Sunday, June 30, 2013

Gustav Mahler: Symphony No. 8

Cliché is a deadly danger in the world of Art.  Imagine the stereotypical symphonic finale: lyrical, dramatic, swelling to a final triumphant chord - that is the unforgivable sin to modern "classical" music.

That's why modern "classical" music is an arid wasteland, devoid of anything that will emotionally connect the audience.  All is technical trickery, food perhaps for the left brain but leaving the right brain hungry for a real meal.

Nobody delivers a seven course meal of emotional connection and lyrical triumph like Gustav Mahler, and none of his works approaches the triumph of that promise like the finale of his Eighth Symphony.  Yes, it's a cliché of a finale, but we need to remember that all clichés were once new.  This was a sensation when it premiered in 1907 and, to listen to the roar of applause in today's video, it continues to connect to that emotional spring that longs for art - and especially music - to cause an upwelling, to make it bubble over.

Cliché is a deadly danger in the world of Art.  The problem with today's musical establishment is that they fear the scorn of a prissy in-group more than they fear the loss of that triumphant emotional release.  And who forget that it ain't cliché if you can actually do it.

Man, I love this music.  Unusual for a symphony, the main "instrument" is the chorus.  I would have loved singing this, back when I was in the Chorus* at State U, even if it was a full hour and a half (!).  For those interested, here it is in its magnificent entirety.

Cliché my musical ass.

* Baritone, thanks for asking.


libertyman said...

Great lesson today, and i also learned this is sometimes performed with a thousand performers.

85 degrees here in sunny NH

Thanks for a great class!

Kansas Scout said...

Thank you for introducing me to this wonderful piece of music! Pure bliss to hear it. Thank you my friend.

Borepatch said...

Libertyman, that would be something.

Kansas Scout, I love this piece. Glad you like it, too.

Chickenmom said...

Wonderful!!! Thank you!