*For an introduction to my whole series on Mahler, with links, click here!*
Given that I adore Mahler 5, this is a strange way to introduce it. But having already delighted in Pachelbel’s capon, another gem from Two Set Violin‘s rubber chicken playlist is this unlikely rendition of the symphony’s opening trumpet solo—and it’s even funnier if you share my veneration for the work:
Just as well John Wilbraham didn’t know about this—he might have found the temptation too hard to resist.
On that trumpet solo, here’s an interesting post, that supplements Slonimsky’s Lexicon of musical invective (no turn unstoned) with early reviews of the symphony like
Ugly symphony is well played . . . Mahler of Vienna writes bad music.
A long and tedious work.
I do not believe that this symphony is the kind of music that will live … It is a symphony which, it is devoutly hoped, will never again be heard in Chicago.
Of originality, he has not the slightest trace. His themes are trivial, sometimes vulgar, always uninteresting and lacking utterly beauty of melodic curve.
Hmm. Given that I entirely share the modern veneration for Mahler (this is the latest addition to my Mahler tag), and for the 5th symphony in particular, I don’t seem to be making much of a case for it. Just as relishing Always look on the bright side of life needn’t spoil our appreciation of the Bach Passions, please don’t let all this put you off the Real Thing— here’s Bernstein with the Vienna Phil yet again:
The great Klaus Tennstedt in a recording from 1980:
And Claudio Abbado in 2004:
For S-S-Simon conducting the opening of the 2nd movement, click here; and for a creative use of the Adagietto, here, and for my own irreverent vision of a swing-band version, here. For a piano roll of Mahler himself playing the 1st movement, see here.
9 thoughts on “Mahler 5 as you’ve never heard it”
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