Mahler Reception Reception History of Entire Oeuvre Early Reception of Das Lied von der Erde
Reception History of Mahler’s Oeuvre • During Mahler’s Lifetime • After Mahler’s Death to the Rise of Nazism • Under the Nazi Era • Post WW II
During Mahler’s Lifetime • Initially regarded by some as eccentric, by others as novel expressions of the “New German” modernism widely associated with Richard Strauss (1864–1949). • Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche, 1895 • Also sprach Zarathustra, 1896, Don Quixote, 1897, Ein Heldenleben, 1898 • Salome, 1905 • Elektra 1909, Der Rosenkavalier, 1911…
Early Fame as Composer: • Symphony no.2, 1888–94, rev. 1903 • Premiered movts 1–3, Berlin, 4 March 1895; complete, Berlin, 13 Dec 1895 • Only during Mahler’s last decade did his works begin to enjoy the critical support and popular success that helped to ensure the posthumous survival of his reputation as a composer beyond the years of National Socialism in Germany and Austria. • Symphony no.8, 1906–7 • Premiered Munich, 12 Sept 1910
After Mahler’s Death to the Rise of Nazism • Acclaimed by younger artists and scholars • “Mahler was a saint” (Schoenberg 1912)
Widely performed • Memorial concerts in Amsterdam, Berlin, Leipzig, Hamburg, Cologne, Vienna… • Munich 11/1911: Lieder, premiere of LvE, 2nd Sym. • First major cycle, Amsterdam 05/1920 • during Willem Mengelberg’s 25th season at the Concertgebouw
Under the Nazi Era • Mahler suffered the fate of innumerable banned composers of Jewish origin at a time when his music was still imperfectly known and understood outside the German-speaking countries of Europe.
“Degenerated Music” 1938 Entartete Kunst (“Degenerated Art”) exhibition in Munich in 1937 Entartete Musik in Düsseldorf 1938 in connection with the first Reichsmusiktage (“National Music Days”) “defamed” composers: Schoenberg, Webern, Hindemith, Stravinsky, Weill, Krenek, Schreker, Eisler, Berg, Toch discredited modern music journals such as Melos and Anbruch, and books on jazz
Hans Joachim Moser (1889–1967) Music Lexicon Berlin, 1935 Berlin, 2/1943 Hamburg, 3/1951 Hamburg, 4/1955 Hamburg, suppl. 1963
Post WW II • The centenary of his birth in 1960 inspired the popular rediscovery of his symphonies, particularly in England and the USA, where they rapidly gained a young and enthusiastic audience. The tension, passionate engagement and often cathartic power of his music acquired heightened resonance in a period marked by protest movements and critical experimentation with unconventional ideas and life styles.
Centenary 1960 • Critical Edition of the Complete Works • ed. by Erwin Ratz (student of Adler, Schoenberg, Webern), the first volume published was the 7th Symphony, by 1967 already 7 vols. • Festivals in Vienna and New York • Adorno (student of Berg), Mahler: A Musical Physiognomy (Ger. 1960, Engl. 1992) • cultural critique
In the 1970s Mahler became one of the most frequently performed and recorded of symphonists, and his emerging historical role as a mediator between the Austro-German musical tradition and early 20th-century modernism, linked with the broad emotional range and energetically powerful effect of his music in performance, led to his symphonies acquiring canonic status.
1967: first complete recording of the symphonies by Leonard Bernstein • conductor • composer • Jewish (!)