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CLASSICAL  March 2000

CLASSICAL March 2000

Subject:

Re: Das Lied

From:

Satoshi Akima <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 28 Mar 2000 22:47:35 +1000

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (39 lines)

Joe Hill 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).

I must say I sympathise with him because I can remember a time when das
Lied seemed incomprehensible to me, just like I can remember a time when
Schoenberg was incomprehensible to me.  I tend to agree with Pierre Boulez
in that the 9th symphony and das Lied are 'missing links' in the evolution
from Wagner to the Second Viennese School.  Just as a lengthy exposition as
to why I think Schoenberg's Variations for Orchestra is a really wonderful
work is likely to fall on deaf ears, I think that something similar with
the Mahler is likely to fare no better.  The only thing that I can say is
that I also agree that Giulini is probably not the best man to advocate
this work to you, but then again my first exposure to the work was from
Bruno Walter so perhaps the choice of interpreter may not be an instant
solution.  Unfortunately my best advise is to leave this work by this
composer to last, even if it means putting the work aside for years.  I
would recommend exploring all of Mahler's other works before touching das
Lied again.  In particular it is important to have come to grips with the
9th symphony before tackling das Lied - at which point I should warn you
against rushing into the 9th without having heard the other works.  Mahler
himself once suggested that it was impossible to understand his later works
until one had come to grips with the earlier ones.  I came to das Lied
again very late, and years after I had decided I had grown weary of his
other works.  I had even come to puzzle over why Anton Webern should have
revered Mahler as much as he did.  The interpreter was Klemperer, and I
must say I was and still am astonished by this work.  I think it is the
greatest thing he ever wrote.  I hope the magic of this work will one day
reveal itself to you too.  But be patient.

Satoshi Akima
Sydney, Australia
[log in to unmask]

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