Talk:Gustav Mahler

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Archived discussion[edit]

Some past discussion of this article has been moved to Archive page(s). Future archivers, please link and summarize what you moved in this section. Remember to sign & date. ("~~~~")

  • /Archive 1 - archived 8 apparently moot sections w/ posts dating from 2004 (some undated) thru June 2006 (+ 2 comments added to old topics in 2007). Topics include: titles to the sym's; key designations; cause of death; last words... —Turangalila (talk) 01:42, 5 April 2007 (UTC)
  • /Archive 2 - 11 sections w/ posts fr Sep. 2005 to Sep 2006 (w/ 1 new note from me). Topics include: quotations; more on titles; bibliography/sourcing/summary style; redirect...—Turangalila (talk) 03:13, 5 April 2007 (UTC)
  • /Archive 3 - 7 sections w/ posts fr May 2006 to March 2007. Topics include: minor works; orchestration particulars;Alma (bio & reliability); recordings; song quotes in the sym's...—Turangalila (talk) 03:13, 5 April 2007 (UTC)

The problem with 'journeyman' is a non-problem. We've done this over and over...[edit]

i) 'Travelling Journeyman' isn't redundant, because the 'journey' doesn't refer to travelling, but pay by the day ('jour').

ii) The 'usual' translation ('Songs of a Wayfarer') is idiotically wrong and utterly misleading for the audience -- which is encouraged to think of effete and wilting wanderings rather than apprenticeship, learning and growth. There is no excuse for it when one merely has to write the German original and then put 'literally, Songs of a Traveling Journeyman' in parenthesis after it. The wrong translation should be introduced as such -- and corrected -- whenever it has to be used. Pfistermeister (talk) 19:47, 12 January 2009 (UTC)

Correction: "Journeyman" is one possible translation (and not the primary one) of Geselle. The primary sense is "companion, comrade, partner, fellow", from the same stem that gives Gesellschaft ("society"). It receives the sense of "journeyman" by extension, as "member of a brotherhood". The conventional translation is simply a more graceful and poetic way of saying "Songs of a Travelling Fellow Human Being" or the vaguely Marxist-sounding "Songs of a Travelling Comrade". Without any further context, indicating the employment and training status of the individual in question, "journeyman" is not appropriate in the translation.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 23:00, 12 January 2009 (UTC)
I agree. As 'idiotic' and 'misleading' as it may be, "Songs of a Wayfarer" is the usual English translation that has been given in countless concert programs, LPs and CDs, not to mention the Groves and Harvard Dictionaries. 'Wayfarer' is a neutral translation that side-steps the issue of whether the person is question is a 'journeyman' (i.e., a tradesman) or a 'comrade', or an' unmarried young man', or whatever. That's probably why 'wayfarer' has persisted, as inaccurate a usage as it may be. One of the points of Wikipedia, it seems to me, is to present unbiased information, and substituting one's own translation, however justifiable and logical, shouldn't be permitted. Cbrodersen (talk) 19:24, 13 January 2009 (UTC)

Composer project review[edit]

I've reviewed this article as part of the Composers project review of its B-class articles. This is a pretty good article, arguably covering all of the relevant factual bases expected of a composer biography. I did find a few things content-wise to harp on, and I note that, if editors are interested in getting this article to FA/GA review, the article will need a full complement of inline citations. My full review is on the comments page; questions and comments should be left here or on my talk page. Magic♪piano 16:15, 22 January 2009 (UTC)

The Beatles singing Mahler?[edit]

I find the Paul McCartney-quote under the section "Influence" a bit dubious. It appears to come from the quote book "Advanced banter", which I do not own. But it's a well known fact that McCartney does not read music (neither did Lennon, I think), so I cannot imagine the two of them singing Mahlers "Knaben Wunderhorn" and "Kindertotenlieder" for hours, switching between singing and playing the piano.

