Monday, January 10, 2011


Mahler's well-known Adagietto from his Fifth Symphony. There's several speeds at which to play it, and they are basically open to the conductor's taste, since Mahler did not provide metronome marks. Well, when you listen to it, it's actually difficult to imagine the Adagietto's tempo being dictated by a metronome. When Mahler himself conducted it in 1905, it lasted about nine minutes - since the master himself will have known best I guess every performance should last about this long.

At 7:46 this comes close to the Bruno Walter timing, who was otherwise a conductor quite well 'feeling' Mahler. My personal taste goes out to a performance in a clip from the 1971 movie Death in Venice, and that lasts about 9 minutes. Now that one is absolutely wonderful. I consider it definitely better than the version above, but I wasn't able to find it tonight. Perhaps it's better so, since the clip is somewhat controversial, and my feelings about that movie are a bit ambiguous. Death in Venice has been lauded by most culture popes to such an extent that it's almost impossible to hint you don't feel too comfortable with the homoerotic/pederastic nature of the movie. Our moral bettes will inevitably come up with something like that it's a movie about the discovery of beauty, regret about beautiful things forever gone and the like. I don't know. Perhaps I should see it once in whole and then judge.

Anyway... yes, the Adagietto has been commercialized thru and thru. You will find it on a gazillion "Most beautiful classical melodies EVAH" and so on. Still, that does not detract from it's heartbreaking beauty. Enjoy it. And thank you, Gustav Mahler.


Dead White Male.


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