Sunday, March 15, 2009

Mahler's no programme pure music - 7th Symphony

Mahler's 7th was the first ever symphony I was happy to experience and it was live...

Today I listened to Bernstein's incredible interpretation of this unusual symphony.
What makes it so unusual then? First, that it has no "programme" characteristic to other symphonies. Mahler vigorously opposed to label it as "Lied der Nacht" (The Song of the Night).
There are no singers, no choir. Pure musical experience. How powerful, though !

There are many beautiful reviews about it, so instead of another lengthy post, I rather humbly refer you to one of them - by Henry-Louis de La Grange.

My own amazement comes from several reasons: the music is clearly "out-of-its-time". I had impressions similar to that I have when listen to Britten or even Penderecki, though the musical language is quite different. Then, the instrumentation is surprising, and gives surprising sound: cow-bells, tubular bells, guitar (!!!), mandolin (!!!) and all sound really non-trivial.

Mahler uses a lot of citations - a waltz, a serenade, a march like rhythm ....

No programme - sheer beauty - however - we could read something between the notes: the great stress and tension of the author - confirmed by what we know of his life between 1904 and 1908...

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