Sunday, January 21, 2007
Tackling Mahler's Fifth Symphony
npr: Weekend Edition
Saturday. Washington, D.C.: Jan 20, 2007. pg. 1
Scott Simon, host
Marin Alsop, guest
SIMON: We have a quote from Alma Mahler I want to ask you about.
She quoted Gustav Mahler as saying, I am thrice homeless: a native of Bohemia and Austria - that's where he was born - an Austrian among Germans - where he came to live - and as a Jew throughout the world. Everywhere an intruder never welcomed.
Do you detect those feelings in his music?
Ms. ALSOP: Oh, absolutely. Because I think each one of us has a feeling of being an outsider in some way. And that's probably what draws us to art, because it's a way of expressing that sense of isolation and aloneness. And for Mahler, throughout his music, he's constantly trying to bring these two worlds together, whether it's, you know, his religious heritage, or whether it's the fact that he's from a very simple background. And he loves peasant music, and he loves marching bands, and he loves Klezmer music. And how do you integrate that into this elitist music, the art music that he adores so much?
So he's constantly trying to bring these two worlds together. And I think that's why the music of Gustav Mahler is so incredibly relevant to us today, because it's all about conflict and it's all about searching for some kind of faith and some kind of belief system that can transcend a variety of worlds.
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