Howardsendgame (talk) 16:58, 30 January 2009 (UTC)

I find it dubious as well, however, I have heard this story repeated since the late 70s. Now, that doesn't mean it is true but since it is, after all, such an interesting item, I think it should be looked in to. Gingermint (talk) 02:07, 7 March 2010 (UTC)

Agreed 24.184.42.86 (talk) 23:06, 7 July 2010 (UTC)

The alleged Mahlerian connection goes back to William Mann's famous article in the 'Times' in 1963 -- in which he tried to claim there was a relation between 'Das Lied von der Erde' and 'Not a Second Time'. I don't think there's a shred of support for any of this, either musically or biographically. Pfistermeister (talk) 22:59, 8 July 2010 (UTC)
  • Somebody should ask McCartney. He's currently on a concert tour of the U.S. Someone must know somebody with press creds. Though, maybe it isn't worth the trouble, as the quote in question as long been removed from the article.--Paul (talk) 23:08, 8 July 2010 (UTC)

Here is the (now missing) part in question:

Paul McCartney has written: "I have always adored Mahler, and Mahler was a major influence on the music of The Beatles. John and me used to sit and do the Kindertotenlieder and Wunderhorn for hours, we'd take turns singing and playing the piano. We thought Mahler was great". Stephen Fry, John Lloyd and John Mitchinson, QI: Advanced Banter, p. 227

Nice story, but I have a hard time believing it.--Paul (talk) 23:28, 8 July 2010 (UTC)

I have no difficulty believing it. They may not have been able to read music, but that doesn't mean they can't play by ear. Pais (talk) 22:30, 10 July 2010 (UTC)

Article lacks neutrality; needs to have objective criticisms of Mahler's works as well[edit]

This article will never get higher than B-Class unless it provides some objective negative viewpoints regarding Mahler's music as well. To include only positive remarks and views is non-encyclopedic, non-neutral, and POV. I know objective negative criticisms, from present-day reliable sources and people, of Mahler's music exist because I've read them. They were also mentioned in the article itself a year or so ago, but someone has deleted them. Please let this article conform to Wikipedia standards by providing all reliable viewpoints, both positive and negative. Softlavender (talk) 07:49, 17 February 2009 (UTC)

tonality section and general tonality argument[edit]

In my opinion, the section on tonality and particularly his "progressive tonality" is pretty useless. Yes, Mahler used progressive tonal ordering of his movements, but this could be explained in a sentence and is not as big a deal as the article makes it out to be. Further, the emphasis on this misses the opportunity to put Mahler in a larger historical framework in regards to the history of tonality- beyond the term's use in merely labeling the governing tonic of a symphonic movement, really Mahler is the last great tonal symphonicist, at least in the German tradition. In regards to this, his tonal language was clearly set in the Beethoven - Wagner - Bruckner tradition, but he couldn't help but be influenced by the radical pushing of tonal limits initiated by Wagner but carried to greater and greater extremes by Strauss (in Salome and Elektra) and the young contemporaries of the 2nd viennese school, who by the time of Mahler's death were already throwing tonality out the window. You can see this influence in the evolution of Mahler's tonal language through his symphonies- culminating in the dodecaphonic chord of the 10th's adagio- quite clearly.

I intend to update this section with these concerns once I have time to gather appropriate citations. Harveytuttle (talk) 22:57, 4 April 2009 (UTC)

I have begun to revise the music section of the page because I feel there is room for much improvement. I am planning on removing a few claims I feel to be questionable. But first, I am curious if someone can back up the claim of Mendelssohn's influence on Mahler. I've never heard this before, but that obviously doesn't mean it isn't true if somebody can cite it. Harveytuttle (talk) 05:56, 5 April 2009 (UTC)

Mahler as early-modernist?[edit]

In the opening paragraph, it says Mahler is an early modernist? Why is this so? I have never seen him designated as such since he didn't end the Romantic movement and he didn't use a modernist style even in the 9th. 192.203.40.251 (talk) 14:19, 23 September 2009 (UTC)

I am not sure whether I can prove you that Mahler is a "modernist". But I am sure that you can hear yourself the distance he pushed the symphonic music forward. Just make the following comparisons:
  • Mahler's First and his Ninth
  • Bruckner's Ninth and Mahler's Ninth
  • Mahler's Ninth and Shostakovich's Fifth.
Try to draw a line and arrange these symphonies as dots on it. Then take Das Lied von der Erde and try to place it on this line.
TomyDuby (talk) 17:57, 23 September 2009 (UTC)
Is there such a thing as a "modernist style"? Modernism is ordinarily understood as an attitude or a programme. Certainly it can be argued that Mahler possessed certain modernist traits (I think it may equally be argued that he possessed traditionalist traits). The fact that his style evolved considerably over his career is largely irrelevant, however.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 18:38, 23 September 2009 (UTC)

