Saturday, May 16, 2009

Unheard yet unheard-of

Mahler did not live up even to listen his IX. For him, it existed in his imagination only. Yet, it is one of the most incredible of his composition. Very intense, deep and thick - moves on a brink of tonality and so-called "classical" sonority, getting close to atonality of new-music-to-come. Mahler must have been in a difficult part of his life when writing it. We must remember, that formally his "Das Lied Von Der Erde" is his 9th Symphony. However, in addition of his attempt to avoid "The curse of the 9th" with "Das Liede..." it was also such different from all his other symphonies, that the real "Symphony No 9" deserves to be his true IXth.

Mahler drives us from slow Andante Comodo, where joy & sorrow of the music is tightly linked, through grotesque Scherzo and very intense, very "mahlerian" Rondo to incredible Adagio (Finale). In this last part we witness a thick, intense, almost "stony", music that , at the end, recedes into sorrowful slow tones that finalize the Symphony. It is in this last part, we hear the low tones of basses and - separated by several octaves - violins. The effect is incredible - one can feel goose bumps...

If you want to hear this passage go to minute 4 of the following recording:

The very fact that Mahler did not listen to his IX is remarkable. This great music, truly unheard-of, was also really unheard by the composer.

After listening to IX, it is natural to listen to the parts of unfinished Xth. However, Bernastein only performed Adagio from that, last of Mahler's compositions.
It is also very "Mahlerian" in its sonorities - in some parts it's so intense that it gets quite close to dissonances of atonality. However, the ultimate meaning of Xth is for me - the mature joyfulness, the appreciation of life and readiness for death - death with which Mahler seems to be finally reconciled. Needless to say, I, with many "Mahler lovers" await with great hope the finalization of years-long project of Yoel Gamzou, aimed in complete restoration and recreation of missing parts of Mahler's Xth... Read this.

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