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View Poll Results: How many symphonies did Mahler write?

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Thread: How many symphonies did Mahler write?

  1. #16
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    Listened to a couple of recordings of Das Lied this weekend. If we don’t consider it a Symphony, should it be considered a song cycle, such as Kindertotenlieder or the Wayfarer Songs?

  2. #17
    Member Jacob Brooks's Avatar
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    He wrote 8 symphonies. Neither "Symphony 8" nor Das Lied von der Erde are true symphonies, but what you have been led to believe are symphonies rather than an oratorio/song cycle by the classical music establishment.

  3. #18
    Senior Member joen_cph's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jacob Brooks View Post
    He wrote 8 symphonies. Neither "Symphony 8" nor Das Lied von der Erde are true symphonies, but what you have been led to believe are symphonies rather than an oratorio/song cycle by the classical music establishment.
    He repeatedly called it his 8th symphony himself, many times, and on the poster of the premiere it is called a symphony too. The symphonic form has been a field of experiments for centuries.

    http://www.haenchen.net/fileadmin/me...ler_band10.pdf
    http://www.la-belle-epoque.de/mahler/mahler8.jpg

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  5. #19
    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    Actually with Mahler the crossover from symphony to cantata in some of his works is pretty fluid. Best to call them what Mahler himself did. He wrote 9 symphonies with one unfinished

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  7. #20
    Senior Member KenOC's Avatar
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    Mahler, of course, called Das Liede a symphony.


  8. #21
    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    The term "symphony," along with its adjectival form "symphonic," underwent so much evolution between the Baroque ("sinfonia") and the modern period that almost any work for orchestra, with or without vocal parts, can be called a symphony, and even operas of the through-composed variety have been called "symphonic." Still, as far as I'm concerned, Mahler's 8th is basically an oratorio, since most of it is sung, and Das Lied von der Erde is unambiguously a song cycle, for the most obvious of reasons. I use the same criterion here as I do in debating whether 4'33" is music: what term is most useful to the understanding? If you tell someone they're about to hear a symphony, do they expect a setting of poetry that's sung throughout? The mere fact that we're having the debate throws suspicion on the use of the term "symphony."

    Mahler definitely wrote 8 symphonies, and then two large-scale works to which it pleased him to attach the name.

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  10. #22
    Senior Member Fritz Kobus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    The term "symphony," along with its adjectival form "symphonic," underwent so much evolution between the Baroque ("sinfonia") and the modern period that almost any work for orchestra, with or without vocal parts, can be called a symphony, and even operas of the through-composed variety have been called "symphonic." Still, as far as I'm concerned, Mahler's 8th is basically an oratorio, since most of it is sung, and Das Lied von der Erde is unambiguously a song cycle, for the most obvious of reasons. I use the same criterion here as I do in debating whether 4'33" is music: what term is most useful to the understanding? If you tell someone they're about to hear a symphony, do they expect a setting of poetry that's sung throughout? The mere fact that we're having the debate throws suspicion on the use of the term "symphony."

    Mahler definitely wrote 8 symphonies, and then two large-scale works to which it pleased him to attach the name.
    I like it and now I can delete Mahler 8 from my player and focus on 1-7 and 9. You know, it was much easier, for some reason, for me to toss Mendelssohn's 2nd out of his symphonic cycle and it has a similar situation as Mahler's 8th.
    "All of Italian opera can be heard in [Bellini's] "Ah! non creda [mirarti]."
    --Renata Scotto in "Scotto, More Than a DIva."

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  12. #23
    Member vesteel's Avatar
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    more than 11. We already found sketches of an unknown scherzo dating from his early years, and there are reports of a rejected symphony during his conservatory years and possibly more symphonies from a destroyed archive in Dresden

  13. #24
    Senior Member elgars ghost's Avatar
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    Perhaps, then, the question should be how many acknowledged symphonies did Mahler write?
    '...a violator of his word, a libertine over head and ears in debt and disgrace, a despiser of domestic ties, the companion of gamblers and demireps, a man who has just closed half a century without a single claim on the gratitude of his country or the respect of posterity...' - Leigh Hunt on the Prince Regent (later George IV).

  14. #25
    Senior Member Merl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vesteel View Post
    more than 11. We already found sketches of an unknown scherzo dating from his early years, and there are reports of a rejected symphony during his conservatory years and possibly more symphonies from a destroyed archive in Dresden
    If it's got more than 3 notes on a piece of paper, Cooke will turn it into a two hour long symphony in 4 movements.

  15. #26
    Senior Member Dimace's Avatar
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    I voted 10.

    Nine completed symphonies and one unfinished (10e, die Unvollendete.) Exactly like Schubert. More I don't know. Very interesting subject though...


    * an adagio alone, makes no symphony. But it's very beautiful and I voted it like a complete symphony.

    * best accomplished 10th by Rudolf Barshai, who is a very good musician. But, after all, I don't like someone to make Mahlers work, because I'm not sure if the composer wanted something like this.
    Last edited by Dimace; Oct-22-2018 at 02:00.
    Alles Vergängliche ist nur ein Gleichnis;
    das Unzulängliche, hier wird's Ereignis;
    das Unbeschreibliche, hier ist's getan;
    das Ewig-Weibliche zieht uns hinan.

  16. #27
    Senior Member Dimace's Avatar
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    Everyone who has voted 10 won. Please watch the beginning of the video.


    Alles Vergängliche ist nur ein Gleichnis;
    das Unzulängliche, hier wird's Ereignis;
    das Unbeschreibliche, hier ist's getan;
    das Ewig-Weibliche zieht uns hinan.

  17. #28
    Senior Member Larkenfield's Avatar
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    Vocals. If Mahler’s Eighth isn’t a symphony, then neither is Beethoven’s Ninth, nor Shostakovich’s Thirteenth. Yet the composers all referred to them as symphonies, as some form of unified whole, and so has the public. In the program notes and the histories, they are referred to as symphonies. Not considering them as symphonies diminishes the importance the composers gave them, and in the matter of the Mahler Eighth, it was lovingly dedicated to his wife, who he was crazy about.

    Vocals can also be found in Mahler’s Third and Fourth Symphonies, or are they disqualified now from being considered a symphony because somebody sings in it as part of each symphony’s overall scheme? Didn’t Beethoven change all that and what a symphony could be with his Ninth? Mahler called his 8th a symphony and it’s been performed as one for over 100 years. It was his greatest public success and can be just as rewarding now as his other symphonies if one can find the right performance, which can be difficult because it has so many forces contained within it that need to work together, and that’s a daunting task for any conductor. While those who really don’t care for it, or Mahler to begin with, like to refer to it as a cantata to set it outside of Mahler’s symphonic canon, the overall scheme of the symphony is far bigger than any conventional cantata. History is on Mahler’s side in counting it in the number of his symphonies... Monumental performance:

    Last edited by Larkenfield; Nov-30-2018 at 17:02.
    The light of love restores every lost voice.

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