Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 9, Performed by the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester, Directed by Claudio Abbado


"First loathing, then loving, the all-encompassing symphonies of Gustav Mahler," says Barton Swaim of my symphonic first love, thanks to a certain Muff State prof — Music That’s Everything. Mr. Swaim begins:
    I never cared much for the music of Gustav Mahler. I tried to like it, but without success. The problem, for me, wasn’t that Mahler was modern or unapproachable or “difficult.” Somehow, and despite a natural predisposition against modernism of all kinds, I had learned to appreciate the music of Schoenberg and particularly Shostakovich. Mahler’s symphonies, though, which in one sense are much more approachable and “tonal” than that of modernist composers (he’s commonly categorized as “late Romantic” rather than modern) struck me as deliberately incoherent.
Like the author, "despite a natural predisposition against modernism of all kinds, I [too] had learned to appreciate the music of Schoenberg and particularly Shostakovich," but for me Mahler was the bridge to the past. Tolle, lege.

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