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Mahler Symphonies Favorite Recordings - Page 126

post #1876 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by mbhaub
Actually, he used the term "immoralist" exactly in the manner expected; it had nothing to do with music. In reality, he was no worse than Walter, but Walter hid his mistresses from the public and had a nicer public persona. Klemperer was cruder, vulgar, "waspish" and not apologetic. Both converted to Christianity, but Klemperer turned back to Judaism after the War. Read Harold Schoenberg's "The Great Conductors" and Norman Lebrecht's "The Maestro Myth" for very illuminating reading. Fascinating stuff.
Klemperer certainly had his "quirks." Lebrecht's obituary for Lotte Klemperer shows both the depths of Otto's problems (bipolar disorder plus physical illnesses) and the tenderness Lotte showed in taking care of him.

However one uses "immoralist," I think that Klemperer's Mahler is amoral. It simply lacks the moralizing impulse underneath it. His Bruckner and Wagner are the same. His Der fliegende Holländer is not an extended meditation on the power of love. It is Wagner's score for Der fliegende Holländer. His Mahler isn't a life-and-death struggle of a hero. It is just Mahler.
post #1877 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by PSmith08
The moral/spiritual element in Mahler can be argued, depending on how ironic you think Mahler was, and it's frankly a bit distracting to me.
A very interesting thought. However, I don't think that Mahler was ever ironic in the slightest. Everything he said in his works was how he actually felt, and at face value to boot. His works are highly programmatic; the "program" is Mahler's psyche. Whether conductors choose to plumb the depths or not is another story.

Seeing M5 last night rekindled an old hypothesis of mine about Mahler the man; namely that some of his symphonies (notably 2,5,and 7) find him attempting to dig his way out of depression with various "cures". He starts as an angst-ridden soul (hence the funerial first movements), experiences the tortures of his daily life, as well as a few diversions and simple pleasures common to turn-of-the-century Vienna, and then he hits on some kind of "answer". In 2, it's spirituality. In 5, it's the love of a good woman. In 7, it's resignation to fate and a what-the-heck attitude.

Isn't it great to have a spirited Mahler discussion during the super bowl?
post #1878 of 3714
I can see that point; however, there are some elements in Mahler that just seem ironic. Most obviously, I am thinking of the brass band motif in the 3rd, the finale of the 7th, and the opening of the 4th.

There is clearly an overarching story-arc to Mahler's symphonies, the Wunderhorn symphonies have a program, as do the later ones. The explorations of the world and the universe have their equals in the various approaches to death outlined in the last symphonies. Das Lied von der Erde and the 9th are special cases, so I tend not to consider them. However, I think that in the individual symphonies, there are moments of irony and humor. The brass band in the 3rd, the hints at klezmer in the 1st, and other moments make me think that Mahler had a wry smile at times. I think he meant that we are to take him seriously, and that means taking his irony as seriously as his Weltschmerz.
post #1879 of 3714
Mb,

Are you saying that Klemperer referred to himself and Walter as immoral because both of them had extramarital sexual affairs? If that is the case, then Klemperer was being extremely moralistic -- he was casting a moral judgement.

PSmith,

How can music be either amoral or immoral? Music is an abstraction that can neither be sensible of established moral values, insensible of such values or with or without such values. Such a statement is completely ridiculous. Words to songs communicate human ideas but the music itself is completely neutral. Interpretations of music can neither be termed moral or immoral. Only the projections of one's thoughts in connection to that music can be termed moral or amoral and those are both human qualities, not musical ones.

Doc and PSmith,

Can music be ironic? No. Can it be used to communicate an individual's sense of irony or sarcasm? Ofcourse it can when the melodies are fragments of familiar pieces used in strange ways and both the composer and the listener share the same knowledge of the context of the music. One of the earliest ironies remarked of in Mahler's work was probably the use of the Frère Jacques melody as a funeral march in his first symphony and the mocking klezmer tune that dances around it. The juxtaposition of the tunes must have been extremely disturbing to the Viennese public when they first heard them. If one is unaware of the cultural context of the tunes then one is unaware of the sarcasm. The music has been used as a code for sentiments that only those who know the key can understand.
post #1880 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tyson
Perhaps best described as a "humanistic" Mahler? I would agree with that description (with humanism taken is the best possible sense, as in focus on and celebration of humanity, including our nadirs as well as our pinnacles). That's perhaps why I love Klemperer's 2nd above all others.

But indeed it is without sentimentality. Listening to it always reminds me of that great mini-monologue in hamlet:
Absolutely correct!

