26 Posts
Belying the Title: Mahler’s Tragic Symphony
Mahler’s Sixth Symphony, nicknamed, though not by him, Tragic, was actually written at a happy time for Mahler. He completed it in 1903 after having married the 21-year-old Alma Schindler in 1902, and while he was composing the work, his
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Mahler for Chamber Orchestra
The problems with performances in the age of Covid is that the large orchestral works are just too dangerous to assemble. In Erwin Stein’s 1921 arrangement of Mahler’s Symphony No. 4, created for Arnold Schoenberg’s ‘Society for Private Musical Performances,’
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Musicians and Artists: Mahler and Böcklin
The Swiss symbolist artist Arnold Böcklin (1827-1901) was born in Dusseldorf and studied at the Dusseldorf Academy. His teacher sent him to Antwerp, Brussels, and Paris to study the old masters and develop his potential. In 1850, after a stint
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Going Against the Composer’s Wishes: Mahler’s Sentinel’s Night Song
In his settings of songs from the von Armin and Bretano collection Das Knaben Wunderhorn, Mahler set the martial Der Schildwache Nachtlied (The Sentinel’s Night Song), which is the musing of a night guard. As everyone slumbers around him, he
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Death Comes at the End: Mahler’s Totenfeier
If Mahler could write a scary movie soundtrack, his symphonic poem Totenfeier (Funeral Rites) would be one of his contributions. This 1888 work, which one writer described as a ‘huge symphonic funeral march,’ comes between his first two symphonies. If
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At The Beginning: Mahler’s Symphony No. 1
For every composer, the first work of a series is a serious undertaking. For the composers who followed Beethoven, the symphony was a particularly daunting mountain. Gone were the days of a composer writing hundreds of symphonies: Haydn wrote 106,
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Mahler: Kindertotenlieder
Premiered Today in 1905
Alma Mahler severely took her husband Gustav to task for composing a series of orchestral songs on texts dealing with the death of children. Merely two weeks after the birth of their second child, Alma found it incomprehensible and feared
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Mahler: Lied von der Erde
Premiered Today in 1911
In the summer 1907, Gustav Mahler’s mother in law suffered a mild heart attack. When the district physician was called to examine her, Gustav Mahler invited the physician to also take a look at him. To everyone’s surprise, Mahler was
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