Emil Orlik, Gustav Mahler (1902)
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
Jean Sibelius, standing at the fireplace at Ainola (1907)
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
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
Louis Carrogis Carmontelle, watercolor of Rameau (1760)
Introduction to Prufrock’s “2015 Edition”
I’ve been reading actual books. I’m reminded what a pleasure it is when I settle down to it, which is all too rare. The conundrum, as always, is how to strike a balance between the time I spend online and off. This year, the plan is to read more and use the blog, perhaps more than in past years, to record something of what I’m finding out. It remains to be seen, of course, how well that will work out. Continue reading