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Experiencing Mahler: A Listener's Companion

by Arved Ashby Rowman and Littlefield
Pub Date:
04/2020
ISBN:
9781538104866
Format:
Hbk 272 pages
Price:
AU$69.99 NZ$72.17
Product Status: Available in Approx 14 days
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Gustav Mahler (1860-1911) took the symphony, one of the most abstract and tradition-bound genres in Western music, and opened it to the widest (and wildest) span of human experience. He opened it to themes of love, nature, the world's chasmic depth at darkest midnight, making peace with death, resurrection, seeking one's creator, being at one with God - just to mention a few of his themes. Mahler's music is experiential in the sense that it contradicts textbook ideas of style, taste, structure, orchestration, and musical language, abandoning musical politesse for a more radical undertaking.


 


Musicologist Arved Ashby takes readers into the seeming chaos of Mahler’s work to investigate the elements which make each work an experiential adventure which defines the symphonic genre in a new way. The book surveys Mahler's symphonies and song cycles in detail —introducing them not as artworks but as intensely vivid, truthful, and lived and felt experiences. As a study of musical experience, this book is not a Mahler biography, nor does it try to account for Mahler's pieces as compositional structures. Ashby offers a critical perspective on aspects that have been difficult to talk about in the past, including Mahler's style anomalies, the intuitive nature of his structures, Mahler's paradoxical relationship with the symphony genre, the fact that famous musicians have found the music "wrong" in ways that actually have some truth to them, and the re-creative rather than simply interpretive role that has been played by Mahler performance. All these things have deep implications for listening to and experiencing Mahler’s works.

Chapter 1: The Symphony

Chapter 2: Symphony No.1 in D Major (first performed in Budapest, 20 November 1889)

Chapter 3: Excess

Chapter 4: Symphony No.2 in C Minor, "Resurrection" (first performed in Berlin, 13 December 1895)

Chapter 5: Beginning and Ending

Chapter 6: Symphony No.3 in D Minor (first performed in Krefeld, Germany, 9 June 1902)

Chapter 7: Symphony No.4 in G Major (first performed in Munich, 25 November, 1901)

Chapter 8: Song

Chapter 9: Symphony No.5 (first performed in Cologne, 18 October, 1904)

Chapter 10: Bernstein

Chapter 11: Symphony No.6 in A Minor (premiered Essen, 27 May, 1906)

Chapter 15: Death

Chapter 16: Symphony No.7 (premiered Prague, 19 September, 1908)

Chapter 17:Symphony No.8 in E-flat Major (premiered Munich, 12 September, 1910)

Chapter 18: Das Lied von der Erde (premiered Munich, 20 November, 1911) and Symphony No.9 in D Major (premiered Vienna, 26 June, 1912)

Chapter 19: Symphony No.10 in F-Sharp Major (unfinished)

Arved Ashby is professor of music at the Ohio State University, where he specializes in 20th and 21st century art music as well as cultural history and media and communications. He has published articles on Arnold Schoenberg, Frank Zappa, and Benjamin Britten, and he has taught classes on topics as varied as ancient music, Philip Glass’ film music, and 20th-century music through the prism of the Beatles.