In the history of music the labels like "romantic", "classic", "impressionist" and "modern" are not used in the same sense as in the history of arts and literature. The "late romantic" label is used for music only. Beethoven is considered a "classicist" although he was an exact contemporary of e.g. Hoelderlin and Wordsworth and in his middle period expressed the the romantic cult of heroism and in his late period the romantic emphasis on subjectivity. There was a time when no composer who has not abandoned tonality entirely was consireded modern (the term "new music" was the peferred one). This conception of modernity excludes not only Mahler but also Bartok, Shostakovich, Britten, most of Stravinsky... --Georgius (talk) 15:39, 7 July 2010 (UTC)

Oh, good. I'm glad that is cleared up now. So Mahler is neither "modern" nor does his music belong to "modernity" (pending citations, at least). But the question remains: is there such a thing as a "modernist style"? If so, what are its characteristics?—Jerome Kohl (talk) 16:52, 7 July 2010 (UTC)

Anniversaries[edit]

2010 sees the 150th anniversary of Mahler's birth. It would be a great tribute to the man if this article could be upgraded to become Wikipedia's TFA on his birth date, 7 July. The main areas of work required seem to be:-

  • Need to use a greater range of source materials, including more up-to-date publications, to revise and develop the text
  • Need to increase the extent of in-line citations (there are numerous citation tags at present)
  • Hiving off the list of works to a separate article: "List of compositions by Gustav Mahler"
  • Various MOS issues, image audit, alt text, etc

I am prepared to give a substantial time commitment to this. Broadly, I would see article revision and rebuilding during the next three months, peer review around April, FAC thereafter. Last year I expanded the Bedrich Smetana biography, and have created or expanded a number of other musical articles (Rhinemaidens, Mozart family grand tour, Mozart in Italy, Agrippina, The Bartered Bride, L'incoronazione di Poppea).

A fall-back position, should the project become delayed in reaching its objective, is that 2011 sees the 100th anniversary of Mahler's death, so if we fail this year there is another significant date in the offing. I'd be pleased to hear from anyone interested in contributing to the project. Brianboulton (talk) 12:00, 1 January 2010 (UTC)

Work has begun on the biographical sections of the article, which will be expanded in accordance with a new draft structure. The "Music" and "Legacy" sections will be temporarily removed, for revision and restoration later. Brianboulton (talk) 23:45, 4 March 2010 (UTC)

Symphony of a Thousand[edit]

Note: The title "Symphony of a Thousand", while popular with listeners, is not due to Mahler, does not appear on the score, and is not used in works of reference.

  •  ! ! ! ! ! ! !
  • Is there a single work of reference that does not use the epithet "Symphony of a Thousand" in reference to this work? Wikipedia certainly does, in its own article on the symphony. -- Jack of Oz ... speak! ... 07:38, 5 February 2010 (UTC)
The eighth symphony of Mahler is always referred to as the "Symphony of a Thousand." I mean, ALWAYS (and there are few alwayses in the universe). Gingermint (talk) 02:10, 7 March 2010 (UTC)
Why does it take me to point out that the New Grove has it right? The text of the biographical entry says 'It was during the elaborate preparations for those performances that the concert's promoter (Emil Gutmann) coined the work's popular nickname, the ‘Symphony of a Thousand’, as a marketing slogan' -- and the list of works simply has 'Symphony no.8, E, 3 S, 2 A, T, Bar, B, boys’ vv, mixed vv, orch'. The stupid name has no status. Pfistermeister (talk) 18:43, 8 March 2010 (UTC)
Oh, of course it has status. Next you'll be telling us the popular names of the Moonlight Sonata and the Emperor Concerto have no "status", because it wasn't Beethoven who came up with them. These are what they're called, that's the fact we're dealing with here. Who coined them or anything else about the history of the names simply don't matter. -- Jack of Oz ... speak! ... 12:41, 10 March 2010 (UTC)

List of compositions[edit]

As per my 1 January post, above, I have created List of compositions by Gustav Mahler in place of the list of works previously in the article. I hope to begin some work on the main article shortly. Brianboulton (talk) 00:19, 1 March 2010 (UTC)

Inaccuracies about Hugo Wolf and his death[edit]

Wolf was not song writer. That would make him a poet, he was mainly Lieder composer. Lied (in this meaning) is musical accompaniment for already published or own poem.

