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Thursday, January 28, 2010

TSO announces tour plans for U.S. and Canada:150th Anniversary of the birth of Gustav Mahler

"To mark the 150th anniversary of the birth of Gustav Mahler, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra is opening and closing its 2010-2011 season with two of the Austrian composer's symphonies, it announced Wednesday."

"Music Director Peter Oundjian will lead the orchestra, the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, Canadian soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian and Canadian mezzo-soprano Susan Platts in a performance of Mahler's "Resurrection" symphony (No. 2) Sept. 23-25."

"The TSO's Masterworks series closes with Oundjian leading a performance of Mahler's Symphony No. 5."

"The orchestra also announced its return to Carnegie Hall in New York in March 2011 (it last played there in 2008), with violinist Itzhak Perlman, and plans to visit Ottawa and Montreal next November."


"Gustav Mahler lived from July 7th, 1860 until May 18,1911. So, July 7,2010 will be the 150th anniversary of his birth. Mahler is recognized as being the "most" important late-Romantic/early-Modernist composer. He was the second of fourteen children, seven of whom died in infancy and one of whom died at the age of 12."

"In 1875, Mahler, then 15, was admitted to the Vienna Conservatoire, where he studied piano under Julius Epstein, harmony with Robert Fuchs, and composition with Franz Krenn. Three years later Mahler attended Vienna University, where Anton Bruckner was lecturing. There he studied history and philosophy as well as music. While at the university, he worked as a music teacher and made his first major attempt at composition with the cantata Das klagende Lied. The work was entered in a competition where the jury was headed by Johannes Brahms, but failed to win a prize."

"Mahler began his career as a conductor with a job at a summer theatre at Bad Hall in 1880. In the years that followed, he took conducting posts at successively larger opera houses, beginning in Ljubljana in 1881, Olomouc in 1882, Vienna in 1883, and Kassel also in 1883."

"In 1897 Mahler, then 37, was offered the directorship of the Vienna State Opera, the most prestigious musical position in the Austrian Empire. This was an 'Imperial' post, and under Austro-Hungarian law, no such posts could be occupied by Jews. Mahler, who was never a devout or practising Jew, had, in preparation, converted to Roman Catholicism."

"In ten years at the Vienna Opera, Mahler transformed the institution's repertoire and raised its artistic standards, bending both performers and listeners to his will."

"Mahler's own music aroused considerable opposition from music critics, who tended to hear his symphonies as 'potpourris' in which themes from "disparate" periods and traditions were indiscriminately mingled. Mahler's juxtaposition of material from both "high" and "low" cultures, as well as his mixing of different ethnic traditions, often outraged conservative critics at a time when workers' mass organizations were growing rapidly, and clashes between Germans, Czechs, Hungarians and Jews in Austro-Hungary were creating anxiety and instability. However, he always had vociferous admirers on his side. In his last years, Mahler began to score major successes with a wider public, notably with a Munich performance of the Second Symphony in 1900, with the first complete performance of the Third in Krefeld in 1902, with a valedictory Viennese performance of the Second in 1907, and, above all, with the Munich premiere of the gargantuan Eighth in 1910. The music he wrote after that, however, was not performed during his lifetime."

"In February 1911, during a long and demanding concert season in New York, Mahler fell seriously ill with a streptococcal blood infection, and conducted his last concert in a fever (the programme included the world premiere of Ferruccio Busoni's Berceuse élégiaque). Returning to Europe, he was taken to Paris, where a new serum had recently been developed. He did not respond, however, and was taken back to Vienna at his request. He died there from his infection on 18 May 1911 at the age of 50, leaving his Symphony No. 10 unfinished."

"Mahler's widow reported that Gustav's last word on the earth was "Mozartl" (a diminutive, corresponding to 'dear little Mozart').[cite this quote] He was buried, at his request, beside his daughter, in Grinzing Cemetery outside Vienna. In obedience to his last wishes, he was buried in silence, with the gravestone bearing only the name "Gustav Mahler" and a simple Jugendstil monument. Mahler's good friend Bruno Walter describes the funeral: "On 18 May 1911, he died. Next evening we laid the coffin in the cemetery at Grinzing, a storm broke and such torrents of rain fell that it was almost impossible to proceed. An immense crowd, dead silent, followed the hearse. At the moment when the coffin was lowered, the sun broke through the clouds" (Walter 1957, 73)."

