His music may move them. Again, not Mahler's credit.

ML
01-30-2005 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
slowmotion


Oslo, Norway
Posts 60
Joined on 07-22-2004

Post #: 4
Post ID: 630
Reply to: 491
Re: Love?
I remember when hearing Mahlers 2nd. for the first time.
It was Bernsteins recording with LSO from 1974 (?)
Liner notes from Bruno Walter.
Anyways I was floored.
I got the record in a used record store, and it was very noisy, unfortunately.
That was enough to get me hooked on Mahler,
I bought many different recordings trying to find "the ultimate" Mahler 2nd.
Of course I never found it.
Later I got the Bernstein LSO 1974 recording on CD,
it was a big disapointment, they had "remastered" it,
and all the life and drama was gone,
in the interest of "better sound".

These days I prefer the 9th, if any music is
hauntingly beautiful this is it.

cheers, Jan


01-30-2005 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
AOK_Farmer


Marlboro NY USA
Posts 64
Joined on 07-08-2004

Post #: 5
Post ID: 631
Reply to: 630
April in Montreal...

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If anyone is going to the Montreal Audio Show April 2-4 this year there is a concurrent playing of Mahler 2 in town. See ya there.

Steve
03-16-2011 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,540
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 6
Post ID: 15784
Reply to: 269
A homework for Mahler lovers….
fiogf49gjkf0d
Yesterday I was listening an broadcast from Netherlands over FM with Mariss Jansons leading Concertgebouw and Netherlands Radio Choir with Mahler’s Resurrection. The play was horrible, starting from playing of Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and ending with Jansons’ take of Mahler. The sound from WHRB was also horrible it was compressed and decolorized insanely. Still, I spoke with a local guy and told him that it was the most pleasurable Mahler’s Second I have heard. Who can decipher why?

The Cat


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
03-17-2011 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
cv
Derby, United Kingdom
Posts 173
Joined on 09-15-2004

Post #: 7
Post ID: 15789
Reply to: 15784
Done with Gustav?
fiogf49gjkf0d
Did you find that instead of resurrecting your interest it finished it off and its now Bruckner all the way?
Or did recent changes in the Macondo bass config reveal something new?

Ok, no idea...


03-17-2011 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Paul S
San Diego, California, USA
Posts 2,148
Joined on 10-12-2006

Post #: 8
Post ID: 15790
Reply to: 15784
Carried by the Choir?
fiogf49gjkf0d
If lyrical enough, that could do it.

Best regards,
Paul S
03-17-2011 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,540
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 9
Post ID: 15793
Reply to: 15789
The other Resurrection?
fiogf49gjkf0d
 cv wrote:
Did you find that instead of resurrecting your interest it finished it off and its now Bruckner all the way?
Or did recent changes in the Macondo bass config reveal something new?

Somebody once asked me what I like in Bruckner and I said that because it is not Mahler. I do not remember if I invented the concept or took it from somebody else but it is very much how I feel. I do not hate Mahler but he does annoy me sometimes. The main annoyance is in the nakedness of expressed intentions. The expression are bombastic not only in form but in the fact that everything is expressed and there is not a lot of room for own listening of interpretation of expressions. The explicitness of Mahler phraseology is for sure stimulating but also it is a way predictable in own intend and way to accomplish the intend. I find it a bit abusive. A good musicals play super sophisticated sequences of notes and a good conductors make the expressions and the whole flow of presentation to be meaningful and powerful. This is a great Mahler experience but of you have reached that plato then there is not a lot of room to climb up higher.

I think music is not able composers but about ourselves, about our own interaction between our inner-world and the external experiences. Mahler set a level with his symphonies but it was his level not my level. Listening Mahler I get a finite, predetermined level of greenness, hugely described by the imagination of performers but never go beyond what I would imagine. Mahler plays exactly as much, or much more of what he intend to express. With Bruckner however nit is very different – he always underplay own intend, he gives a strong scene of direction and let YOU to invent what might be next. Bruckner kicks off the ball rolling and they with very soft and gentle touches he navigate the ball to where it has to be, letting you to be in driver sit and what you arrive to what you have to arrive then he feel that it was your own accomplishment. Mahler drives you like a maniac and what you reach somewhere then you see laughing Mahler face who tells you: “You see, you were afraid”…

So, what Jansons and Concertgebouw showed up another day? They play Mahler as if it was Bruckner or Brahms. It was atypical very thick sound with very subdued expressions. In fact the expressions were so bad that very soon you stop listen what they play – it was disgusting. Then however something else opined up. As I stopped to listen the Concertgebouw I begin to listen how I react to the very non-specific layout of music that Concertgebouw was presenting. So, the Concertgebouw was playing the Resurrection blueprint, the outline and I was presenting a much needed opportunity for me to imagine anything I would like to imagine within those blueprints. I had a lot of pleasure to do it and Concertgebouw played so much contra-expressive that I was not affected by the Mahler’s ego. It was VERY rare Resurrection.

