Friday, May 16, 2014

Montage # 156 – Mendelssohn & Mahler Symphonies no. 4

As of  June 13, 2014, this montage will no longer be available on Pod-O-Matic. It can be heard or downloaded from the Internet Archive at the following address:



The two symphonies programmed today address unfinished business from Digital Vinyl and Musical Holiday in Italy, both 2011 montages.

Mendelssohn's Fourth symophony result from Mendelssohn's European travels in the late 1820's, which also gave us his Scottish Symphony. Completed in Berlin, the symphony was first performed in London in 1833 and - from what we can read - didn't completely please Mendelssohn. He planned to do complete rewrites of several of its movements but - thank Goodness - he never got around to it!

As we pointed out recently in discussion his Third symphony, Mahler's early symphonies all find theor inspiration from the many texts of Des Knaben Wunderhorn. Mahler adapted 10 songs set for soprano or baritone and orchestra as a cycle in 1905, but in total 12 orchestral songs exist, and a similar number of songs for voice and piano.

"Das irdische Leben" – The Earthly Life (composed after April 1892) is one of these songs that was recycled to be used in one of these symphonies - the Fourth. Another interesting addition to the symphony is the "mistuned" violin in the second movement - representing the Devil - though the overall gig atmosphere shows him as a playful not necessarily maleficent Hades.

I think you will love this music too!