"Mahler is generally recognized as the last great German symphonist. He sought to expand the scope and breadth of the symphony to the greatest possible extent, believing that the symphony should "take in the whole world."

"Composer-conductor Leonard Bernstein, who felt a strong affinity with Mahler, expressed the view that Mahler's music foretold the many cataclysms of the twentieth century . The autobiographical response in his music to personal suffering, its combinations of sincerity, satire and irony, and the transcendent search for spirituality, have appealed to the Post-Modern search for meaning and spiritual resolution. The music translates the personal into a universal message. Its look for new answers, after the Modern questioning of earlier traditions, gives it a timely relevance."

"As well as Shostakovich, Britten and Copland, Mahler's music also had a significant influence on Richard Strauss, Ernst Krenek, Ferruccio Busoni, Karl Amadeus Hartmann, the early symphonies of Havergal Brian, the music of Kurt Weill, Leonard Bernstein, Sir Malcolm Arnold, Luciano Berio and Alfred Schnittke.[citation needed] Alexander von Zemlinsky's Lyric Symphony in particular seems to have been inspired by Das Lied von der Erde.The work of Samuel Coleridge-Taylor has been compared to Mahler's."


To learn more about Mahler visit these websites:

The Gustav Mahler Society:

Listen to MP3 and midi files of Mahler's works at this website:

Here are some videos which provide excerpts of Mahler's music:

Symphony Number one:Wiener Philharmoniker  Orchestra ..Leonard Bernstein conducting: Wien, 1975  

Symphony number 4 Gustav Mahler Symphony No. 4 in G major 1st Movement (1/2) Bedächtig, nicht eilen performed by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra (Wiener Philharmoniker) conducted by Leonard Bernstein

An excerpt from the third movement of Mahler's 6th symphony: " Leonard Bern­stein conductor: Orchestra: Vi­en­na Phil­har­mon­ic

Gustav Mahler - Symphony No.6 - III. Mov Excerpt

Gustav Mahler | MySpace Music Videos

And one last video, Composer and conductor Pierre Boulez talks about his relationship to the music of Gustav Mahler.

UE Mahler Interviews: Pierre Boulez from Universal Edition on Vimeo.

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Thoughts worth thinking about

"Our subconscious minds have no sense of humor, play no jokes and cannot tell the difference between reality and an imagined thought or image. What we continually think about eventually will manifest in our lives."-Sidney Madwed

Laws alone can not secure freedom of expression; in order that every woman and man present their views without penalty, there must be spirit of tolerance in the entire population.- Albert Einstein Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. - Leo Buscaglia

A person's true wealth is the good he or she does in the world. - Mohammed

Our task must be to free ourselves... by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty. -Albert Einstein

The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others. - Ghandi

The unselfish effort to bring cheer to others will be the beginning of a happier life for ourselves. - Helen Keller

Aim for success, not perfection. Never give up your right to be wrong, because then you will lose the ability to learn new things and move forward with your life. Remember that fear always lurks behind perfectionism. Confronting your fears and allowing yourself the right to be human can, paradoxically, make yourself a happier and more productive person. - Dr. David M. Burns

Life is as dear to a mute creature as it is to man. Just as one wants happiness and fears pain, just as one wants to live and not die, so do other creatures. -His Holiness The Dalai Lama

Mankind's true moral test, its fundamental test (which lies deeply buried from view), consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals. And in this respect mankind has suffered a fundamental debacle, a debacle so fundamental that all others stem from it. -

Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being

The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them. That's the essence of inhumanity. -George Bernard Shaw

Ego's trick is to make us lose sight of our interdependence. That kind of ego-thought gives us a perfect justification to look out only for ourselves. But that is far from the truth. In reality we all depend on each other and we have to help each other. The husband has to help his wife, the wife has to help the husband, the mother has to help her children, and the children are supposed to help the parents too, whether they want to or not.-Gehlek Rinpoche Source: "The Best Buddhist Writing 2005 pg. 165

The hostile attitude of conquering nature ignores the basic interdependence of all things and events---that the world beyond the skin is actually an extension of our own bodies---and will end in destroying the very environment from which we emerge and upon which our whole life depends.