Mahler: 15 Questions


1. Does Waldmaerchen belong in performances of Das Klagende Lied?

2. The conductor Otto Klemperer calls the Finale of the First Symphony weak. Is it?

3. Is the Second Symphony especially indebted to predecessor symphonies (by Beethoven and Mendelssohn, for example)?

4. What’s Mahler’s best song(s)?

5. How important is the program of the Third Symphony? Is the work too heterogenous?

6. I think it was Paul Bekker who said Mahler’s symphonies are “finale symphonies.” How does this apply to the Fourth Symphony?

7. The conductor Erich Leinsdorf says Mahler is easy to conduct because you don’t need a steady tempo and the works are structural potpurris. Is this true?

8. Is it fair to accuse the Fifth Symphony of disunity? 

9. What is the proper order of movements in the Sixth Symphony?

10. Is the title (not Mahler’s own) “Song of the Night” appropriate for the Seventh Symphony?

11. What is the significance of the tonalities in the Ninth Symphony?

12. Are the Eighth Symphony and Das Lied von der Erde really symphonies?

13. How viable and/or necessary is the Tenth Symphony?

14. If I love Mahler, does that mean I’m supposed to love Schoenberg and Berg as well? How about Britten and Shostakovich?

15. Has Mahler’s time come and gone? Or are all times Mahler times?