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Little is known about the genesis of Mahler’s Symphony No. 1. A connection to two women – the singer Johanna Richter and Marion von Weber – is documented, which may have been the reason that Mahler took efforts not to let very much be known about it. Originally, ‘Blumine’ was planned as the second movement of the symphony. It was composed in 1884 as a part of a set of ‘living pictures’ based on Scheffel’s Trompeter von Säkkingen which Mahler otherwise destroyed. His Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen are thematically related to the symphony and were also composed in that same year. There is a large break between these preliminary studies and the final version of the symphony which Mahler wrote in just six weeks in the spring of 1888; he said that it ‘virtually gushed like a mountain stream’ (letter to Friedrich Löhr in March 1888). There must have been further preparatory work in this period, but almost nothing datable has survived. Mahler conducted the premiere performance of the Symphony No. 1 in Budapest on 20 November 1889. Here it was appropriately called a ‘Symphonic Poem’, since the similarities to the programmatic ‘Neudeutsche Symphonic Poems’ are undeniable. Although Mahler revised the score thoroughly in the first part of 1893, he still felt it necessary to print the following indication of the work’s contents for a performance in Hamburg on 27 October 1893: 7. ‘The Titan’, A Tone Poem in the form of a symphony (manuscript) ..... Mahler 1st Part ‘Childhood Memories’, flowers, fruits and thornsI. ‘Eternal Spring’ (Introduction and Allegro comodo)The introduction represents the re-awakening of Nature after a long winter. II. ‘Biumine’ (Andante)III. ‘The wind in my sails’ (Scherzo) 2nd Part ‘Commedia humana’IV. ‘Shipwrecked’ (a funeral march in the style of Jacques Callot)The following should help understand this movement. The inspiration for this piece can be seen in the satirical picture ‘The Hunter’s Funeral’ which is known to all Austrian children: The animals of the forest accompany the coffin of the deceased hunter to his grave; rabbits carry little banners preceded by a band of Bohemian musicians; there are music-making cats, toads, crows, etc. and elk, deer, foxes and other four-legged and feathered beasts of the forest participate in the procession assuming dance-like poses. At this point, the piece wavers between ironic and humorous moods here and mysterious, brooding ones there. This is immediately followed byV. ‘Dall’ Inferno’ (Allegro furioso)which represents the sudden explosion of despair coming from a deeply wounded heart. As a matter of fact, a large variety of art forms (pictures, literature, music) and levels of appreciation (including folk art and popular subjects) can be seen as sources for Mahler’s inspiration. As in other works, Mahler did not refer to these programmatic elements later, with the exception of the title of the symphony, which he even weakened: ‘the so-called Titan’. He prepared a second revision for a performance on 16 March 1896 in Berlin which deleted the Blumine movement – the title became simply ‘Symphony in D major’. The work was first printed in 1898/1899 by Josef Eberle [&] Co in Vienna, at a time when Mahler was already director of the Court Opera House. The first edition was sold by Weinberger and was incorporated into Universal Edition in 1909. The composer, however, reserved the right to carry out further revisions. He made changes in the instrumentation for virtually every performance to better express his growing demands and to make it ‘beautifully transparent and perfect’. Right up to the last performance of the work which he conducted in New York in December 1909, Mahler revised the orchestral parts – before and after the concert. The present score reproduces the Improved Edition that was published in 1992 by Sander Wilkens in the series of the Critical Complete Edition. This in turn was based on Erwin Ratz’s ‘Fassung letzter Hand’ (Final Version), in which the attempt was made for the first time to collate all of the authentic changes including the aforementioned New York revision of 1909/1910. Wilken’s interpretation of the ‘Solo’ indication in the double basses at the opening of the third movement as a ‘group solo’, i.e. only double basses without violoncellos, and not as a performance by a single player, has met in some places with criticism – the final word about it has definitely not been heard. It should be noted that Mahler specifically requested stronger forces for the final chorale (fourth movement, starting at bar 656): at least by ‘an extra trumpet and an extra trombone’ but ‘naturally more horns [would be] preferable’ (letter to Franz Schalk concerning a performance in Prague in 1898), i.e. at least nine horns. From the preface of Gustav Mahler: Symphony No. 1UE 34314

