How did Schubert influence Mahler?

nmz - new music newspaper


This was the subject of the Mahler Protocol as part of this year's Gustav Mahler Music Weeks in the South Tyrolean town of Toblach. Iso Camartin, philosopher and literary scholar from Switzerland, highlighted in his lecture “Hearing an Angel Singing in the Adagio” how much musical perception in Romanticism in general and with Schubert in particular broke new ground: the unhoused, a vacillation between pain and Love was one of the most important emotional basic ingredients of Schubert's thought and music, and what unites Mahler with him is the “longing for what is inaccessible to humans”.

Professor Günther Schnitzler from Freiburg examined lieder settings by Schubert and Mahler and came to the conclusion that, despite the commonalities in the way of composition, Mahler did not find any concrete quotations from Schubert. And not only this: Mahler was thoroughly critical of Schubert, seeing in him, as was customary at the time, primarily the “unfinished genius”.

Before that, there was the “Toblacher Mahler Talks” with the key point “Mah-ler in the prism of jazz”, and it was no coincidence that people moved on much thinner ice. Jazz has often played an important role in Toblach - just think of the concerts by Uri Caine, Gianluigi Trovesi and Cornelius Claudio Kreusch - but it turned out that there are far fewer connecting lines than the title of the event would suggest. Naturally, jazz could not exert any influence on Mahler, and it was not until the 1990s that a Mahler reception in jazz began; you can actually reduce it almost to the name Uri Caine.

So the speakers tried, with more or less success, to point out musical similarities between Mahler and jazz, and here the Italian musicologist Luca Bragalini succeeded in drawing attention to at least one “missing link”: the tradition of Jewish music, synagogue singing and klezmer that at least influenced both Mahler and early jazz composers like Irving Berlin. The performance of the jazz trio Minsarah put an all-round convincing final point on the topic: filigree chamber jazz in which several Mahler themes appeared as if guests were greeting from afar.

Of course, the Dobbiaco Composer House Record Prize was also awarded again, and here there was a surprise: “With a heavy heart,” as the jury announced, no award in the new productions category was given. The prize for the best re-release went to a recording of Mahler's First and Ninth Symphonies with Paul Kletzki and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, which had not been available for a long time; it impresses with an emotional intensity and unbridled passion that can hardly be found today in the field of Mahler interpretation. The Chicago Symphony Orchestra received the special award for its long and successful Mahler tradition and its recording of Symphony No. 3 under Bernard Haitink, which was published on the recently founded own label CSO-Resound.

International record award "Dobbiaco composing house" - the award-winning recordings:
1) Gustav Mahler: Symphonies No. 1 and 9th Israel Philharmonic Orchestra (recordings from 1954). Doremi DHR 7850/51 (2 CD, mono)
2) Gustav Mahler: Symphony No. 3. Michelle DeYoung (mezzo-soprano), Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, Bernard Haitink. Chicago Resound CSOR 901 701

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