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Thread: Mahler Ninth: Am I weird?

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    Default Mahler Ninth: Am I weird?

    I have known this symphony for a long time. I got the Barbirolli/BPO recording in my teens and have played it many times over the years, along with Bernstein, Klemperer, Haitinck, Neumann, Abbado (2) and Karajan (2). I love the first movement, the second movement, the third movement . . . but the finale leaves me cold -- it's just there. I never skip it, but after about 5 minutes, I just sort of tune out. It's pretty and (naturally) well composed, but it doesn't inspire in me wistfulness, thoughts of mortality, actually much of anything. I like the finale of the Third, the slow movement of the fourth, the outer movements of the Tenth, Der Abschied . . . but this one seems to lack the significance it has for other people. There are bits that sometimes pop up and circle around in my head all afternoon like ear worms -- but that's just a characteristic of Mahler in general.

    How strange am I?

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkW View Post
    I have known this symphony for a long time. . . but the finale leaves me cold -- it's just there. I never skip it, but after about 5 minutes, I just sort of tune out. It's pretty and (naturally) well composed, but it doesn't inspire in me wistfulness, thoughts of mortality, actually much of anything. How strange am I?
    For great M9 finales - Try Solti/CSO, Giulini/CSO or Walter ColSO....they nail it very well...

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkW View Post
    I have known this symphony for a long time. I got the Barbirolli/BPO recording in my teens and have played it many times over the years, along with Bernstein, Klemperer, Haitinck, Neumann, Abbado (2) and Karajan (2). I love the first movement, the second movement, the third movement . . . but the finale leaves me cold -- it's just there. I never skip it, but after about 5 minutes, I just sort of tune out. It's pretty and (naturally) well composed, but it doesn't inspire in me wistfulness, thoughts of mortality, actually much of anything. I like the finale of the Third, the slow movement of the fourth, the outer movements of the Tenth, Der Abschied . . . but this one seems to lack the significance it has for other people. There are bits that sometimes pop up and circle around in my head all afternoon like ear worms -- but that's just a characteristic of Mahler in general.

    How strange am I?
    Maybe try a rendition that takes it quickly; close to the 20-minute mark or below it. Both Rosbaud and Walter/VPO come to mind; although Karajan is ultimately my favourite, I think there is a lot to be found by taking the finale at a quicker pace. In particular, it can make it seem less cold and more intense.





    Ultimately though, if you don't like it, you don't like it. You recognise that it's well-composed and good music, but just for whatever reason aren't personally attracted to it; nothing wrong with that.
    Last edited by BachIsBest; Mar-04-2021 at 22:11.

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    I too have a problem with the finale of the 9th symphony though it doesn't "leave me cold."

    When performed by the likes of Karajan or Maurice Abravanel or anyone else that stretches it out to more than 25 minutes I cannot sit through the thing without becoming fidgety and eventually losing interest. I have no doubt of the musicality or beauty of such an approach but the thematic material in my opinion is too slight for such orchestral verbiage. For me it is for me simply too much of the same thing for too long as too slow a speed, especially when pacing slacks more as time presses forward.

    The only recording of Mahler 9 I know I can sit through in its entirety is Boulez though, at 21 minutes and 25 seconds, there is understanding he is presenting a very different finale than others. Compared to Karajan at more than 26 minutes Boulez seems to set a race horse pace.
    Last edited by larold; Mar-04-2021 at 22:50.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkW View Post
    I have known this symphony for a long time. I got the Barbirolli/BPO recording in my teens and have played it many times over the years, along with Bernstein, Klemperer, Haitinck, Neumann, Abbado (2) and Karajan (2). I love the first movement, the second movement, the third movement . . . but the finale leaves me cold -- it's just there. I never skip it, but after about 5 minutes, I just sort of tune out. It's pretty and (naturally) well composed, but it doesn't inspire in me wistfulness, thoughts of mortality, actually much of anything. I like the finale of the Third, the slow movement of the fourth, the outer movements of the Tenth, Der Abschied . . . but this one seems to lack the significance it has for other people. There are bits that sometimes pop up and circle around in my head all afternoon like ear worms -- but that's just a characteristic of Mahler in general.

