Celebrating 150 Years of Mahler: Part Two

In the first part of this sporadically updated series, I offered a very brief introduction to the intriguing music of Gustav Mahler. There were a couple of brief mentions of my favorite Mahler passages, and links to a few blog entries celebrating his 150th birthday. As a brass player, I can’t help but enjoy Mahler’s music. He loved highlighting the brass section, and did it as well as any composer in history.

For the second part of this series, I’d like to offer a few recordings that I feel best illustrate Mahler’s considerable talents.

Symphony #8, First Movement “Hymn: Veni, Creator Spiritus”

Symphony #5, First Movement “Trauermarsch”

Symphony #3, First Movement

Kindertotenlieder, as sung by Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau

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Celebrating 150 Years of Mahler: Part One

For musicians and music-lovers around the world, 2010 is a hugely important year. It’s the 150th anniversary of Gustav Mahler’s birth. The name Gustav Mahler is more than enough to get the blood flowing for many people, especially brass players like myself. Mahler was a brilliant composer, and certainly never shied away from featuring the brass in important passages, like the bombastic, intimidating trombone solo from his Third Symphony, the haunting call of the trumpet to begin his Fifth Symphony, or the rarely-used tenor horn that listeners are treated to during his Seventh Symphony.

Over the course of the year, I plan to make several posts celebrating different aspects of Mahler’s life, music and legacy. He’s my favorite composer, and over the years this interest has grown from mere curiosity to borderline obsession. As I’ve learned more about music and how it works, I’ve become more impressed and enamored with the works of Mahler.

I’m a full-blown Mahlerian.

To start, I’d like to share a few resources to help get others started on the 150th Birthday Celebrations.

Tom Service: The Best Mahler on YouTube

The Guardian: Modern Composers on Mahler

Tom Service: How I Discovered Mahler

Armando Iannucci: Why I Love Mahler

“A symphony must be like the world. It must contain everything.”
—Gustav Mahler