Originally Posted by Bunnyears
His work has been described as witty, ironic and even sarcastic all too frequently. That is perhaps my greatest difficulty with the MTT M9. The more I listen to it the more dissatisfied I am; he's smoothed over too many of the edges for my taste.
To call it witty, ironic, or sarcastic manages to capture one aspect of it. However, it seems to ignore the pain and longing that appears so often and so poignantly. Just as we found that Mahler sort of transcended a single period genre, he transcends a single, simple explanation.
Smoothing him out might make him pleasant, but if one makes him pleasant - bourgeois, perhaps? - one ameliorates the power and agony of Mahler. Calming him down resigns his hero to the fate the hero could never accept.