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Mahler Symphonies Favorite Recordings - Page 67

post #991 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by PSmith08
Mahler's sexuality is a non-issue when discussing his music. If one is doing a biography of him, it is another story. In my readings on Mahler, his sex life isn't touched at all, and rightfully so. I would say, except for a very few exceptions, the personal facts of creators have very little to do with their art.
I respectfully disagree with this quite intensely, but that's just my opinion. Years of reading, writing, playing music, and listening has convinced me that art doesn't happen in a vacuum, and everything affects everything else. This is not to say that anything that influences an artist is more important or more significant than the pure abstract product of their creative endeavours, certainly not in the case of this anecdote. I'm merely saying any such insight is a brushstroke in the grand overall painting of one artist's life.

My approach to the appreciation of creative endeavours is as all-inclusive as Mahler's approach to writing symphonies. But I am not saying that anyone else has to take this angle.

M
post #992 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bunnyears
In the end, does it really affect how we enjoy the music of Mahler or the literature of Mann? I think both the music and literature stand firmly on their own merits, apart from any of the human foibles of their creators.
Being fascinated by creative types and what makes them tick (because I have my own creative pusuits myself), such information does affect how I experience a given creator's art. It may only be in an infinetesimally small way, but it's another piece of information that helps me connect with a human being who was tapping into artistic greatness. That way these figures don't seem remote and unreal. If I can't connect the great artists to some sense of human reality, I'd be afraid I'd lose what little faith I have left in human civilization. So, sure, this is my own very personal Jungian approach to appreciating the arts, but, hey, it works for me. But maybe I should just keep such thoughts to myself and not annoy everyone with them. Sorry!

M
post #993 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark from HFR
I respectfully disagree with this quite intensely, but that's just my opinion. Years of reading, writing, playing music, and listening has convinced me that art doesn't happen in a vacuum, and everything affects everything else. This is not to say that anything that influences an artist is more important or more significant than the pure abstract product of their creative endeavours, certainly not in the case of this anecdote. I'm merely saying any such insight is a brushstroke in the grand overall painting of one artist's life.

My approach to the appreciation of creative endeavours is as all-inclusive as Mahler's approach to writing symphonies. But I am not saying that anyone else has to take this angle.

M
You are welcome, of course, to disagree with me. However, I do not see a direct connection between a person's CV and their art. I tend to separate the creator and the creation. Art might not happen in a vacuum, but every little detail need not be included in the approach to either the artist or the art. In some cases, really repugnant people created really wonderful art and really nice people never managed to do better than middling work. People are so complicated and downright weird that I find it pointless to start connecting life with art. However, you sound like you have the right idea about considering the artist's life with his/her art. In that case, I won't quibble and we'll just have to agree to disagree.
post #994 of 3714
Mark,

For the most part I agree with you. You have only to note my fascination with Alma Mahler's love life to understand this, and I am really fascinated by the whole scenario of that Visconti anecdote. But I also believe that understanding the context (historical, cultural) and knowing the psyche (sexual orientation as well) of a composer can help us to appreciate the work only on a purely intellectual level by giving it more associative meaning. What it cannot do is to detract from or add to the actual quality of the work. Great and good men have created very bad art and very bad men have created very great art. That is, ofcourse, one of the great paradoxes of human existance and endeavor. That is why I always have believed that the art does in fact have a separate existance apart from the creator. If I could not make this separation, I could never for example, listen to the voice of Elisabeth Schwartzkopf who was such an enthusiastic member of the nazi party, or marvel at the pyramids of Mexico, which were used for the most abominable rites of sacrifice.

Weak female that I am, Mahler's sexual preferences are to me almost as interesting as his mystical leanings.* Mahler's mysticism, which existed despite what I perceive to have been his indifference to most forms of organized religion, was probably a lot more important as a contributing factor to his work than his sexuality. On the other hand, I think the question of Mann's sexuality as a factor in his work is more pertinent as Mann did admit to having sexual feelings for young men, incorporated those feelings into his work, and admitted to consciously choosing a hererosexual lifestyle by marrying and have a large family.

