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‘MAHLER: Commentary on His Music’

Gustav MahlerGustav Mahler Anniversary
July 7, 2010 marks the 150th anniversary of the birth of Gustav Mahler, one of the world’s greatest composers. Mahler’s music has catapulted to international acclaim during the past half century. Although his music has been amply recorded and performed, there are few places where a listener can go to find out how Mahler’s music works and what meaning it is intended to convey. So to celebrate this very special event, we will be presenting all of Mahler’s music in chronological order with a listeners’ guide to each work provided by our founder and program director, who also happens to be the president of the Gustav Mahler Society of New York.

Mahler Societies:
Internationale Gustav Mahler Gesellschaft Wien
Gustav Mahler Society of New York


Das Klagende Lied:
Susan Dunn, Brigitte Fassbaender, Markus Baur, Werner Hollweg, Düsseldorf  Musikverein Choir, Berlin Radio Symphony, Riccardo Chailly

Sym. #1:
Lucerne Festival Orchestra, Claudio Abbado (DVD)

Sym #2:
Emilia Cundari, Maureen Forrester, Westminster Choir, New York Philharmonic, Bruno Walter
Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Hilde Rössel-Majdan, Philharmonic Chorus & Orchestra, Otto Klemperer
Heather Harper, Helen Watts, London Symphony Chorus & Orchestra, Georg Solti
Eteri Gvazava, Anna Larsson, Orfeon Donostiarra Choir, Lucerne Festival Orch., Claudio Abbado

Sym #3:
Kathleen Ferrier, BBC Symphony, Adrian Boult
Hilde Rössel-Majdan, Vienna State Opera Chorus, Vienna Boys’ Choir, Vienna Philharmonic, F. Charles Adler
Anna Larsson, Arnold Schoenberg Chorus; Tölzer Boys’ Choir, Lucerne Festival Orchestra, Claudio Abbado

Sym #4:
Margaret Price, London Philharmonic, Jascha Horenstein
Sylvia McNair, Berlin Philharmonic, Bernard Haitink
Judith Raskin, Cleveland Orchestra, George Szell
Felicity Lott, London Philharmonic, Franz Welser-Möst

Sym #5:
New York Philharmonic, Bruno Walter
New Philharmonia, John Barbirolli
Chicago Symphony, George Solti
Lucerne Festival Orchestra, Claudio Abbado

Sym #6:
Vienna Philharmonic, Leonard Bernstein (video & audio)
London Philharmonic, Klaus Tennstedt
Lucerne Festival Orchestra, Claudio Abbado
New York Philharmonic, Dimitri Mitropoulos

Sym #7:
Chicago Symphony, Claudio Abbado
Lucerne Festival Orchestra, Claudio Abbado

Sym #8:
Soloists, Chicago Symphony, Vienna Boys’ Choir, Vienna State Opera Chorus & Vienna Sinverein, Georg Solti
Soloists, London Philharmonic Choir, Tiffin School Boys’ Choir, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Klaus Tennstedt

Sym #9:
Columbia Symphony, Bruno Walter
Berlin Philharmonic, John Barbirolli
Chicago Symphony, Carlo Maria Giulini
Bamberg Symphony, Jonathan Nott

Das Lied von der Erde:
Kathleen Ferrier, Julius Patzak, Vienna Philharmonic, Bruno Walter
Alfreda Hodgson, John Mitchinson, Northern Symphony, Jascha Horenstein
Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, James King, Vienna Philharmonic, Leonard Bernstein

Mahler: Commentary on Historical Recordings pt. 4

Monday, May 4th, 2020

With Lew Smoley

Mahler: Commentary on Historical Recordings pt. 3

Tuesday, April 21st, 2020

With Lew Smoley

Mahler: Commentary on Historical Recordings pt. 2

Monday, October 21st, 2019

With Lew Smoley

Mahler: Commentary on Historical Recordings pt. 1

Tuesday, October 8th, 2019

With Lew Smoley

Mahler Commentary: Urmotifs

Thursday, November 26th, 2015

Symphony No. 10 in F-Sharp Major – Fourth Movement

Friday, December 31st, 2010

Listening Guide

The Work

Tempo: Allegro pesante. Nicht zu schnell. (Not too fast)
Key: E minor, with trio sections in C major, A major and B major and a coda in D minor
Time Signature: 3/4
Form: Scherzo and Trio