Next, it article it is implied he because of his mental instability. ("Wolf was mentally unstable, and eventually died in an asylum.") His death and insanity was caused by syphilis. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 89.143.117.78 (talk) 00:49, 25 March 2010 (UTC)

Many sources refer to Wolf as a writer or composer of songs. "Lied" means "song". It is probably better to refer to him as a composer of songs rather than as a song writer. As to his death, this article is about Mahler, not Wolf, and the circumstances of Wolf's insanity are not relevant here. Brianboulton (talk) 12:49, 25 March 2010 (UTC)

Comments[edit]

In general this article is really shaping up very well. Some relatively minor points:

Childhood

  • In December 1860 Bernard Mahler moved with his wife and infant son to the Moravian town of Iglau (now Jihlava in the Czech Republic),[4] where Bernard built up a successful distillery and tavern business.[5] Twelve more children were born to the family, though only six survived infancy.[4] Iglau was then a thriving commercial town of 20,000 people with an active popular culture;[6] Gustav was introduced to music through the fashionable tunes of the day, folk songs, dances, and the regular band concerts given by the local military garrison. Many of these elements would later become parts of the musical vocabulary of his compositions.[3] Maybe it's my reading of this paragraph, but the events seem jumbled. Perhaps if mention of the children were moved or somehow better incorporated, the paragraph would flow better.
  • Although Gustav loved making music, his school reports from the Iglau Gymnasium portray him as absent-minded and unreliable in school work.[ Having "school" in the sentence twice seems redundant.

Student days

  • Although Mahler made good progress in his piano studies with Epstein, for his final year at the Conservatory, 1877–78, he switched to composition under Robert Fuchs and Franz Krenn.[9] Is there any mention as to what prompted Mahler to switch? It would be nice to know here.
  • A symphonic movement, prepared for an end-of-term competition, was destroyed after its scornful rejection by the autocratic director Joseph Hellmesberger.[10] Nothing is wrong with this sentence. However, if I remember correctly, Hellmesberger was a close associate of Brahms. Could musical conservatism have played a role in Hellmesberger's rejection of Mahler's piece? And if so, how did this conservatism potentially color other parts of Mahler's student career? It's a minor point but would be interesting to know.
  • As a Conservatory student Mahler attended occasional lectures by Anton Bruckner and, while never the latter's formal pupil, was influenced by him. How was he influenced? Except for length, Mahler's works do not seem similar to Bruckner's.
  • Among Mahler's fellow students was the future song composer Hugo Wolf with whom he formed a close friendship. Wolf was mentally unstable, and eventually died in an asylum.[12] Is the second sentence really necessary, since the article is about Mahler, not Wolf?
  • Along with many music students of his generation, Mahler was attracted to and influenced by the music of Richard Wagner, though—unlike Wolf—he had reservations.[13] Was this attraction sanctioned in musically conservative Vienna? Did the Conservatory condone it? What were Mahler's reservations?
  • After leaving the University in 1879, Mahler made some money by teaching piano and continued to compose, though he fell out with Wolf over disputed ownership of the idea for an opera, to be called Rübezahl.[12] Maybe rephrasing the middle part of this sentence to "Mahler made some money as a piano teacher" might make things flow more smoothly&madsh;having past tense, an -ing verb, then another past tense verb seems odd.
  • This project, and another opera Die Argonauten, were both abandoned,[14] but in 1880 Mahler finished a dramatic cantata, Das Klagende Lied ("The Song of Lament") which, although betraying Wagnerian and Brucknerian influences, contains many musical features which musicologist Deryck Cooke describes as "pure Mahler".[15] This feels like a lot to fit into one sentence.
  • Mahler developed interests in German nationalism and German philopsophy, and was introduced by his friend Siegfried Lipiner to the works of Schopenhauer, Nietzche, Gustav Theodor Fechner and Rudolf Hermann Lotze. For those who may not know about them, it would be nice to have the first names of Schopenhauer and Nietzche as well as the links.
  • Biographer Jonathan Carr says that the composer's head was "not only full of the sound of Bohemian bands, trumpet calls and marches, Bruckner chorales ... Should there be an "and" before "Bruckner chorales"?

