Sunday, January 22, 2012


Some say Mahler is an acquired taste
but I took to his music immediately
when I was introduced to it.

Although he wrote in a Post-Romantic style, in many ways he was the first truly 20th Century composer.

A few words used to describe Mahler in Harold Schonberg's "The Lives of the Great Composers":
eternal questing
seeking and searching
inability to come to terms with society
guilt complex
doubt and anxieties
an "obsessive neurotic"
a psychic weakling
a sentimentalist
a "manic depressive"

In other words, the first 20th Century Schizoid Man.

"Only when I experience do I compose -
only when I compose do I experience."
- Gustav Mahler
The Los Angeles Philharmonic, under the direction of their 30-year old conductor Gustavo Dudamel, is performing "The Mahler Project", all 9 symphonies (plus the Adagio from the 10th) in a three-week time span.

I, of course, have to go.
I will bask in 7 symphonies in the course of the next 14 days, including the rarely performed Symphony #8 which asks for an orchestra and chorus of 1000 performers.

Over the years this overwhelming amount of music
has spoken to my heart
led me into marriage
and charted points in my mental joy and anguish.

Mahler died at the age of 51 in 1911.
His last completed score (Symphony #10: Adagio) was completed in 1910.
His music, and his life, bridges the Millennium.
Two years later, Schoenberg performed "Pierrot Lunaire".
Three years later, Stravinsky performed "The Rite of Spring".
Mahler's symphonies certainly led the way, consciously or unconsciously, for these composers.

Mahler was a crazy diamond.
I look forward to spending time studying the facets,
watching them shine.