Symphony No. 10 in F-Sharp Major – Fifth Movement

Friday, December 31st, 2010

Listening Guide

The Work

Tempo: Langsam, schwer (slow and heavy).
Key: F# major; beginning in D minor, with a main theme in B minor/major that goes through a series of modulations until it reaches the intended tonic before the final coda.
Time Signature: The introduction shifts from 4/4 to 3/4 to 2/4 (and one measure of 5/4) in nearly every measure, but when the principal theme is introduced the meter stabilizes into common time (4/4) for most of the remainder of the movement.
Form: Introduction-A-B-A-B-A Coda.

Symphony No. 10 in F-Sharp Major – Third Movement

Friday, December 31st, 2010

Listening Guide

The Work

Tempo: Allegro Moderato
Key: B-flat minor modulating to B-flat major, with a middle section in D minor, and closing in B-flat major/minor
Time Signature: 2/4
Form: Da capo (A-B-A)

Symphony No. 10 in F-Sharp Major – Second Movement

Friday, December 31st, 2010

Listening Guide

The Work

Tempo: Schnelle Viertel (3/4 ganze Takte – 4/4 alla breve)
Key: F-sharp minor with a first Trio in F major, a second Trio (Ländler) in E- flat major, concluding in F-sharp major
Time Signature: mixed meters that shift from duple to triple sometimes from measure to measure
Form: Scherzo and Trio

Symphony No. 10 in F-Sharp Major – First Movement

Friday, December 31st, 2010

Listening Guide

The Work

Principal Tempi: Andante; Adagio
Key: F-sharp major/minor with modulations into B minor, B-flat minor, D minor, A minor, A-flat minor, etc.
Time Signature: 4/4
Form: Sonata-Rondo with three principal subjects

Symphony No. 10 in F-Sharp Major – Introduction

Friday, December 31st, 2010

Listening Guide

The Work

Date(s) of composition: 1910-11
Place(s) of composition: Toblach (and New York)

Performing Versions and Completions:
Ernst Kenek edited the first and third movements with the assistance of Alban Berg and Alexander Zemlinsky, published in 1924 by Paul Zsolnay, Vienna and first performed in Vienna on 14 October 1924 under the direction of Franz Schalk; five-movement performing versions have been created by Joseph H. Wheeler, Hans Wollschlägen, Clinton A. Carpenter, Deryck Cooke, Remo Mazzetti, Jr., Nicola H. Samale and Giueseppe Mazzuca, and Rudolf Barshai in various editions (Wollschlägen and Mazzetti having withdrawn their versions, although a recording has been made of the latter with the Saint Louis Symphony under Leonard Slatkin); the premiere of Cooke’s first version was given in London on 13 August 1964, the London Symphony under the direction of Berthold Goldschmidt, after a work-in-progress performance was given under his direction on 19 December 1960 with the Philharmonia Orchestra. Joe Wheeler’s version has been recently performed (January, 1997) for the first time in many years at the MahlerFest in Boulder, Colorado under the direction of Robert Olsen. A recording of this performance has recently been released. Carpenter’s latest version was recorded in 1995 by The Philharmonia Hungarica under the direction of Harold Farberman. The Barshai version was recorded on September 12, 2001 by the Junge Deutsche Philharmonie under the direction of Rudolf Barshai on the Brilliant Classics label.

