Tuesday, July 7, 2015

gustav mahler

Gustav Mahler 
(7 July 1860 – 18 May 1911)

This stormy turn-of-the-century Austrian late-Romantic conductor and composer pushed the boundaries of symphonic form.     Born in Kalischt, Bohemia, he began performing at the age of ten, and went on to study at the Prague Gymnasium and Vienna Conservatory.   He had to deal with the anti-Semitism the musical world of Vienna and eventually would convert to Catholicism for political reasons.  He composed in his spare time, primarily working as a conductor, making waves with his progressive choice of material through a series of successful appointments in Prague, Leipzig, Budapest, Hamburg, Vienna, and New York.  

His rigorous rehearsal methods drew both the ire and respect of orchestra members, and he was acknowledged as the leading conductor of his time for his operatic presentations.  By refusing late arrivals to concerts, he made enemies among the elite in Vienna.  

After his marriage to Alma Maria Schindler ended in infidelity and betrayal and his five year old daughter Maria Anna died, he sought a session with another prominent figure in Vienna:  Sigmund Freud.   The turbulent inner life of the conductor fueled his compositions, as he moved closer to atonal musical forms.  He also expanded the orchestra beyond what had been considered possible, with his 8th Symphony written to include one thousand participants.  

He died of a blood infection at the age of fifty and his music not only fell out of fashion but was actually banned as "degenerate" by the Nazi regime.  It was not until after the Second World War that his music began to be celebrated as his influence on modern classical music was understood and appreciated.   

Mahler would express:    

"Melodic invention is one of the surest signs of a divine gift."

"If a composer could say what he had to say in words he would not bother trying to say it in music."

"My need to express myself musically — symphonically — begins at the point where the dark feelings hold sway, at the door which leads to the other world — the world in which things are no longer separated by time and space," 

"A symphony must be like the world. It must contain everything."

"The point is not to take the world's opinion as a guiding star but to go one's way in life and working unerringly, neither depressed by failure nor seduced by applause."

"All that is not perfect down to the smallest detail is doomed to perish."

"It should be one's sole endeavor to see everything afresh and create it anew."

"Never let oneself be guided by the opinion of one's contemporaries. Continue steadfastly on one's way."

"I demand that every note must be heard exactly as it sounds in my inner ear.  To achieve this, I exploit all means available to the utmost."



Symphony No. 1 in D

Symphony No. 2   Resurrection

Symphony No. 3   Pan

Symphony No. 4

Symphony No. 5

Symphony No. 6 in A minor

Symphony No. 7

Symphony No. 8 in E flat    Symphony of a Thousand

Symphony No. 9

Symphony No. 10 in F sharp

Early works
1876: Piano Quartet in A minor
1878–80: Das klagende Lied
1880: Three Lieder: "Im Lenz"; "Winterlied"; "Maitanz im Grünen"
1880–83: Lieder und Gesänge Vol. I (five songs)
1885–86: Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen (four songs)
1884: Der Trompeter von Säckingen (lost)

Wunderhorn period
1887-88: Die Drei Pintos adaptation
1887–90: Lieder und Gesänge Vol. II (four songs)
1887–90: Lieder und Gesänge Vol. III (five songs)
1888–96: Symphony No. 1 in D
1888–94: Symphony No. 2
1892: "Das himmlische Leben" 
1892–1901: Des Knaben Wunderhorn (12 songs)
1894–96: Symphony No. 3
1899-1901: Symphony No. 4

Middle period
1901–04: Rückert-Lieder (5 songs)
1901–04: Kindertotenlieder (5 songs)
1901–02: Symphony No. 5
1903–04: Symphony No. 6 in A minor
1904–05: Symphony No. 7
1906–07: Symphony No. 8 in E flat

Late works
1908–09: Das Lied von der Erde
1909–10: Symphony No. 9
1910: Symphony No. 10 in F sharp (unfinished; continuous draft score)

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