In the end, when I consider how very rich the milieu of late 19th century, early 20th century Vienna and Berlin was, the wanton manner in which the assets of that culture were wasted on the first world war becomes so much more important to me when I listen to the music of Mahler and his contemporaries than any speculation about his possible sexual orientation.

*Btw, the more I read, the more I am learning about Mahler's affairs with females during the course of his marriage to Alma -- who herself was promiscuous, the more I doubt the Visconti anecdote. Also, more interestingly, are you aware that when the problems in his marriage became unbearably painful to Mahler, he consulted with Sigmund Freud? Oh to have been a fly on the wall in the good doctor's office during those sessions!
post #995 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bunnyears
he consulted with Sigmund Freud? Oh to have been a fly on the wall in the good doctor's office during those sessions!
Freud was on holiday so the consulatation took place as a walk around Leyden in Holland. Mahler cancelled his enagements to visit Freud, and Freud was inpressed enough with Mahler the famous man to interrupt his holiday. The consultation is the source of the story that Mahler rushed out of his parent's house while they were arguing and came upon an organ grinder in the street. This is why the tragic and the banal are so inextricably entwined. If you believe that they are. Not a lot of banality in Das Lied von der Erde or the Ninth Symphony though.

But to return to the thread can I recommend a version of the ninth symphony? It's cheap but very good. Libor Pesek and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra on Virgin, it's coupled with a Mahler one from Andrew Litton, which might interest Litton fans. Or it's also available in a budget box with the fifth symphony and some songs thrown in.

I'm waiting to receive the new SACD of Mahler's sixth by Claudio Abbado and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. Will report when I've heard it.
post #996 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hartley Shawcros
Mahler rushed out of his parent's house while they were arguing and came upon an organ grinder in the street. This is why the tragic and the banal are so inextricably entwined. If you believe that they are. Not a lot of banality in Das Lied von der Erde or the Ninth Symphony though.
I would say that the extraodinary and the banale are inextricably intertwined in everyone's life. Mahler's gift was to transfigure the banale into something of extreme beauty and reveal it as the small blessings that can be found even in circumstances of complete tragedy and despair.
post #997 of 3714
Im playing Mahler 9 with the National Youth Symphony Orchestra of Ireland and Finnish conductor Atso Amila in 3 weeks and i cant wait!!!!!
I've been listening to my Barbirolli recording of it non stop- im half way through my leaving certificate (irish state exam for college) and i spent yestersday enjoying the (rare) sunny weather and listening to mahler 9 on my Zen, im tellin you, nothing beats that! the anticipation is killing me!
post #998 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marimba
Im playing Mahler 9 with the National Youth Symphony Orchestra of Ireland and Finnish conductor Atso Amila in 3 weeks and i cant wait!!!!!
I've been listening to my Barbirolli recording of it non stop- im half way through my leaving certificate (irish state exam for college) and i spent yestersday enjoying the (rare) sunny weather and listening to mahler 9 on my Zen, im tellin you, nothing beats that! the anticipation is killing me!
well , you have all my respect and congrats .. looking forward to see you here posting after the concert in 3 weeks ..
btw how much time do you dedicate playing for preparing the concert ?
post #999 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marimba
Im playing Mahler 9 with the National Youth Symphony Orchestra of Ireland and Finnish conductor Atso Amila in 3 weeks and i cant wait!!!!!
I've been listening to my Barbirolli recording of it non stop- im half way through my leaving certificate (irish state exam for college) and i spent yestersday enjoying the (rare) sunny weather and listening to mahler 9 on my Zen, im tellin you, nothing beats that! the anticipation is killing me!
That's awesome - what a great experience! Percussionist, I presume?
post #1000 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bunnyears
In the end, when I consider how very rich the milieu of late 19th century, early 20th century Vienna and Berlin was, the wanton manner in which the assets of that culture were wasted on the first world war becomes so much more important to me when I listen to the music of Mahler and his contemporaries than any speculation about his possible sexual orientation.
Certainly! Have you ever read "A Nervous Splendor" by Frederic Morton? I don't know if it is still in print now or not, but it is a fantastic book that tells of the lead up to Austrian Crown Prince Rudolf's suicide in 1889. Morton examines the whole social, artistic, and cultural atmosphere of Vienna at the time, and the book includes lots of fascinating stories about Bruckner, Brahms, Mahler, Klimt, Freud, and others. One funny little glimpse: At times when Mahler was carried away with a conversation, he would inadvertantly stir his coffee with his cigarette. More importantly, though, the book really gives a feel for the outburst of creativity in Vienna in the late 1800's as the empire teetered on the brink. Highly recommended.

