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Mahler Symphonies Favorite Recordings - Page 71

post #1051 of 3714
Started listening to the MTT 9th yesterday on my way home from work. Very impressed so far-- it's going to be fun to crank that baby at home... If I get time later this week... or next week... July looks promising...
post #1052 of 3714
I can't find any reference for that statement, but I'd put money on it being Alma. Alma was a frustrated composer herself while Anna was more interested in visual arts.
post #1053 of 3714
July is the Tanglewood concerts. Levine is doing the Mahler 8, which should be right up his alley.
post #1054 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bunnyears
I can't find any reference for that statement, but I'd put money on it being Alma. Alma was a frustrated composer herself while Anna was more interested in visual arts.
If I remember, I'll check at home tonight. I'm pretty sure it was from the program notes to EMI's reissue (with original Capitol cover) of Steinberg's M1.
post #1055 of 3714
It's interesting that Gustav Mahler chose Walter to conduct his symphonies and Walter actually heard Mahler conducting his own works, so if Alma felt that Steinberg did a better job it would really speak volumes about the dynamic in their marriage.
post #1056 of 3714
Anyone read any of the Bios on Mahler, I have several but haven't dug far into them.

Here is what I have:

Mahler: His Life, Work and World by by Kurt Blaukopf and Herta Blaukopf - Interesting overview of his life based on letters by and to mahler, and other secondary sources in their own words. Amazon

and

Mahler: A Biography by Jonathan Carr - Just picked this up not too long ago, interesting read. Learn how ambitious a man Mahler was when he was a conductor. Amazon

I am somewhat curious about his wifes bio, though I think that one has to be read with a BIG grain of salt too.

Scott
post #1057 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bunnyears
It's interesting that Gustav Mahler chose Walter to conduct his symphonies and Walter actually heard Mahler conducting his own works, so if Alma felt that Steinberg did a better job it would really speak volumes about the dynamic in their marriage.
On the other hand, it's hard to say how far Walter's approach changed over the years. From his earlier to later recordings, there seems quite a lot of smoothing out and warming up. If that was a lifelong process, his youthful performances (before he began recording) may have sounded quite different.

Judging by some of the things I've read, it may have been a personal thing, too. It would appear that there was quite a gap between Walter's warm, fuzzy public image and his private behavior. He was highly disliked by most of his colleagues for personal reasons, although they all respected his musical genius. And I believe I've additionally heard that there were some fallings-out over the years between Alma and Bruno.
post #1058 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by scottder
Anyone read any of the Bios on Mahler, I have several but haven't dug far into them.
I read Mahler: A Musical Physiognomy (twice!!, first time i didn't understand it) by Theodor Adorno (the philosopher).

And i read the interesting autobiography of Alma Mahler-Werfel. She met (and was an inspiration for them) a lot of important people: Mahler, Werfel, Gropius, Kokoschka, ...

J.M.
post #1059 of 3714
That doesn't surprise me at all. When you get two very strong, opinionated personalities, they either love each other (especially if their opinions coincide) or despise each other. If Walter was as difficult as you say, then it would be natural that the two of them would have had a very competitive relationship, he as the protegé of Mahler and she as the widow and "protector of the flame." Certainly, even if Walter's interpretations of Mahler evolved over his lifetime, it cannot take away from their validity nor should any one conductor's work negate the validity of another. If that were the case music would be very static. We would get one way to play things and that would be that. The only reason to get another recording would be because of improved technology. I'd certainly have saved a lot of money if that were so.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark from HFR
It would appear that there was quite a gap between Walter's warm, fuzzy public image and his private behavior.
Sounds like so many characters I've seen in the movies, let alone met in life.

