Joel Hill ([log in to unmask]) wrote:
>My question is: What should I look/listen for to make its
>"masterpieceness" more evident to me? I am not coming new to Mahler - his
>3rd is one of my favorites. With Das Lied, I seem to be put off by the
>singing, whereas I am not with the 3rd and 2nd symphonies. I am certainly
>willing to give old Gustav the benefit of the doubt and keep slogging thru
>it, but need a little advice as to why it is thought so highly of. (Yes,
>I know ended with a preposition).
Interesting that you were "put off by the singing" given the recording you
borrowed, which I don't regard highly at all.
Consider that the 3rd expresses all Mahler's feeling about nature; then
consider that in 1907 his heart problem was discovered and his doctor
forbade him to do all the things he had enjoyed: long walks, swimming etc.
Nature, which he so loved, was practically off limits to him and he was
living under an extended death sentence.
Das Lied is his first completed composition after the annnus horribilis
(his elder daughter, Maria, died of scarlet fever and the politicking
of the anti-semitic faction finally forced his resignation from the
Vienna Hofoper) and expresses his feelings - it is possibly his most
autobiograhpical work. You can hear the frustration and anguish in
practically every bar. Finally he reaches a kind of acceptance, the
earth will continue even after he is gone.
The theme is taken up in the 9th and 10th symphonies.
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