The Cat


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
03-24-2011 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
cv
Derby, United Kingdom
Posts 173
Joined on 09-15-2004

Post #: 10
Post ID: 15838
Reply to: 15793
Half finished canvases
fiogf49gjkf0d
Indeed; art that leaves something for your own imagination to fill in the gaps is always more fulfiling.

Dunno if you've seen the resevoir dogs movie, I recall when it came out there was a huge fuss about the scene when the policeman gets his ear cutoff and how graphic it was.

From what I remember (it was many years ago), the camera actually pans away into a blank corner and you're left with just the sound... much more intense.

This is my cue to explore Bruckner further...

cheers
03-27-2011 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
zako
Posts 85
Joined on 05-25-2008

Post #: 11
Post ID: 15870
Reply to: 15838
Further Exploration
fiogf49gjkf0d
There is nothing to explore in Bruckner,,Just repetitive notes without a pastorial background,,,Thats what I like about Mahler,,Always full of color in the ALPS and the meadows..
03-28-2011 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,540
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 12
Post ID: 15871
Reply to: 15870
Sometimes cigar is only a cigar…
fiogf49gjkf0d
There is an Old Russian joke about a young bull and old bull is coming along the flock of cows and a young bull saying:

“Grandpa let run very fast from this hill and have sex with that beautifully cow!”

In couple minutes he comes again:

“Grandpa let run very fast up to that hill and have sex with those to pretty cow!”

The old bull replys:

“Nope there is no need to hurry. We will be walking slowly and will fuck the whole cattle”

I think this joke very emblematic in the Bruckner vs. Mahler debate.  Mahler’s metaphors are more expressive and more sonically gratifying but they are in a way act like a sideshow, like a Kunstcamera of sonic freakishness. Not whiteout taste and artistry of cause and filled with own immense beauty, still Mahler sound might be annoying. Mahler sound is a well spiced food – a wonderful delicacy but not something that you will be eating relaxed and if you do then it will be not go along with your body. I am not against Mahler of cause, I just report that sometimes it does not go along with my stomach.

I think that there is nothing repetitive in Bruckner. Of course Bruckner repeats himself endlessly but then why a movement stops and I feel that it was too short?

For sure Bruckner and Mahler require different pre-listening homework done. Bruckner also require a longer pre- listening yoga session and a longer cigar during the listening….

The Cat


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
03-29-2011 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
zako
Posts 85
Joined on 05-25-2008

Post #: 13
Post ID: 15882
Reply to: 15871
Wagners Opinion
fiogf49gjkf0d
I just finished a long article,,called orchestra power,,by Anthony Quin,,,Where Wagner met Bruchner,,Wagner considered Bruchner an idiot..
03-30-2011 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
steverino
Posts 302
Joined on 05-23-2009

Post #: 14
Post ID: 15883
Reply to: 15871
Listening to Bruckner and Mahler
fiogf49gjkf0d
Romy,

FWIW

   I listened to a lot of Bruckner and Mahler when I was younger. Over time I noticed that I preferred Mahler when he was more objective and Bruckner when he was more subjective. So at my riper age I listen to Mahler's Sym 2 and 9 and occasionally 4. The rest I can't really listen to for more than a movement sometimes not even that. On the other hand, I enjoy Bruckner's Sym 6, 8 and 9 although I can occasionally listen to Sym 5 because I find it amusing. As for your "russian" joke it is very widespread. I don't know who first thought it up. I actually wrote a song about it some years ago included in a stage work. But in my version they ran or walked down the hill. Maybe something got lost in translation.
03-30-2011 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
steverino
Posts 302
Joined on 05-23-2009

Post #: 15
Post ID: 15884
Reply to: 15882
Something got lost here
fiogf49gjkf0d
Wagner considered Bruckner unintellectual and uninformed but he did Not have a low opinion of Bruckner as a composer. Two entirely different things. Many people thought Bruckner was extremely naive socially speaking and not conversant with the ideas of the day so Wagner's opinion would not be unusual. 
03-30-2011 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,540
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 16
Post ID: 15887
Reply to: 15883
Irritation and convalescence….
fiogf49gjkf0d
 zako wrote:
I just finished a long article,,called orchestra power,,by Anthony Quin,,,Where Wagner met Bruchner,,Wagner considered Bruchner an idiot..

Zako, it is not exactly accurate, the event is well described elsewhere. Still, I less care what Wagner was saying, I more care what I am saying.  I however aggress that reading about Buchner is less extravagant and flamboyant reading then about Mahler. But I do read about them…. BTW, if you are interesting about the subject then find a good old article from Bruno Walter about Buchner and Mahler. I am not “completely” agree with him but it is very good read.
 steverino wrote:
 Over time I noticed that I preferred Mahler when he was more objective and Bruckner when he was more subjective.

Interesting take, I understand what you are coming from. I do not mind Mahler but very frequently listening Mahler I need in the end to recuperate for a few minutes of second movement of the Buchner 8th… 
 
Rgs, Romy the Cat


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
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