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Pierre Boulez’ Notations are not only fascinating works. They are also sonic witnesses to their times. They originated as piano pieces in 1945 when Boulez was just 20 years old. Between thirty and fifty years later Boulez rewrote them as orchestral works. Starting from the existing piano versions, Boulez created entirely new works that are much more than just orchestrations. These works now give us a rare insight into the composer's particularly long developmental process. Reflections on Notations: Perhaps the easiest way for a new listener to approach Boulez’ masterpiece is the way I tried to fully appreciate Shakespeares A Midsummer Night’s Dream – first reading it (with a dictionary!) and then seeing it on stage. Boulez’ own recording, with or without headphones, is illuminating but the live concert experience with an enormous symphonic ensemble alternating dynamics, both pulsating and transparent, is absolutely the best way to learn to appreciate this score. The original piano solo ‘Notations’, with elegant, even poignant references to Schönberg (op. 19) and Stravinsky (Sacre), can be a useful introduction to the more complex and developed orchestral work. The orchestral score offers a third dimension of depths and layers to the vertical and horizontal structures of the original; one listens from within. Dennis Russell Davies I first performed the Notations with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France in Paris in November 2014. I found the score looks more difficult than it is. If you play everything the way it is written, the piece sounds wonderful, massive. All you need is a good orchestra and a good conductor. Ideal sequence of movements: 1, 7, 4, 3, 2. Peter Eötvös Every time I listen to, study or conduct Boulez’ Notations, I immediately think of the other grand master of French sonic architecture: Maurice Ravel. The aesthetic proximity between Boulez and Ravel is palpable. A glance at a single detail in one of the scores by Boulez (or Ravel) explains the ‘totality’, the aura and the form of the large-scale work. This, to me, seems essentially ‘French’ – this sharpened awareness of the detail that fits into the whole architecture of the work logically as well as poetically. You could almost say that the formal developments in these works follow an intricately detailed plan, while, at the same time liberating themselves and giving the music a logical flow – the great freedom in the breathing and phrasing in this music along with quite precise indications. The sound world of the Notations is fascinating and has left its mark on generations of young composers who write for large orchestra. With what great and ingenious inspiration did Boulez ‘implode’ the ‘little’ Notations fragments for piano solo into the huge proliferations on this large orchestral canvas! For me, it is fascinating to see how Boulez, as he interpreted his own work over the years, extended the contrast in the tempo relationships as he got older. The slower parts increasingly resonate with more time and space while the scherzo-like movements gain pace and pressure. Matthias Pintscher Pierre Boulez’ Notations are a work of immense significance in the contemporary repertoire for large orchestra. In my opinion, they are just as important to the modern symphony orchestra as The Rite of Spring or La Mer. It gives me great joy that whenever I conduct them, I find numerous new elements in every rehearsal. Four years ago in Baden-Baden I had the privilege of rehearsing the Notations with Pierre Boulez himself. The work’s melodic, rhythmic and expressive diversity puts it among the most important works of new music. François-Xavier Roth ... In 1945-6 there was nothing left, and everything had to be done ...1 ... What we discovered ... was relatively simple because it was a first attempt to lay the foundation for a new language based on the existing sources [that we went back to] 2 ... ... After a while we realised that it was not enough and that we had to look for something more, beyond the precise codification of language. [We had to rediscover aesthetic concerns anew]. At first we tried to avoid these concerns ..., because they weren’t that important and [seemed hard to solve] ... we didn’t want to burden ourselves with pseudo-aesthetic questions... 3 Aphoristic brevity, unmistakeable expressionist sonic intensity and rigorous serial procedure in the compositional technique are the defining characteristics of the Douze Notations (1945) for piano. They are the aesthetic manifesto of the young Pierre Boulez, as well as the debut work of an ingenious composer. With intelligence and self-assurance, the composer gives expression to the belief that serialism is the only possible area for the revival of postwar European musical culture, combined with the revolutionary liberation of musical metre as demonstrated by Stravinsky through the overpowering radicalism of his Le Sacre. The fact that Boulez felt the necessity to return to the Douze Notations for a creative re-examination more than three decades after their composition – decades during which Boulez established himself not only as a performer of 20th century repertoire, but also as a pioneer of New Music, thanks to his tireless and lively polemics – shows how important those first steps were, and how fresh they still are in the compositional concerns of their creator. The orchestration of piano pieces may call to mind a certain French compositional practice with Maurice Ravel as a good example, but this is where the similarity ends. Here we are dealing with something fundamentally different: the fact that a composer at the height of his creative maturity is capable of revisiting his debut work so as to create a completely new, impressively stylistic lecture (intended for an orchestra of Mahlerian proportions). With their generous beauty and richness of innovative refinements realised with a nonchalance and airy technical virtuosity, the Notations pour orchestre are the best way into the creative universe of the mature Pierre Boulez. A brilliant feat, an exemplary contribution to the above-mentioned challenge to ‘rediscover aesthetic concerns anew’. For me this masterpiece is one of the indispensable future pillars of a new repertoire for the orchestra of the 21st century. I am convinced that every musician who understands that creativity in contemporary music demands a profound debate, recognises the necessity and urgency of this new repertoire. Emilio Pomàrico 1 Boulez, Pierre, A che punto siamo? From: Punti di Riferimento, Ed. Giulio Einaudi, Turin 19842 Boulez, Pierre, A che punto siamo? From: Punti di Riferimento, Ed. Giulio Einaudi, Turin 19843 Boulez, Pierre, A che punto siamo? From: Punti di Riferimento, Ed. Giulio Einaudi, Turin 1984