Movements: The symphony was apparently conceived by Mahler in five movements but his intention as to the movements’ order is unclear. All the performing versions thus far have presented the work in the following order of movements:

(1) ADAGIO (Andante; Adagio)
(2) SCHERZO (Schnelle Viertel) (In a fast four-beat measure) [Cooke]
(In gemächlicher Bewegung. Ohne Hast.)
(In an easy-going motion, without haste) [Carpenter]
(3) PURGATORIO (Allegretto moderato)
(Unheimlich bewegt) (extremely agitated) [Carpenter and Mazzetti do not use this title]
(4) [SCHERZO] (Allegro pesante. Nicht zu schnell) (not too fast) [Cooke]
(Kräftig, nicht zu schnell) (Powerfully, not too fast) [Carpenter]
(5) FINALE (Langsam, schwer (Slow, heavy); Allegro moderato; sehr ruhig (very restful)) [Cooke]

(Cooke first performing version)
The Philadelphia Orchestra
Eugene Ormandy, conductor
(Sony Classical 82876-78742-2)
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Symphony No. 9 in D Major – Fourth Movement

Friday, December 31st, 2010

Listening Guide

The Work

Tempo: Sehr Langsam und Noch Zurückhaltend (very slow and yet held back); (Molto Adagio)
Key: D-flat major (subsidiary section first in D-flat minor, then in C-sharp minor) with a brief excursion into F-sharp major during the development
Time Signature: 4/4
Form: sonata form

Symphony No. 9 in D Major – Third Movement

Friday, December 31st, 2010

Listening Guide

The Work

Tempo: Allegro Assai. Sehr Trotzig (Very Obstinate)
Key: A minor (with C sections in D) and various modulations (D minor, F major, D minor, A major, A-flat minor, etc.)
Time Signature: Alla Breve with subsidiary theme in 2/4.
Form: Rondo (ABA’B’A”CC’C”A”’ Coda)

Symphony No. 9 in D Major – Second Movement

Friday, December 31st, 2010

Listening Guide

The Work

Tempo: Im Tempo Eines Gemächlichen Ländlers. Etwas Täppisch Und Sehr Derb. (In the tempo of an easy-going ländler; somewhat clumsy and very coarse).
Key: C Major, with Tempo II waltz theme in E major and E-flat major and Tempo III Ländler in F major, and various modulations.
Time Signature: 3/4
Form: Rondo (ABCBCABA Coda)

Symphony No. 9 in D Major – First Movement

Friday, December 31st, 2010

Listening Guide

The Work

Tempo: andante comodo
Key: d major/minor with a third subject in b-flat major and various excursions into a variety of keys
Time Signature: 4/4
Form: sonata with rondo elements

Symphony No. 9 in D Major – Introduction

Friday, December 31st, 2010

Listening Guide

The Work

Date(s) of composition: 1909-10; published by Universal Editions, Vienna (1912)
Place(s) of composition: Toblach and New York
Premiere: Vienna, 26 June 1912, Bruno Walter conducting

Orchestration: piccolo, 4 flutes, 4 oboes (4th doubling with English horn), 3 clarinets, clarinet in E-flat, bass clarinet, 4 bassoons (4th doubling with contrabassoon), 4 horns, 3 trumpets, 3 trombones, bass tuba, timpani (2 players), bass drum, small drum, triangle, cymbals, tam-tam, glockenspiel, 3 deep bells, harp and strings.

(1) Andante comodo
(2) Im Tempo eines gemächlichen Ländlers. Etwas täppisch und sehr derb
(3) Rondo-Burleske / Allegro assai. Sehr trotzig
(4) Adagio

Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Bernard Haitink, conductor
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Das Lied von der Erde – Der Abschied

Friday, December 31st, 2010

Listening Guide

The Work

Tempo: Schwer (Heavy); Sehr Mässig (Very moderate).
Key: Begins in C minor; with principal sections in F, B-flat major, C major and minor, and ending by hovering between in C major and A minor.
Time Signature: Begins in 4/4, with principal sections in alla breve and 3/4 and numerous meter shifts to 2/4, 6/4, 2/2, 3/2, etc.
Form: Combination of sonata form and binary song form

Die Sonne scheidet hinter dem Gebirge.
In alle Täler steigt der Abend nieder
mit seinen Schatten, die voll Kühlung sind.

