Friday, 26 August 2016

I Get Into Mahler

I have always liked the name Gustav.  When I won a panda (a toy one) at the Gothenburg Funfair in 1982, this was the name I chose.  However, I have held a prejudice against Gustav Mahler until this evening.

Kahlil Gibran says of children that you may "give them your love but not your thoughts".  This is a great sentiment, and I try to live by it, but it's not exactly true.  I'm pretty sure my thoughts about Mahler came from my parents - he's conspicuously absent from their vinyl collection, which I treasure.  For as long as I can remember I've assumed him to be too grandiose for good taste, too ostentatious, loud and long.  So I have avoided him, though I made an exception once and listened to Das Lied Von Der Erde because someone told me it was good.

This evening, I listened to Mahler's symphony no. 2 for what I think must be the first time.  And I listened to it loudly, because my younger son put on his new CD and he was therefore in charge of the volume control.  We listened to symphony no. 1 earlier in the week.  There are 8 more to go.

I listened to Mahler whilst drinking some of my brother's home made wine. It would seem that home made wine is an excellent antidote to prejudices, including those about home made wine.

Mahler's work seems to have been written to keep musicians gainfully employed - including 4 flautists, 10 trumpeters, a choir, 2 (two!) harpists and "the largest possible contingent of strings".  It lacks restraint, and it is known as The Resurrection.  

I found The Resurrection just as implausible, grandiose, ostentatious and long as I'd been warned - and I found it to be absolutely wonderful. 


  1. Mahler featured heavily in my top 20! And Kahil Gibran has stayed with me all my life.x

  2. Only two harps. Get along to Wagne'rs Ring sometime for an Olympic team of seven.