|Gustav Mahler in 1906|
This month our theme is LISTEN: Research (history, composer, etc.) and listen to a piece of classical music each week, and comment on it. We're still working out some of the selections--but one person we're definitely going to highlight is Gustav Mahler, who has been a favorite of ourss for a long time! I am super excited because I actually don't know much about Mahler; I only know that I've loved everything of his that I have ever heard.
2010 and 2011 are good years for those who love Gustav Mahler. 2010 was the 150th anniversary of his birth, and 2011 the 100th anniversary of his death. Needless to say: he's on just about every civic orchestra's concert list this season. And I've been collecting links about Mahler for ages now, so here's a nice start to my research:
+ Mahler's last concert was at Carnegie Hall:
A short, intense man, bundled in woolens, burst through the Carnegie Hall stage door 100 years ago for the last concert of his life. Gustav Mahler should not, by rights, have been there. The doctor had ordered him to bed with a head cold, and his relations with the New York Philharmonic had broken down at a hostile board meeting where, as tempers rose, a lawyer was whisked out from behind a curtain wielding a menacing contract. Any maestro today would have canceled the next concert, leaving the orchestra and his agent to concoct a face-saving statement. Mahler, though, was not a quitter.(WSJ) John Susanka responds.
+ I've never heard his poetic songs performed, but they brought my sister to tears once. Singer Thomas Hampson recently released an album of the lieder based on German folk poetry called Des Knaben Wunderhorn (CD, MP3). The WSJ sat down to discuss Mahler's influence on Hampson's career.
+ Is there too much Mahler (WSJ...ironically, since they've written more about him this past year than about any other composer as far as I have read.)
+ Last fall Norman Liebrecht released book Why Mahler: How One Man and Ten Symphonies Changed Our World. Here are reviews: WSJ; The Economist; New Republic. While the reviews make me hesitate, if I had time for more reading, I'd pick up Liebrecht's other Mahler book Mahler Remembered which was recommended by Terry Teachout and is a compilation of personal papers, letters, etc of Mahler.
+ Alex Ross (the New Yorker music critic and my go to source for classical music criticism) published a review in the London Review of Books in 2000 of several books about Mahler. Fascinating reading.
+ Also from Alex Ross: this is a great (little) story about Mahler.
|I love this photo of Mahler with his wife |
(P.S. When a plaque is made to mark the house I lived in...I sure hope it has this awesome of a font.)