O sieh! Wie eine Silberbarke schwebt
der Mond am blauen Himmelssee herauf.
Ich spüre eines feinen Windes Wehn
hinter den dunklen Fichten!

Der Bach singt voller Wohllaut durch das Dunkel.
Die Blumen blassen im Dämmerschein.

Die Erde atmet voll von Ruh und Schlaf.
Alle Sehnsucht will nun träumen,
die müden Menschen gehn heimwärts,
um im Schlaf bergessnes Glück
und Jugend neu zu lernen!

Die Vögel hocken still in ihren Zweigen.
Die Welt schläft ein. . .

Es wehet kühl im Schatten meiner Fichten.
Ich stehe hier und harre meines Freundes;
ich harre sein zum letzten Lebewohl.

Ich sehne mich, o Freund, an diener Seite
die Schönheit dieses Abends zu geniessen.
Wo bleibst du? Du lässt mich lang allein!

Ich wandle auf und nieder mit meiner Laute
auf Wegen, die von weichem Grase schwellen.
O Schönheit! O ewigen Liebens, Lebens trunkne Welt!

Er stieg vom Pferd und reichte ihm den Trunk
des Abschieds dar. Er fragte ihn, wohin
er führe und auch warum es müsste sein.

Er sprach, seine Stimme war umflort:
Du, mein Freund,
mir war auf dieser Welt das Glück nicht hold!
Wohin ich geh? Ich geh, ich werde in die Berge.
Ich suche Ruhe für mein einsam Herz.

Ich wandle nach der Heimat, meiner Stätte.
Ich werde niemals in die Ferne schweifen.
Still ist mein Herz und harret seiner Stunde.

Die liebe Erde allüberall blüht auf im Lenz und grünt
aufs neu! Allüberall und ewig blauen licht die Fernen!
Ewig . . . ewig . . .

The sun sinks behind the mountains.
Evening falls in the valleys
with its shadows, full of cooling freshness.

See, how the moon above floats like a silver ship
on the blue sea of the heavens.
I feel a gentle wind blowing
behind the dark pines!

The brook sings loud and melodious through the darkness.
The flowers grow pale in the twilight.

The earth breathes deeply in rest and sleep.
All longing now has turned to dreaming.
The tired people go homewards
to find forgotten happiness in sleep
and to learn youth anew!

The birds crouch silent on the branches.
The world falls asleep. . .

There is a cool breeze in the shadow of the pines.
I stand here waiting for my friend;
I wait to bid him a last farewell.

I long, my friend, to enjoy the beauty
of the evening at your side.
Where are you? You have left me alone so long!

I wander up and down with my lute
on paths rich with soft grass.
O beauty! O world, drunk forever with love and life!

He dismounted and gave him the parting cup.
He asked him where
he was going, and also why it must be.

He spoke, and his tones were veiled:
O my friend,
fortune was not kind to me in this world!
Where am I going? I shall wander in the mountains,
I seek rest for my lonely heart.

I shall wander to my native land, to my home.
I shall never roam abroad.
Still is my heart, it is awaiting its hour.

Everywhere the lovely earth blossoms forth in spring and
grows green anew! Everywhere, forever, horizons are blue and bright!
Forever and ever . . .

Das Lied von der Erde – Der Trunkene im Frühling

Friday, December 31st, 2010

Listening Guide

The Work

Tempo: Allegro, keck, aber nicht zu schnell (brazen, but not too fast)
Key: A major, with subsidiary theme in F and excursions into D-flat major/minor, etc.
Time signature: 4/4 (with a few bars of 2/4)
Form: ABA song form

Wenn nur ein Traum das Leben ist,
warum denn Müh und Plag?
Ich trinke, bis ich nicht mehr kann,
den ganzen lieben Tag!