First appointments

  • Despite poor relations with the orchestra, Mahler brought five new operas to the theatre, including Bizet's Carmen, and eventually won over the press who had initially been hostile to him.[20] Having "eventually" and "initially" in the same sentence seems redundant.
  • Hoping to escape from Kassel, Mahler requested a post as assistant to the distinguished conductor Hans von Bülow, who had given two concerts in the town in January 1884. Which town was Bulow a music director?
  • Bülow was dismissive, but in 1885 Mahler's jobseeking efforts resulted in a six-year contract with the prestigious Leipzig Opera, to begin in 1886. This may be connected to the problem in the previous sentence, but how did Mahler's jobseeking lead him to Leipzig? Was Bulow the music director there?

Prague and Leipzig

  • In Prague, the popularity and importance of the Neues Deutsches Theater had been diminished by the new Czech National Theatre and its overt nationalist agenda; Mahler's task was to help arrest this decline.[24] How was he to arrest this decline?
  • This did not, however, endear him to the orchestra, who resented his high-handed and authoritarian manner. Mahler, however, has the support of the theatre's manager, Max Staegemann.[24] Two points. First, having "however" in two sentences in a row sounds awkward. Second, in the second sentence, should "has" read "had"?
  • The première at the Stadttheater in January 1888 was an important occasion at which Tchaikovsky was present,[24] along with the heads of various opera houses. Would be nice to use Tchaikovsky's full name here since this is his first mention in the article.

Apprentice composer

  • In the years of Mahler's early conducting appointments, composing was a spare time activity. Between his Laibach and Olmütz appointments he worked on settings of verses by Richard Leander and Tirso de Molina, later collected as Volume 1 of Lieder und Gesänge ("Songs and Airs").[31] You use Roman numerals later in the article for Volumes II and III. Should that be the case here as well?
  • The Dutch conductor Willem Mengelberg has insisted that the First Symphony is too mature to be a first symphonic work, and must have had predecessors. Since Mengelberg is no longer alive, should "has" be removed?
  • The archive was almost certainly destroyed in the bombing of Dresden in 1945,[27] but according to Mahler historian Donald Mitchell "the strong possibility remains that some important manuscripts, either early symphonies or parts of early symphonies, were to be found in Dresden."[35] Don't see how the two phrases in this sentence connect, especially with "but".

Royal Opera, Budapest

  • On arriving in Budapest in October 1888 Mahler found the opera house affected by a broad cultural conflict between old-style Hungarian nationalists favouring a policy of Magyarisation, and liberal nationalists who wanted to preserve the German cultural traditions of Austria. How could both groups be considered nationalists?

More to follow. Jonyungk (talk) 01:57, 29 March 2010 (UTC)

Continuing ...

Royal Opera, Budapest

  • In search of non-German operas to extend the repertory, Mahler visited Italy, where among the works he discovered was Pietro Mascagni's new sensation Cavalleria Rusticana.[36] Should "new" read as "then-new"?
  • August Beer's lengthy newspaper review indicates that enthusiasm for the early movements degenerated into "audible opposition" after the Finale.[39] Do you mean "by the Finale"? "After the Finale" would mean after the piece had ended, wouldn't it?
  • Mahler was particularly distressed by the negative comments from his Vienna Conservatory contemporary, Viktor von Herzfeld.[36][40] Any chance of finding out what those comments were?
  • Mahler began negotiating with the director of the Hamburg Stadttheater; in May 1891, having agreed a contract there, he resigned his Budapest post.[40] Should the second part of this sentence read "having agreed to ..."?

Hofoper director

  • Vienna, the imperial Habsburg capital, had recently elected an anti-Semitic conservative mayor, Karl Lueger, who had once proclaimed: "I myself decide who is a Jew and who isn't."[53] In a volatile poltical atmosphere Mahler needed an early demonstration of his German cultural credentials. Should the second sentence read, "In such a volatile political atmosphere ..."?
  • However, a proposal to stage Strauss's controversial Salome fell foul of the Viennese censors.[59] Should this read "fell afoul"?

Mature composer

  • I like the picture you have in this section, but isn't having a photo on the left directly under a caption discouraged on WP?