Talking of different interpretations, have you heard the Nagano 8th? From what I have read it is either a life changing interpretation of something to be forgotten. Similar opionions abound about the Rattle 8, which I found good enough but nothing close to the Solti.
post #1060 of 3714
Anyone ever read Late Night Thoughts on Listening to Mahler's 9th Symphony by Lewis Thomas?

http://cscs.umich.edu/~crshalizi/Tho...ers-ninth.html
post #1061 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by Masonjar
Anyone ever read Late Night Thoughts on Listening to Mahler's 9th Symphony by Lewis Thomas?

http://cscs.umich.edu/~crshalizi/Tho...ers-ninth.html
No, but I will now.
post #1062 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by Masonjar
Anyone ever read Late Night Thoughts on Listening to Mahler's 9th Symphony by Lewis Thomas?

http://cscs.umich.edu/~crshalizi/Tho...ers-ninth.html
Mahler's ninth certainly does not do that to me - although I can understand someone at the height of the cold war getting that impression. That's the great thing about art, of course: It is a compliment to whatever thoughts are already in the listener's head.

For me, Mahler is essentially optimistic at the end of the day, but that's probably because I am optimistic.
post #1063 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doc Sarvis
Mahler's ninth certainly does not do that to me - although I can understand someone at the height of the cold war getting that impression. That's the great thing about art, of course: It is a compliment to whatever thoughts are already in the listener's head.

For me, Mahler is essentially optimistic at the end of the day, but that's probably because I am optimistic.
I read the Lewis Thomas essay when it first appeared in Discover magazine in 1984 or thereabouts. That was shortly after I had picked up my first recording of M9 (the Tennstedt discussed previously). I can very much endorse the impact of Thomas' approach in my thoughts. Even in the initial encounters before reading the Thomas, I felt like the M9 was some great, mythic, almost beyond-human utterance. I still get the feeling toward the end like I'm listening to the whispers of a dying man. Now I don't know about defining myself as optomistic or pessimistic... the way I see it, both are frames to look at the world through... But I guess I see the 9th in darker terms. I find the last movement alternately heated and cold, but never warm, except for that solo viola near the end, the same one that Thomas points out in his essay.
post #1064 of 3714
Being born late enough to not really experience the nuclear era, but born early enough to have lived solidly in the age of terror, I cannot see that destruction in Mahler. All of his works have that sweet, faintly longing quality that can (and often does) signify loss. It is not a loss that seems bitter or tragic, it is just another event. I see more of that loss in the 5th (obviously) and even in the 2nd.

However, Bruckner hits that chord with me more poignantly. Wagner, even, has that moment. If the performance is good enough, I'm all but a goner for Wotan's Farewell or Siegfried's Funeral Music. I digress, though.
post #1065 of 3714
I remember that essay from years ago as well. The essay, obviously to me now, was not about Mahler as much as it was about fear, and fear in that historic context was someting that was being sold to the public on a daily basis. It kept me away from Mahler and a lot of other music for a couple of months.

Ofcourse, my life was one frantic, busy, busy time then. That was way back when the kids were small and demanding constant and total attention. Reagan was President, the Soviet empire was still a big threat and there were movies on television about nuclear holocausts and alien invasions. Everything was threatening back then. About the only positive thing I remember from the period was the fact that we all believed that Princess Di and Prince Charles were the lovematch of the century (talk about ironies, I still have the original copy of Patriot Games -- published a bit after the essay -- which is about the Prince and Princess of Wales escaping IRA terrorists with the help of Jack Ryan! Certainly that was changed in subsequent printings.). It was also the period that saw the first understanding of the Aids epidemic, before anyone had any inkling as to whether the disease could be controlled, let alone cured. I'm certain that the disease was of concern and interest to Dr. Thomas even if it's not mentioned in that particular essay.

Today, Mahler's 9th for me is not about fear, it's about transitions in life, their inevitablility and even their rightness. Rereading the essay I am really surprised to remember just how anxious about things I was and indeed everyone was in that period. Today, after 9/11, we are living in a far more uncertain world, but for some reason I'm not as afraid as I was then, and Mahler's 9th is a good friend.
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