One of the things I enjoy doing these days is wandering through galleries at the Metropolitan Museum. Before I go, I scope out a painting or two (or three) that I want to make sure and see. Inevitably, and also delightfully, I end up standing in front of one I’d not seen before, like Gaughin’s Still Life with Teapot and Fruit (1896), or revisiting one of the many pairs of shoes van Gogh painted that I’d forgotten was at the Met.Continue reading
Tag Archives: Gustav Mahler
In Sicilia: Imagination Unbound
Imagination encircles the world.
On our return trip from Siracusa to Palermo, we could see, off in the distance, a great flat-topped mountain, covered with snow. When, later, we consulted our map, we realized it must have been Mt. Etna. Continue reading
When Mahler’s Fifth Symphony Was New Music
Would that I could perform my symphonies for the first time fifty years after my death!
—Gustav Mahler, letter to Alma Mahler (October 14, 1904)
Jens Malte Fischer, Gustav Mahler 692
And who can blame Mahler, when he got reviews like these? Continue reading
When Sibelius’s Third Symphony Was New Music
After hearing my third symphony Rimsky-Korsakov shook his head and said: “Why don’t you do it the usual way; you will see that the audience can neither follow nor understand this.” And now I am certain that my symphonies are played more than his.
—Sibelius to Jussi Jalas, 18th June 1940 Continue reading
Guest Post: When Mahler’s Fourth Was New Music, by Brian Long
The first symphony by Gustav Mahler to be performed in the USA was his fourth. That historic moment occurred in New York on 6 November 1904 when Walter Damrosch conducted the New York Symphony Orchestra. This was less than three years after the composer conducted the world premiere in Munich and a year before the work reached London. Considering how important New York – and in particular Leonard Bernstein as the conductor of the New York Philharmonic – was to become for the arrival of Mahler’s music in the 1960s, it is perhaps not surprising that the New York Times published an extensive article on the symphony and its composer on the day of its premiere. It is by any standard a remarkable article for a daily newspaper about a composer who must have been as good as totally unknown to readers – Mahler did not arrive in New York until three years later. The article even included six hand-written musical examples. Continue reading