New York

  • Should the photo of the Metropolitan Opera House be directly under the heading on the left?
  • Mahler made his New York debut at the Metropolitan on 1 January 1908, when he conducted Wagner's Tristan und Isolde in a cut version long since superseded in Vienna.[86] He conducted other similarly attenuated versions of Wagner's operas,[89] in a season's programme that included Don Giovanni and Le Nozze di Figaro.[68] It would be nice to know why Mahler suddenly switched to cut versions. Any chance for a quote regrarding this?
  • On 19 September 1908, Mahler conducted the première of his own Seventh Symphony; according to Alma Mahler the occasion was a succès d'estime, a critical rather than a popular success.[91] Where was the premiere? Vienna? New York? ---It was in Prague. --Georgius (talk) 07:18, 11 July 2010 (UTC)

Early responses, 1889-1911

  • A long-time Mahler friend, Guido Adler, calculated that up to the time of the composer's death in 1911, more than 260 performances of the symphonic works had taken place since 1889, in Europe, Russia and America, with the Fourth Symphony (61) given most frequently.[108] I figued out that you mean the Fourth Symphony received 61 performances, but I had to look several times at the sentence because having the number in parentheses made it look like a footnote number.

Hope this helps. Jonyungk (talk) 02:59, 31 March 2010 (UTC)

Jonyungk review points[edit]

Thank you for your helpful comments and suggestions, most of which I have incorporated into the article. Here are my comments on some of the issues you raised:-

  • What prompted Mahler to switch to composition in his last year at the Conservatory? From reading the sources carefully, I gather that Mahler didn't "switch". He merely concentrated more on composition in his final year; I have altered the text to reflect this.
  • Hellmesberger's rejection of Mahler's "student" symphony: I don't think Hellmesberger's conservatism, or his connection with Brahms, had any bearing on this matter. Hellmesberger, a cantankerous and impatient man, was annoyed because of the copying errors in Mahler's score; I have included this in the text.
  • How was Mahler influenced by Bruckner? As you say, their music does not sound similar, but Bruckner influenced Mahler in at least two respects. First, by showing that the scale of symphonic works could be expanded, secondly (and more specifically) in the use of chorale-like passages to signify the resolution of conflict. Both these aspects are touched on in the "Music" section of the article.
  • Wagner's influence - and what were Mahler's reservations? I have reworded this passage. It wasn't so much a question of "influence" as the fact that all music students of the 1870s fell under Wagner's spell to some extent. Mahler's captivity was less than some - Wolf's, for instance; there is no evidence that Mahler went to hear Wagner's operas when they came to Vienna. In the "Music" section the general influence of Wagner's music on Mahler's is briefly discussed.
  • Would be nice to use Tchaikovsky's full name here since this is his first mention in the article. My practice is to call first-rank composers by surname only, hence Beethoven, Mozart, Bach etc. Tchaikovsky I think belongs in that class. I also use surname-only for a few second-rankers (e.g. Bizet, Smetana) whose first names are not in general use, but generally those outside the top rank get forename and surname. This is a rather subjective rule, I know, and shouldn't be applied on a hard-and-fast basis. If calling him "Tchaikovsky" seems disrespectful (when the opposite is intended), then we can always add a Pyotr Ilyich, but personally I think it's OK as it is.
  • Two kind of nationalist in Budapest: this was an aspect of the Austro-Hungarian Habsburg empire. It is cultural rather than political nationalism we are talking about here. In Hungary, on the one hand there was the "conservative" faction which espoused a narrow Magyar-based culture. On the other, there were cultural liberals with a broader European outlook who wanted to preserve and develop the dominant Austro-German culture. It is beyond the scope of this article to enter too much explanation, but I have altered and extended the wording to make the general point clear.
  • First symphony premiere: It was the practice in those days for the audience to applaud after each movement (still happens, sometimes) so I think the wording concerning this audience's gradual change of heart about the work is correct. I have added a bit of the rude things that Herzfeld said in his review.
  • Left-aligned images under level-3 headings. There is no longer a proscription on this. If you feel like going back through the FAC talkpage archives to 16-18 September 2009, there is a long discussion about this.
  • "Cut" versions of Wagner's operas": In Vienna, Mahler had changed the general practice of cutting Wagner's long operas and had offered them at full length. New York was behind the times, and was still staging the shorter versions. Mahler simply went along with the NY fashion.

