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The Mahler Symphoniesby David Hurwitz
Synopses & Reviews
Designed to be a listener's guide to the symphonies and concert works, this book brings deeper meaning and insight about his music. Emphasis is on what the music sounds like, how it is organized, and what elements comprise Mahler's special language.
Book News Annotation:
Some maintain that Mahler invented a new musical language that informed every composer in the twentieth century. Others find aspects of his work emotionally harrowing. Music journalist Hurwitz considers the needs of both novice and expert listeners in his examination of the themes of each of Mahler's completed symphonies and their relationships to each other, and how Mahler's strong emotional life affected his composition. Hurwitz includes a description of the ultimate Mahlerian orchestra and a very helpful series of tabular guide to themes. The CD includes 2004 recordings of movements from Mahler's first, second, fifth, and seventh symphonies, performed by the SWR Orchestra and conducted by Michael Gielen.
Annotation ©2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Since Gustav Mahler was rediscovered in the early 1960s, his symphonies have become arguably the most popular works in the modern orchestral repertoire. Mahler's Symphonies: An Owner's Manual is the first discussion of the ten completed symphonies (No. 1-9 plus "The Song of the Earth") to offer music lovers and record collectors a comprehensive overview of the music itself, what it sounds like, how it is organized, its form, content, and meaning, as it strikes today's listeners. The book caters to the novice as David Hurwitz describes what the listener will hear, section by section, using simple cues such as important instrumental solos, recognizable tunes, climaxes, and other easily audible musical facts. He explains how each work is arranged, how the various parts relate to each other, and how one work leads to the next. It describes the emotional extravagance that lies at the root of Mahler's popularity, the consistency of his symphonic thinking, the relationship of each work to its companions, and his dazzling and revolutionary use of orchestral instruments to create an expressive musical language that is varied in content and immediate in impact. The accompanying CD contains recordings from Symphony No. 1, Third Movement; Symphony No. 2, First Movement; Symphony No. 5, Third Movement; and Symphony No. 7, Second Movement: "Nachtmusik I."
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