M
post #1001 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by PSmith08
You are welcome, of course, to disagree with me. However, I do not see a direct connection between a person's CV and their art. I tend to separate the creator and the creation. Art might not happen in a vacuum, but every little detail need not be included in the approach to either the artist or the art. In some cases, really repugnant people created really wonderful art and really nice people never managed to do better than middling work. People are so complicated and downright weird that I find it pointless to start connecting life with art. However, you sound like you have the right idea about considering the artist's life with his/her art. In that case, I won't quibble and we'll just have to agree to disagree.
Agreed! What can I say, I just find the weirdness of people too entertaining not to connect it (at least loosely) with their art. In a way, that is pointless, but in the grand scheme of things, so is everything else. So, what the hey, it keeps me occupied and out of mischief. (For the most part... )
post #1002 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marimba
Im playing Mahler 9 with the National Youth Symphony Orchestra of Ireland and Finnish conductor Atso Amila in 3 weeks and i cant wait!!!!!
I've been listening to my Barbirolli recording of it non stop- im half way through my leaving certificate (irish state exam for college) and i spent yestersday enjoying the (rare) sunny weather and listening to mahler 9 on my Zen, im tellin you, nothing beats that! the anticipation is killing me!
How wonderful! Let us know all about your experience, both rehearsal and concert.
post #1003 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bunnyears
Now, to get back to the important things...

I have the Szell M4 on order, so I haven't heard it yet. The Reiner M4, however is extremely satisfying, and the singing really elevates it. There is this problem with all of Mahler's works: no matter how great the interpretation I'm never satisfied. I guess that there is always the hint within the work that there is something new that can be uncovered, so I need more and more and more. I also have the James Levine 4th because I feel that it is one of the works that benefits from a conductor who knows how to direct voices. Szell as a specialist in Beethoven and Mozart would also be a natural for the 4th, so I am really looking forward to getting that one into the stack.
The Szell Mahler 4 is my favorite recording of my entire CD collection. Enjoy.

I am back from my travels, four weeks on the road was fun but I am glad to be back.


It is also good to see some Mahler activity again.

dshea
post #1004 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark from HFR
Certainly! Have you ever read "A Nervous Splendor" by Frederic Morton? I don't know if it is still in print now or not, but it is a fantastic book that tells of the lead up to Austrian Crown Prince Rudolf's suicide in 1889. Morton examines the whole social, artistic, and cultural atmosphere of Vienna at the time, and the book includes lots of fascinating stories about Bruckner, Brahms, Mahler, Klimt, Freud, and others. One funny little glimpse: At times when Mahler was carried away with a conversation, he would inadvertantly stir his coffee with his cigarette. More importantly, though, the book really gives a feel for the outburst of creativity in Vienna in the late 1800's as the empire teetered on the brink. Highly recommended.

M
Mark,

At one point I was fascinated with Sisi, the Archduke Rudolf, Maria Vetsera, Mayerling and everything about Imperial Vienna.

I have read other books by Frederic Morton, and this would really have appealed to me, but a quick check doesn't find it in the house. I've just ordered it from B&N along with it's sequel, Thunder at Twilight: Vienna 1913-1914. They will fit on the shelf very neatly next to The Guns of August and Nicholas and Alexandra. Morton has a new book just out this month, Runaway Waltz: A Memoir from Vienna to New York. That also sounds like it might make good reading while listening to Mahler and Bruckner.
post #1005 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by dshea_32665
The Szell Mahler 4 is my favorite recording of my entire CD collection. Enjoy.

I am back from my travels, four weeks on the road was fun but I am glad to be back.


It is also good to see some Mahler activity again.

dshea
Welcome back!

Have you heard the Reiner M4? I have it on XRCD, but it is supposed to be coming out on SACD/Hybrid (Living Presence I think) which means I'll probably buy that one as well. I guess it's still open wallet season.
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