I hope these explanations make sense; please come back if you feel that the issues have not been properly resolved in the article. One word on length: the wordcount stands at about 8,600, which is OK but still about 10 to 15 percent longer than Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov or Smetana. I wouldn't like to see it grow any longer. Brianboulton (talk) 17:06, 7 April 2010 (UTC)

Peer review[edit]

The article is now being reviewed ar WP:Peer review. All comments welcome there. Brianboulton (talk) 18:16, 11 April 2010 (UTC)

Thanks to all who contributed to the peer review. There having been no substantial review comments for five days, I am closing the review and will shortly nominate the article at FAC. Brianboulton (talk) 14:45, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

Final comments[edit]

I really find I don't have much in the Music section:

  • "The composer Alban Berg called the Ninth "the most marvellous thing that Mahler ever wrote"; none of these final works were performed in Mahler's lifetime." I would make this two sentences as I don't see enough connection to justify the semicolon.
  • There would be a certain logic in having the antecedents subsection first.
    • Yes, that's how I first wrote it, but later I changed my mind. There is value, I feel, in beginning the Music section with a brief summary of the structure of Mahler's compositional life, as this provides a context for what follows. Its marginal, but I personally prefer it this way. Brianboulton (talk) 14:25, 25 April 2010 (UTC)
  • "to summon the lost world of his childhood." Was (at the time of Mahler's works) his childhood particularly more lost than anyone else's? Surely today it is, due to the Holocaust, but at the time?
    • I think, in adulthood, the world of childhood is always considered as "lost" – "the land of lost content". I'd rather keep it. Brianboulton (talk) 14:25, 25 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Perhaps in this rather technical section, more musical terms could be linked, e.g. triptych, organic.
    • Neither of these are musical terms. I am using "triptych" allegorically, like Puccini with "Il trittico". The link on triptych goes to an article based on the literal meaning. There is no suitable link for "organic" but I would have thought, in the context, the meaning was clear. Brianboulton (talk) 14:25, 25 April 2010 (UTC)
  • "on Mahler's unconventional percussion effects—a wooden mallet, birch rods and a huge square bass drum." Perhaps insert a verb such as "using" somewhere in there?
  • "In the years following his centenary in 1960 ..." This sentence should probably be split into two.
  • "the barrackers" Perhaps find a more international term here. Hecklers?

That's all I have. These remaining concerns are so minor I will not wait to enter my support. Very well done as always.--Wehwalt (talk) 00:14, 25 April 2010 (UTC)

Thanks; dealt with as indicated (no comment means suggestion adopted) Brianboulton (talk) 14:25, 25 April 2010 (UTC)

Relative neglect section[edit]

User Niekerk has added text to this section, cited to (his own?) book, Reading Mahler: German Culture and Jewish Identity in Fin-de-siècle Vienna, by Carl Niekerk (Rochester, NY: Camden House. ISBN 978-1-57113-467-7). However, the book's publisher advises here that the book in not yet published; publication date is 1 September 2010. WP requires that information is verifiable against published sources. Although the information added by Niekerk is relevant, it cannot be included until its source has been published; alternatively, it can be cited to an alternative existing published source, if one exists. I have meanwhile reverted the section back to its earlier form, and have removed the Niekerk book from the list of sources. I have listed the book as "Further reading", with a note of its expected publication date, and suggest that the withdrawn material be added after the book has been published. Brianboulton (talk) 08:55, 14 June 2010 (UTC)

Temporarily removed material:-

In Austria, Mahler's work experienced a brief renaissance between 1934 and 1938, a period known today as "Austrofascism"'. The authoritarian regime under Kurt Schuschnigg, with help from Walter and Alma Mahler and Bruno Walter, sought to make Mahler into a national icon comparable to Richard Wagner in Germany.[ref Niekerk pp. 216, 217 and 271] Mahler's music was heard in Berlin in early 1941, when the Second Symphony was performed for an exclusively Jewish audience. Likewise, in Amsterdam during the German occupation of the Netherlands, the First and Fourth Symphonies, and the Songs of a Wayfarer, were performed.[ref Niekerk pp. 216, 271]

Through extensive research I have uncovered around 3,000 concerts which included a work of Mahler's before the 1960/61 anniversary years, about 2,000 of those prior to WW II. See La Grange Volume IV, Appendix 3Ad

SW (talk) 01:59, 20 October 2010 (UTC)

Comma usage[edit]

Before I make a "pissy edit" and get reverted and reciprocated by someone else, I've always learned that you use commas to set off two independent clauses that are linked by a coordinating conjunction. These two sentences in the lead (the first being the very first sentence) go against that:

Gustav Mahler (7 July 1860 – 18 May 1911) was an Austrian late-Romantic composer, and one of the leading conductors of his generation.
These works were often controversial when first performed, and were slow to receive critical and popular approval;...