It is the appeal to our sense of humanity, our core identity as human beings that is always termed "universal." That is the great attraction of Shakespeare as well: we humans find emotional truth in the greatest works of art, literature and music and these truths stretch across cultural boundaries. This is why we listen to music -- it is something that humans create and relate to no matter the culture, race or geographic origin of the individual.
post #1881 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by mbhaub
But I respectfully disagree that he is the only conductor to have gotten the tempo relationships correct. Hans Rosbaud and William Steinberg had those relations down, and they sure didn't take 27'40'' in the first movement. Some of the most highly rated recordings of the work by people on this site are the worst offenders when it comes to carefully watching those numerous tempo changes. Scherchen dispatches I in under 20, with 21' about the norm. Chailly comes close, at over 25'. Klemp's finale, at nearly 25' loses all momentum and energy, especially compared to Kondrashin who shaves almost 10' off that time. Klemp does fair in the middle three movements, but the scherzo sure isn't that action packed.
Rosbaud does indeed get most of the tempo relationships right. But his gradual speeding up in the first two movements seems unnecessary. And I wasn't aware of a Steinberg recording. Where is this available? That would be fascinating to hear.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mbhaub
Just because Klemp heard Mahler do the 7th means absolutely nothing. We do have recordings of the second which Walter, Klemperer, Fried heard him conduct, and look at how different their performances are. Besides, we have eye-witness accounts: at the Prague premier, Mahler took 20 minutes for the first movement, 14 for II, 11 for III, 11 for IV and 18 (!) for V. Compared to Klemp's 27:39, 22:05, 10:25, 15:45, and 25:15, it's clear that Klemperer either did remember Mahler's tempi or chose to ignore them.
My references: de La Grange's vol. III in his monumental biography of Mahler and the original Angel LP release -- and a horn player in the New Philharmonia during the Klemperer years whom I studied with. He said everyone was bitching about the slow, turgid tempos. Even the producers were complaining. But how do you correct a living legend?
Okay, you are acting as if I said the way Klemperer does it is the only way it should be done. That is not what I said. All I'm saying is that any gifted figure is going to have some insight, including Klemperer. Yeah, sure, it's obvious as hell that the orchestra was resistant to his tempos, but if you put a willing group of players with the tempos of the first movement, it could work. He's only a couple of minutes off the tempo of Chailly, or Boulez live in concert in Cleveland (slower than the DG studio recording). The last movement is beyond anyone's grasp at that speed, I'll readily admit. But the point is, insight is a rare and wonderful thing. To disregard Klemperer because he wasn't in peak form for that recording astounds me. Flawed does not equal worthless, at least not to me. I want to understand as much as I can about the arts from as many angles as possible, so I'm glad to gather what insight I can from past masters.

Mark
post #1882 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bunnyears
PSmith,

How can music be either amoral or immoral? Music is an abstraction that can neither be sensible of established moral values, insensible of such values or with or without such values. Such a statement is completely ridiculous. Words to songs communicate human ideas but the music itself is completely neutral. Interpretations of music can neither be termed moral or immoral. Only the projections of one's thoughts in connection to that music can be termed moral or amoral and those are both human qualities, not musical ones.
It's simple, and you hit the nail on the head: the listener projects their thoughts onto the music and the interpretation. Therefore, for the listener, the music takes on the projection.

Quote:
Doc and PSmith,

Can music be ironic? No. Can it be used to communicate an individual's sense of irony or sarcasm? Of course it can when the melodies are fragments of familiar pieces used in strange ways and both the composer and the listener share the same knowledge of the context of the music. One of the earliest ironies remarked of in Mahler's work was probably the use of the Frère Jacques melody as a funeral march in his first symphony and the mocking klezmer tune that dances around it. The juxtaposition of the tunes must have been extremely disturbing to the Viennese public when they first heard them. If one is unaware of the cultural context of the tunes then one is unaware of the sarcasm. The music has been used as a code for sentiments that only those who know the key can understand.
Music is an abstraction, as you say, and - as such - is only a projection of the composer's intent blended with the listener's interpretation. Like written language. Therefore, it can be anything that either party wants. Now, I am sure that all this sounds delightfully postmodern, but - as much as I hate to disappoint Derrida - it isn't. There should be some concord between composer and listener. It just so happens that, when there is room for debate, I choose the interpretation that best fits my world-view.
post #1883 of 3714
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mbhaub
Just because Klemp heard Mahler do the 7th means absolutely nothing. We do have recordings of the second which Walter, Klemperer, Fried heard him conduct, and look at how different their performances are. Besides, we have eye-witness accounts: at the Prague premier, Mahler took 20 minutes for the first movement, 14 for II, 11 for III, 11 for IV and 18 (!) for V. Compared to Klemp's 27:39, 22:05, 10:25, 15:45, and 25:15, it's clear that Klemperer either did remember Mahler's tempi or chose to ignore them.
OMG........Mahler's own performance of M2 times out to 74!
How did we end up with all these 80-90 minute versions being recorded?