Und wenn ich nicht mehr trinken kann,
weil Kehl und Seele voll,
so tauml’ ich bis zu meiner Tür
und schlafe wundervoll!

Was hör ich beim Erwachen? Horch!
Ein Vogel singt im Baum.
Ich frag ihn, ob schon Frühling sei,
mir ist als wie im Traum.

Der Vogel zwitschert: Ja! Der Lenz ist da,
sie kommen über Nacht!
Aus tiefstem Schauen lauscht ich auf,
der Vogel singt und lacht!

ich fülle mir den Becher neu
und leer ihn bis zum Grund
und singe, bis der Mond erglänzt
am schwarzen Firmament!

Und wenn icht nicht mehr singen kann,
so schlaf ich wieder ein.
Was geht mich denn der Frühling an?

lasst mich betrunken sein!

If life is but a dream,
why should there be toil and misery?
I drink till I can drink no more
the whole, long, merry day!

And when I can drink no more,
for body and mind are sated,
I stagger to my door
and sleep wonderfully!

And what do I hear when I awake? Hark!
a bird is singing in the tree.
I ask him if it is already spring;
it seems to me like a dream.

The bird twitters: yes! Spring is here,
it came overnight!
With deep attention I listened for it;
the bird sings and laughs!

I fill my glass anew
and drain it to the bottom,
and sing until the moon shines out
in the dark heavens.

And when I can no longer sing,
I fall asleep again.
What have I to do with spring?

Let me be drunk!

Das Lied von der Erde – Von der Schönheit

Friday, December 31st, 2010

Listening Guide

The Work

Tempo: Comodo Dolcissimo
Principal Key: G major with modulations into E, G, C, A-flat, F, D and B-flat major
Time signature: shifting between 3/4, 4/4 and occasional bars of 2/4
Form: sonata form (ABA’)

Junge Mädchen pflücken Blumen,
pflücken Lotosblumen an dem Uferrande.
Zwischen Büschen und Blättern sitzen sie,
sammeln Blüten in den Schoss und rufen
sich einander Neckereien zu.

Goldne Sonne webt um die Gestalten,
spiegelt sie im blanken Wasser wider.

Sonne spiegelt ihre schlanken Glieder,
ihre süssen Augen wider.
Und der Zephir hebt mit Schmeichelkosen das Gewebe
ihrer Ärmel auf, führt den Zauber
ihrer Wohlgerüche durch die Luft.

O sieh, was tummeln sich für schöne Knaben
dort an dem Uferrand auf mutgen Rossen?
Weithin glänzend wie die Sonnenstrahlen;
schon zwischen dem Geäst der grünen Weiden
trabt das jungfrische Volk einher!
Das Ross des einen wiehert fröhlich auf
über Blumen, Gräser, wanken hin die Hufe,
und scheut und saust dahin,
sie zerstampfen jäh im Sturm die hingesunken Blüten,
Hei! Wie flattern im Taumel seinen Mähnen,
dampfen heiss die Nüstern!

Goldne Sonne webt um die Gestalten,
spiegelt sie im blanken Wasser wider.
Und die schönste von den Jungfrau sendet
lange Blicke ihm der Sehnsucht nach.
Ihre stolze Haltung ist nur Vertellung:
in dem Funkeln ihrer grossen Augen,
in dem Dunkel ihres heissen Blicks
schwingt klagend noch die Erregung ihres Herzens nach.

Young girls are picking flowers,
lotus-flowers by the river-bank.
They are sitting among the bushes and the leaves,
gathering blossoms in their laps and calling
teasingly to one another.

The golden sun shines over their forms
and reflects them in the clear water.

The sun reflects their slender limbs,
and their sweet eyes.
And the breeze lifts their embroidered sleeves
caressingly, and carries the magic of their
perfume through the air.

Oh see, what fair youths are those
there by the river-bank on their brave steeds?
Flashing in the distance like sunbeams,
the gay young men are trotting by,
among the branches of the green willows!
The steed of one of them neighs merrily,
hesitates and plunges on.
His hoofs pass over flowers and grass;
stormily they trample down the fallen blossoms.
How his mane tosses in frenzy!
Hot steam blows from his nostrils.