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Gustav Mahler documented his preference for certain literary genres by setting to music 14 pieces from Des Knaben Wunderhorn (Lieder from the Youth’s Magic Horn) over a period of almost ten years, music that he created while and in between working on his symphonic oeuvre. At the same time, he also gave life to a musical genre which before was not very widely employed: the ballad-like, humorous orchestra lied. Early in his life, Mahler found a source for the linguistic basis of his vocal compositions, a source that was said to be available to him in book form only after the composition of his own work Lieder eines fahren den Gesellen (Songs of A Wayfarer): the widely known and read 19th century ‘folk song’ collection of poems titled Des Knaben Wunderhorn, publication of which had been begun by Romanticists Achim von Arnim and Clemens Brentano in 1805. This is to say that Mahler at that time went back exclusively to ‘old German’ literature in his vocal compositions. Alte deutsche Lieder (Old German Songs) is the original subtitle of the collection of folk songs. His treatment of the textual models far exceeds the process usually understood as selection and setting to music. Mahler’s artistic re-arrangement not just affects individual phrases, but instead whole passages and stanzas, which are often replaced by his own words or verses. His reasoning behind this process, which extended towards a technique of montage, was that the Wunderhorn texts are ‘boulders of rock for one to shape in his own way’, as he allegedly stated. Accordingly, for the composer, the Wunderhorn texts are part of his compositional creation and structure. During the theatre season of 1892, Mahler, then opera and concert conductor in Hamburg, apparently was so motivated by the (at least subjectively felt) success of the printing of this first three volumes of piano lieder by Schott (among them are already nine lieder on Wunderhorn texts) that he committed to paper a new Wunderhorn series in less than three months. He himself referred to them as ‘10 new songs’ – they are the five Humoresques for voice and piano and then the five orchestra versions of the same lieder; the latter are the first five titles of the present edition. As varied as the texts, the musical structure and the philosophical statements of Mahler’s orchestra lieder is their individual fate with regard to performance and print. For example, Das himmlische Leben (The Heavenly Life) was performed by Mahler himself as an orchestra lied at least once – in Hamburg in 1893. In fundamentally different orchestration, it later became the final movement and core of motif and thought for his Symphony No. 4, composed in 1899. This may be one of the reasons why this orchestra lied was first published 106 years later – in 1998 in the Complete Critical Edition. The way Mahler thought and orchestrated when creating a lied for orchestra in contrast to a symphonic work is best documented by the astonishing fact that the Fischpredigt (St. Anthony’s Sermon to the Fishes), created in 1893, was composed as an independent lied in the middle of the conception of his Symphony No. 2: the fair copy of the orchestra version is dated ‘August 1, 1893’, i.e. 16 days a f t e r the sketchy, but in terms of content almost complete draft for the considerably different and conceptually much bigger work that was to become the third movement of the symphony. With a view to his Revelge (Reveille, a ‘Humoresque’), created in 1899, Mahler said that ‘the rhythm of this lied had to be preceded by nothing less than the 1st movement of my Third [Symphony] as a study’. This clearly outlines the importance of his lied creations in his symphonic thinking. The 14 lieder from Wunderhorn were never intended to be a song cycle. The fact that Mahler never even attempted to perform all songs at one time, their very separated time of creation, and the different stylistic levels of the ‘humoresques’, ‘ballads’ or ‘grotesques’ are all evidence of this. It is a mistaken belief of the 20th century, certainly helped by the publication of the lieder as a collection, that the order of the songs as they are in print ought to be obligatory for a performance. In this collection, the lieder are simply sorted according to their time of creation, just as in the Complete Critical Edition (see below). Taking their respective keys into account (the last four ‘Songs of War’ are all written in d minor!), they should not necessarily be performed in this order, nor is it obligatory that all be sung in one concert. Furthermore, the performance practice of two singers ‘in duet’ for the respective ‘Songs for Two People’ – caused by an (almost ‘humorous’) misunderstanding dating back to the first decade of the Mahler renaissance (1950–1960) – should finally be done away with forever: these ‘Songs for One Voice with Orchestra Accompaniment’ are always basically ballads which require a narrator who sometimes comments from a distance, sometimes tells the story with emotion and who recounts the appropriate moods; in most cases this role can filled by either a man or a woman. Renate Stark-Voit, 2003 (Translation by Sybil Marquardt)

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