Monday, July 12, 2010

His Time Has Come

A very important date has slipped my mind during the World Cup.  7th of July was the 150th birthday of one of the three classical music composers that have captured my imagination the most. Gustav Mahler was born 150 years ago in a small Bohemian town - in the original meaning of the word- to Jewish parents. His incredible journey filled with personal tragedies, anti-Semitic hostilities and a constant struggle with himself about the worth of his work ended 61 years later in Vienna. He left the world 10 Symphonies, and many symphonic Songs. It was him, who brought the etiquette to the Opera experience during his stints at the Vienna and New York Opera Houses. He was perhaps the first Opera producer, in the real sense of the word, working closely with the stunning fin de siècle artists of Vienna. His music is seen by authorities as a key transition from the Romantic era to the 20th century contemporary classical music. After fierce censoring during Nazi years, his music made a comeback in the 50s to be considered as classics. Today, we can celebrate Mahler's music, with the joy of knowing his own premonition has realized: his time has come.

Here are few of my personal favourites:

The brutal opening from Symphony 6:

Third movement from Symphony No. 7, Scherzo, one of the most fluid and dynamic pieces of music I've listened to:

Here is Lorin Maazel  on the 7th Symphony:

And here is Rattle on 9th Symphony:

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