The golden sun shines over the forms
and reflects them in the clear water.
And the fairest of the maidens casts
looks of longing after him.
Her proud bearing is only pretense:
in the flashing of her large eyes,
in the darkness of her warm glances,
her anxious heart is still throbbing.

Das Lied von der Erde – Von der Jugend

Friday, December 31st, 2010

Listening Guide

The Work

Tempo: Behaglich heiter (comfortably cheerful)
Principal Key: B-flat major (with a contrasting sections in G minor and major)
Time Signature: alla breve
Form: Song form (ABA)

Mitten in dem kleinen Teiche
steht ein Pavillon aus grünem
und aus weissem Porzellan.

Wie der Rücken eines Tigers
wölbt die Brücke sich aus Jade
zu dem Pavillon hinüber.

In dem Häuschen sitzen Freunde,
schön gekleidet, trinken, plaudern;
manche schreiben Verse nieder.

Ihre seidnen Ärmel gleiten
rückwärts, ihre seidnen Mützen
hocken lustig tief im Nacken.

Auf des kleinen Teiches stiller
Wasserfläche zeigt sich alles
wunderlich im Spiegelbilde:

Alles auf dem Kopfe stehend
in dem Pavillon aus grünem
und aus weissem Porzellan.

Wie ein Halbmond steht die Brücke,
umgekehrt der Bogen. Freunde,
schön gekleidet, trinken, plaudern.

In the middle of the little pool
stands a pavilion of green
and white porcelain.

Like a tiger’s back
the jade bridge arches itself
over to the pavilion.

In the little house friends are sitting,
prettily dressed, drinking and chattering;
some are writing down verses.

Their silk sleeves fall
backwards; their silk caps perch
roguishly back on their heads.

On the still surface of the little pool
everything is reflected
wonderfully as in a mirror:

Everything is standing on its head
in the pavilion of green
and white porcelain.

The bridge stands like a half-moon
with its arch upside-down. Friends
prettily dressed are drinking and chattering.

Das Lied von der Erde – Der Einsame im Herbst

Friday, December 31st, 2010

Listening Guide

The Work

Tempo: Etwas schleichend. Ermüdet. (Somewhat lingering, worn out).
Key: D minor/major with contrasting sections in B-flat major
Time Signature: 3/2 (occasionally altering with 2/2 and 4/2)
Form: Strophic with elements of sonata form

Herbstnebel wallen bläulich überm See;
vom Reif bezogen stehen alle Gräser;
man meint, ein Künstler habe Staub von Jade
über die feinen Blüten ausgestreut.

Der süsse Duft der Blumen ist verflogen;
ein kalter Wind beugt ihre Stengel nieder.
Bald werden die verwelkten, goldnen Blätter
der Lotosblüten auf dem Wasser ziehn.

Mein Herz ist müde. Meine kleine Lampe
erlosch mit Knistern, es gemahnt mich an den Schlaf.
Ich komm zu dir, traute Ruhestätte!
Ja, gib mir Ruh, ich hab Erquickung not!

The autumn mists drift blue over the lake;
the blades of grass stand covered with frost;
one would think an artist had strewn jade-dust
over the delicate blossoms.

The flowers’ sweet scent is gone;
an icy wind bends down their stems.
Soon the withered golden leaves
of the lotus-flowers will be drifting on the water.

My heart is weary. My little lamp
has gone out with a sputter, it urges me to go to sleep.
I come to you, beloved place of rest!
Yes, give me rest; I need refreshment!

