Composer of the Day!

Today’s composer of the day is Gustav Mahler.


The poster child for late romanticism, Mahler wrote relatively few pieces, busy with conducting engagements throughout his career. Among the best known are his nine symphonies, with extensive sketches for a tenth, which has been completed by various people. There are also a number of songs, mostly with orchestral accompaniment.

His music is performed regularly. In fact, it is difficult to find a symphony concert without either Beethoven or Mahler on its program. His place in the musical canon is, perhaps, due to a rich and nearly inexhaustible palate of topics the music seems to conjure up.

Each work, according to Mahler, in their own way represents a kind of autobiography. Lengthy and filled to the brim with evocative musical imagery, the music is said to explore every emotional situation placed from the countryside to the bedside, to inside the head and back again.

This is a typical reaction to his music. Silly isn't it?

He famously once visited Dr. Freud. Mahler not Lenny. Go figure.

You should listen to his music. I do.


Anonymous said...

"His music is still performed regularly."

Indeed, but only more recently. Mahler wasn't played much, and was generally derided by the hucka-muckas of music, for a long time.
His canonnical status took some time, unlike Beethoven or Stravinsky.

It's interesting to see (if you have a penchant for doing horribly, obscenely nerdy things) how much text Mahler gets from the first edition of Grout to the latest. As the Mahler legitimation process gained steam, he got more ink.

Good choice, though I don't profess to be the biggest Mahler fan. More of Victor Herbert guy, 'cause, you know, the tunes are better.

Sator Arepo said...

He sure was funny looking! He sort of looks like a tombstone. I'd be depressed, too.

Anonymous said...

A surprisingly polarizing figure in my experience. There seems to be, still, such a strong resentment and backlash against romanticism and especially its most opulent composers. I am always amazed at the complete lack of appreciation by composers for Mahler's skill and adroitness with which he ushered in the era of color and truely dynamic orchestrations. His music, while not always enjoying the virtue of brevity, is always well-written and supremely conceived...not too mention quite often beautiful.

Empiricus said...


Sator Arepo said...

I am with Mr. Webern on this one. (Surprise!)