Would love to hear a 74 minute version of M2, but am not aware of any even close to that......

Seems to support the notion that later conductors radically slowed down Mahler performances, another support for that is the famous 1938 Walter/VPO/EMI M9 widely available which times in at 69:42 compared to the glacial 90 minute versions M9 performed today.........
post #1884 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkAngel
OMG........Mahler's own performance of M2 times out to 74!
How did we end up with all these 80-90 minute versions being recorded?

Would love to hear a 74 minute version of M2, but am not aware of any even close to that......

Seems to support the notion that later conductors radically slowed down Mahler performances, another support for that is the famous 1938 Walter/VPO/EMI M9 widely available which times in at 69:42 compared to the glacial 90 minute versions M9 performed today.........
I would think that there was a repeat or two that Mahler wasn't taking. I also think that it's time to listen to the Oskar Fried recording and see how that one times out.

Btw, Klemp's M2 fits on one cd so that would put it at or below the the 78 minute cd capacity.
post #1885 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkAngel
OMG........Mahler's own performance of M2 times out to 74!
How did we end up with all these 80-90 minute versions being recorded?

Would love to hear a 74 minute version of M2, but am not aware of any even close to that......

Seems to support the notion that later conductors radically slowed down Mahler performances, another support for that is the famous 1938 Walter/VPO/EMI M9 widely available which times in at 69:42 compared to the glacial 90 minute versions M9 performed today.........
How long is Kubelik's? It's been a long time since I've heard it, but I remember it being among the faster ones..

-jar
post #1886 of 3714
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bunnyears
I would think that there was a repeat or two that Mahler wasn't taking. I also think that it's time to listen to the Oskar Fried recording and see how that one times out.

Btw, Klemp's M2 fits on one cd so that would put it at or below the the 78 minute cd capacity.
I am a bit confused............perhaps MB was still referring to M7 (not M2)when he listed times for Mahler performance that totalled 74 minutes, perhaps he can clear that up.

Also does he have any idea what a Mahler conducted M2 timing is from research?
post #1887 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by Masonjar
How long is Kubelik's? It's been a long time since I've heard it, but I remember it being among the faster ones..

-jar
Kubelik(dg) also fits it on one cd. I'm not adding up all of those minutes and seconds. Here's the breakdown:

1. 19'36"
2. 10'32"
3. 10'06"
4. 4'56"
5. 17'32"
6. 13'30"
post #1888 of 3714
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkAngel
I am a bit confused............perhaps MB was still referring to M7 (not M2)when he listed times for Mahler performance that totalled 74 minutes, perhaps he can clear that up.

Also does he have any idea what a Mahler conducted M2 timing is from research?
I am pretty sure now MB was referring to Mahler conducting M7 (5 movements) with timing of 74 minutes......let me see how my top 5 list of M7 compares:

Kondrashin/Melodiya - 72:45
Bernstein/Sony - 79:55
Kubelik/Audite - 73:25
Abbado/CSO/DG - 78:44
Scherchen/Westminster - 77:52
Solti/London - 78:03
post #1889 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bunnyears
Kubelik(dg) also fits it on one cd. I'm not adding up all of those minutes and seconds. Here's the breakdown:

1. 19'36"
2. 10'32"
3. 10'06"
4. 4'56"
5. 17'32"
6. 13'30"
76' 12"
post #1890 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnFerrier
76' 12"
Only 2 minutes and some seconds faster than Mahler's time of 74 minutes. It can be done -- now why is not being done? Are there repeats not taken or sections of development being skipped (as they edit Shakespeare for performance perhaps Mahler was edited as well)? We need someone with a score to tell us what is happening.

Both Klemperer and Walter managed to fit it on 2 sides of an LP, thus making it under the 78 to 80 minute cd capacity. Bernstein(sony) has it at 84'44'' (computed a while ago and noted in the booklet).

Walter's timing from original Jackets: 79m32sec.

Klemperer's timing (EMI): 79m24sec.

Blomstedt: 80m52sec (with 1st movement alone on cd 1). Time is not that far from Walter and Klemp.
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