Which composers were influenced by Mahler?
Anyone who had assumed that Mahler and Mozart had little in common apart from their common Austrian origins had to revise their opinion after the lectures given in the context of the Mahler Protocol chaired by Attila Csampai. “Mahler or Mozart?” Was the humorous title of Dietmar Holland's presentation. The author not only showed the extent to which Mahler adopted elements of Mozart's style in his music - for example in the Fourth Symphony or the Night Music of the Seventh - but also what cross-connections there are between the two composers, for example in their humor and adoption contrapuntal elements in the symphonic and in the specific tone of the "sad and beautiful".
Mahler was also an enthusiastic and important interpreter of Mozart. Franz Willnauer highlighted his achievements in this area, the liberation of Mozart from the "lie of grace" (Bruno Walter). Mahler's interpretations of Mozart's stage works at the Vienna State Opera, for which he was responsible as conductor, dramaturge and director, influenced generations of Mozart interpreters, so Willnauer's conclusion. And finally, Attila Csampai presented Bruno Walter's New York “Don Giovanni” recording from 1942, which in its demonic intensity is not only unusual for this conductor, but was probably also directly influenced by Mahler: Walter was an assistant in Mahler's production Opera in Vienna.
And the concerts? Of course there was Mahler: the “Lied von der Erde” in the version for two male voices, the “Todtenfeier” and - particularly interesting but not performed too convincingly by the Taschenphilharmonie Ensemble - Erwin Stein's chamber ensemble version of Symphony No. 4. But also the three anniversaries of the year were honored: Mozart, Shostakovich (the symphony No. 5) and Robert Schumann: Konrad Jarnot, who had already designed the baritone part of the “Lieds von der Erde”, provided with his interpretation of “Dichterliebe” and the "Liederkreis" as well as Mahler's "Kindertotenlieder" for one of the musical highlights of the Toblach Mahler Weeks. The Kronos Quartet was also present and presented the second part of their “Mahler Project” with compositions by Hubert Stuppner and Vladimir Martynov, and Cornelius Claudio Kreusch delighted with jazzy piano improvisations. Mahler and jazz - this topic should also play a role in Toblach next year, according to Josef Lanz, artistic director of the festival.
For the first time, Pierre Boulez was one of the winners of the “Dobbiaco Composing House” record award, which is awarded every year during the Mahler Weeks. His interpretation of Mahler's “Resurrection Symphony” with the Vienna Philharmonic convinced the jury with its combination of analytical clarity and authentic “Mahler tone”. The prize in the “Republication” category went to the complete recording of the symphonies with Gary Bertini, who died in 2005, as a “late act of justice” for a long underrated Mahler conductor. Finally, the special prize went to the DVD edition of the symphonies with Leonard Bernstein, recorded in the 1970s and a document of the “Bernstein Gesamtkunstwerk” that is incomparable both musically and visually.
Information on the Gustav Mahler Music Weeks in Toblach is available on the Internet at www.gustav-mahler.it
International record award "Dobbiaco composing house" - the award-winning recordings:
1. Gustav Mahler: Symphony No. 2. Christine Schäfer, Michelle DeYoung, Wiener Singverein, Wiener Philharmoniker, Pierre Boulez. Deutsche Grammophon 477 6004
2. Gustav Mahler: Symphonies No. 1–10, Das Lied von der Erde. Cologne Radio Symphony Orchestra, Gary Bertini. EMI 3 40238 2 (11 CDs)
3. Gustav Mahler: The symphonies, the song of the earth. Various orchestras, Leonard Bernstein. Deutsche Grammophon 9 DVD 0040 073 4088
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