Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Make me one with everything

I've been checking out music on You Tube. The sound isn't as good as playing a CD, but it is interesting to see the musicians. Here's a long clip of some of my favorite music. I first heard Mahler's music at Tanglewood - the NY Philharmonic played this symphony, and at the end of the 4th movement I jumped out of my seat and punched the air, exhaling suddenly all the breath that had been held in my chest through this fantastic finale.

Mahler was famous in his time as a conductor, and restricted his composing to summer vacations. His own music met with some criticism for its expressive emotional power (I am sure that the very thing the critics despised is what draws me to this music - I suspect that my appreciation of the emotional energy of jazz, blues and rock music may have paved the way for an appreciation of Mahler).

Supposedly, Mahler once said that "the symphony should be like the world: it must embrace everything" -- this seems to me to be the perfect definition of what art and music do for us, and what I want from music. Pull me from my seat and make me feel as if the infinite is moving within my heart and soul. Or as the Buddhist monk said to a New York City hot-dog vendor, "Make me one with everything!"

This recording captures the excitement of Mahler's music -- watching Leonard Bernstein at the end of the piece, I see in his movement the exhilaration that I remember feeling myself that summer night at Tanglewood.

I hope you enjoy this:

Mahler Symphony #1 "Titan" 4th Movement
Leonard Bernstein conducting the Wiener Philharmoniker.

Click here.

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