Das Lied von der Erde – Das Trinklied vom Jammer der Erde

Friday, December 31st, 2010

Listening Guide

The Work

Tempo: Allegro Pesante (Ganze Takte, nicht schell) (alla breve, not fast)
Principal Key: A minor
Time Signature: 3/4
Form: Modified Sonata form

Schon winkt der Wein im golden Pokale,
doch trinkt noch nicht, erst sing ich euch ein Lied!
Das Lied vom Kummer soll auflachend in die Selle euch klingen.
Wenn der Kummer naht, liegen wüst die Gärten der Seele.

Welkt hin und stirbt die Freude, der Gesang.
Dunkel ist das Leben, ist der Tod.

Herr diese Hauses!
Dein Keller birgt die Fülle des goldenen Weins!
Hier, diese Laute nenn ich mein!
Die Laute schlagen und die Gläser leeren,
das sind die Dinge, die zusammenpassen.
Ein voller Becher Weins zur rechten Zeit
ist mehr wert als alle Reiche dieser Erde!
Dunkel ist das Leben, ist der Tod.

Das Firmament blaut ewig und die Erde
wird lange fest stehn und aufblühn im Lenz.
Du aber, Mensch, wie lang lebst denn du?
Nicht hundert Jahre darfst du dich ergötzen
an all dem morschen Tande dieser Erde!
Seht dort hinab! Im Mondschein auf den Gräbern
hockt eine wild-gespenstische Gestalt–

Ein Aff ist’s! Hört ihr, wie sein Heulen
hinaus-gellt in den süssen Duft des Lebens!
Jetzt nehmt den Wein! Jetzt ist es Zeit, Genossen!
Leert eure goldnen Becher zu Grund!
Dunkel ist das Leben; ist der Tod.

Wine is already sparkling in the golden goblet
but do not drink yet; first I will sing you a song!
The song of care shall sound laughing in your
When care draws near, the gardens of the soul lie waste.

Joy and singing fade away and die.
Dark is life; so is death.

Lord of this house!
Your cellar holds abundance of golden wine!
I call this lute here my own!
To strike the lute and to drain the glasses,
those are the things which go well together.
A brimming cup of wine at the right time
is worth more than all the riches of this earth!
Dark is life; so is death.

The heavens are ever blue and the earth
will long stand fast and blossom in spring.
But you, Man, how long will you live?
Not one hundred years may you enjoy yourself
with all the rotten trifles of this earth!
Look down there! In the moonlight on the graves
there crouches a wild and ghostly form–

It is an ape! Listen, how its howling
rings out amidst the sweet scent of life!
Now take up the wine! Now, friends, it is time!
Drain your golden cups to the depths!
dark is life; so is death.

Das Lied von der Erde – Introduction

Friday, December 31st, 2010

Listening Guide

The Work

Dates of composition: 1907-1909; published posthumously by Universal Editions, Vienna in 1912
Place of composition: Toblach (in the Tyrolian Mountains, then part of Austria, now known as Dobbiaco)
Premiere: Munich, 20 November 1911, under the direction of Bruno Walter
Orchestration: piccolo, 3 flutes (third doubling with piccolo), 3 oboes (third doubling with English horn), 3 clarinets, clarinet in E-flat, bass clarinet, 3 bassoons (third doubling with contrabassoon), 4 horns, 3 trumpets, 3 trombones, bass tuba, 2 harps, timpani, celesta, mandolin, glockenspiel, triangle, cymbals, tam-tam, tambourine, bass drum and strings.
Voices: Tenor and Alto or Baritone
Das Trinklied vom Jammer der Erde (The Drinking Song of the Earth’s Sorrow) (Tenor)
Der Einsame im Herbst (Loneliness in Autumn) (Alto or Baritone)
Von der Jugend (Of Youth) (Tenor)
Von der Schönheit (Of Beauty) (Alto or Baritone)
Der Trunkene im Frühling (The Drunkard in Spring) (Tenor)
Der Abschied (The Farewell) (Alto or Baritone)

All excerpts are (1). Each movement has two music tracks–in each case (1) is on top and  (2) is on bottom.