    How strange am I?
    Me too.

    Mahler resigned into the oblivion, in a negative way. That's what bugs me. Given that there're a lot more to come in the 10th, and those things are a lot more positive in spirit, I can't help feeling that the 9th, on its own, does not have a satisfactory ending.

    I remember saying something along these lines a few years ago but I can't find that post. Most others thought it was bittersweet and it was great music. I agree; but the finale's negativity still turns me cold.

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    My opinion is that the 9th & 10th have the same relationship as the 6th and 7th, i.e. both 6th & 9th leave on an a very down, resigned note which is subsequently resolved in the following symphony. Given these inter-symphony connections, also the 1st->4th, it leaves me wondering what an 11th might have been, something like the 8th?!
    Last edited by Becca; Mar-04-2021 at 23:31.

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    My favorite all time symphonic movements:

    1. Bruckner 8 - 3
    2. Mahler 9 - 4
    3. Beethoven 9 - 1
    4. Brahms 3 - 3
    5. Brahms 4 - 1

    Yes, you are weird.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brahmsianhorn View Post
    My favorite all time symphonic movements:

    1. Bruckner 8 - 3
    2. Mahler 9 - 4
    3. Beethoven 9 - 1
    4. Brahms 3 - 3
    5. Brahms 4 - 1

    Yes, you are weird.
    Okay. :-)

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    I love the finale to Mahler 9, but I don't often listen to it...have to be in the right mood..
    It is certainly one of the greatest slow mvts - along with, ottomh -
    Mahler 3/VI
    Bruckner 7/II
    LvB 3/II
    I know there are more, but those came to mind first
    Last edited by Heck148; Mar-05-2021 at 04:09.

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    Mahler is a tough nut for me, who has been listening to classical music for only four years, not decades like some of the other TC members. The second movement connected with me, then the first. In recent weeks, I have been enjoying the third and last movements. So far, I can tell the last movement is passionate and high-quality and beautiful, but I don't hear it as earth-shattering...yet.

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    Quote Originally Posted by larold View Post
    I too have a problem with the finale of the 9th symphony though it doesn't "leave me cold."

    When performed by the likes of Karajan or Maurice Abravanel or anyone else that stretches it out to more than 25 minutes I cannot sit through the thing without becoming fidgety and eventually losing interest. I have no doubt of the musicality or beauty of such an approach but the thematic material in my opinion is too slight for such orchestral verbiage. For me it is for me simply too much of the same thing for too long as too slow a speed, especially when pacing slacks more as time presses forward.

    The only recording of Mahler 9 I know I can sit through in its entirety is Boulez though, at 21 minutes and 25 seconds, there is understanding he is presenting a very different finale than others. Compared to Karajan at more than 26 minutes Boulez seems to set a race horse pace.
    You probably cannot get any worse than Roger Norrington's interpretation!

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    Quote Originally Posted by ORigel View Post
    Mahler is a tough nut for me, who has been listening to classical music for only four years, not decades like some of the other TC members. The second movement connected with me, then the first. In recent weeks, I have been enjoying the third and last movements. So far, I can tell the last movement is passionate and high-quality and beautiful, but I don't hear it as earth-shattering...yet.
    That is not a description that I would think of nor of a performance I'd want to hear.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Heck148 View Post
    I love the finale to Mahler 9, but I don't often listen to it...have to be in the right mood..
    It is certainly one of the greatest slow mvts - along with, ottomh -
    Mahler 3/VI
    Bruckner 7/II
    LvB 3/II
    I know there are more, but those came to mind first
    Add the RVW 2/II from the 1913 version

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    Quote Originally Posted by Becca View Post
    Add the RVW 2/II from the 1913 version
    I was thinking of possibly RVW 6/II
    Bruckner 9/III

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    Quote Originally Posted by BachIsBest View Post
    Ultimately though, if you don't like it, you don't like it. You recognise that it's well-composed and good music, but just for whatever reason aren't personally attracted to it; nothing wrong with that.
    Spot on. I wish more people realized that about music or art in general.

    That said, I love M9, including the fourth movement.

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