(1) Mildred Miller, mezzo-soprano
Ernst Häfliger, tenor
Columbia Symphony Orchestra
Bruno Walter, conductor
Sony MK 42034(2) James King, tenor
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(2) Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, baritone
Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Leonard Bernstein, conductor
Decca 289 466 381-2
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Symphony No.8 In E-Flat Major – Part II – Schluss-Szene Aus Goethes Faust II (Final Scene of Goethe’s Faust II)

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

Listening Guide

The Work

Tempo: Beginning with Poco adagio and making numerous tempo changes some of which will be mentioned below.
Key: E-flat minor (Introduction) with several intermittent key changes and ending in E-flat major.
Time Signature: 4/4 with occasional meter shifts.
Form: Introduction and combination of sonata elements (Exposition and Development) with variations and strophic forms that incorporate aspects of oratorio, cantata and operatic aria.

Symphony No.8 In E-Flat Major – Part I – Hymnus: Veni, Creator Spiritus (Come, Creator Spirit)

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

Listening Guide

The Work

Tempo: Allegro impetuoso; etwas gemässigter, immer sehr fliessend (somewhat more moderate, always very fleeting); etwas gehalten (somewhat held back)
Key: E-flat major (second theme in D-flat major; third theme in D minor, with excursions into E major and minor, D-flat and A-flat major, etc.)
Time signature: 4/4 (with intervening duple and triple meters in the Veni theme).
Form: modified and extended sonata form.

Veni, creator spiritus!
Mentes tuorum visita.
Imple superna gratia,
quae tu creasti pectora.

Qui Paraclitus diceris.
Donum Dei altissimi.
Fons vivus, ignis, caritas,
et spiritalis unctio.

Veni, creator spiritus, etc.

Infirma nostri corporis,
virtute firmans perpeti; rep.
Accende lumen sensibus,
infunde amorem cordibus, rep.

Hostem repellas longius,
pacemque protinus dones;
praevio, ductore sic te praevio
vitemus omne pessimum.
Hostem repellas longius, etc.
Munere tu septiformis,

digitus paternae dexterae.
Ductore praevio te, etc.
Tu septiformis munere, etc.

Per te sciamus da Patrem,
noscamus [atque]* Filium,
[Teque utriusque]* credamus Spiritum
omni tempore.

Accende lumen sensibus,
infunde amorem cordibus, etc.

Veni, creator spiritus, etc.

Da gaudiorum praemia,
da gratiarum munera;
pacem protinus dones;
dissolve litis vincula,
Pacemque protinus dones, etc.
adstringe pacis foedera.

Gloria patri Domino,
gloria sit Domino
natoque, qui a mortuis surrexit,
Deo set gloria et Filio
ac Paraclito
in saeculorum saecula.
Gloria Patri.

Come, Creator Spirit!
let They soul visit us.
Fill with all Thy grace
those whom Thou hast created.

Thou who is called the Comforter,
gift of God on High,
the Living Fountain, Fire, Love,
and Sacred Unction.

Come, Creator, etc.

Endow our infirm bodies
with everlasting strength; rep.
Inflame our senses with Thy light,
with love our hearts infuse, rep.

Drive the enemy far away
and grant us everlasting peace;
thus with Thee to guide our way
we may shun all evil.
Drive the enemy far away, etc.
Those whose gift is sevenfold,
finger of God’s right hand.
With Thee to guise our way, etc.
Those whose gift is sevenfold, etc.

Through Thee may we know the Father,
[and]* through Thee know [also]* the Son,
[and Thee]* the Spirit [of them both]*
may we believe in all as One.

Inflame our senses with Thy light,
with love our hearts infuse, etc.

Come, Creator spirit, etc.

Give us heavenly joy,
give us your grace;
and grant us everlasting peace;
dissolve the chains that vanquish us,
join us in the bond of peace.
and grant us everlasting peace, etc.

Glory to the Lord, the Father,
glory be to the Lord
incarnate, who died,
arose, as the Comforter.
Glory be to God, the Son
and the Holy Ghost,
world without end.

* Words omitted by Mahler