If I'm wrong, please let me know, but I don't think there should be commas there; if the latter is the case, then the entire article needs to be checked for this. –MuZemike 20:27, 6 July 2010 (UTC)

Don't you mean that a comma ISN'T needed in the case of two independent clauses linked by a conjunction? If that is what you mean, I agree the first two sentences should be edited to conform.--Paul (talk) 20:40, 6 July 2010 (UTC)
I take this back; I now see the editor's point is that the two clauses highlighted are NOT independent, and thus do not require a comma.--Paul (talk) 21:53, 6 July 2010 (UTC)
In written English, punctuation is not subject to adamantine rules in every case. There are questions of style and preference, as any reader of literature will aver, and I have found marked differences between AmEng and BritEng preferences. It would be wrong and unnecessary to go through the article altering the punctuation style in accordance with some supposed ironclad rule. Only if the punctuation creates mangled sentences, or outright ambiguity, should it be disturbed. Brianboulton (talk) 13:26, 7 July 2010 (UTC)

Apparent vandalism[edit]

I quote: "His favorite food is cheeseburgers. His mother Dahlia used to grill them up for him every Thursday night when he was a wee growing boy." One, the language used here is not encyclopedic. Two, it uses the present tense, "is". This sounds like vandalism to me. I would like to know whether it should be removed. Wsrh 2009 (talk) 17:53, 7 July 2010 (UTC)

It's been fixed. Thanks Wikipedians. Wsrh 2009 (talk) 17:55, 7 July 2010 (UTC)

La Grange[edit]

Henry-Louis de La Grange is indexed under "La Grange" rather than "de La Grange" in two sources that I have checked, so I think we should do the same in the article.

  • Ryding, Erik; Pechefsky, Rebecca (2001). Bruno Walter: A World Elsewhere. New Haven: Yale University Press. p. 477. ISBN 9780300087130. 
  • La Grange, Henry-Louis de, Günther Weiss, & Knud Martner, eds. (2004), Gustav Mahler, Letters to his Wife [1901-11] (First complete edition, rev. & trans. by Antony Beaumont)], p. 421. London: Faber and Faber. ISBN 0801443407.

--Robert.Allen (talk) 20:14, 29 September 2010 (UTC)

I also did two searches of Google Books:

  • "La Grange, Henry-Louis de", about 544 results
  • "de La Grange, Henry-Louis", about 172 results

--Robert.Allen (talk) 20:59, 29 September 2010 (UTC)

Mahler and Freud[edit]

I have taken out the following text, added a few weeks ago:-

In 2010 the German filmmaker Percy Adlon and his son Felix Adlon released their film Mahler auf der Couch (Mahler on the Couch), which relates Gustav Mahler's tormented relationship with his wife Alma and his meeting with Sigmund Freud in 1910. In the film's introduction, the directors stated, "That it happened is fact. How it happened is fiction." In fact, the only source for the Mahler-Freud meeting is a one-page account in Ernest Jones' biography of Freud (Ernest Jones, The Life and Work of Sigmund Freud, three volumes, 1953-1957, vol. 2, pp. 88-89, Basic Books, 1955; also in the abridged, one-volume edition, pp. 358-359, Basic Books, 1961).

If, as is implied, this was a fictionalised account of the Mahler/Freud meeting, then this is basically trivia/pop culture, which is discouraged from WP articles and particularly from featured articles. Brianboulton (talk) 22:22, 24 December 2010 (UTC)

Mahler's conversion[edit]

According to the article, Mahler converted to Catholicism in order to secure the post of director of the Vienna Court Opera. Is this a fact or conjecture? In any case, it will have to be properly referenced and documented or deleted.Amadeus webern (talk) 16:53, 11 September 2011 (UTC)

Infobox.[edit]

I added an infobox to this article on October 8th, 2011 and it was removed for not having a prior discussion on the talk page. Here is that discussion. Aside from using an incorrect template the infobox was created correctly, and featured the same pertinent information as other infoboxes.

If for whatever reason someone has a problem with the infobox as it was added, please correct it and edit the article, or list the problem here. If not I'm changing the infobox back. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Shinobi078 (talkcontribs) 23:28, 9 October 2011 (UTC)

I think we can save a lot of time by directing you here.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 00:12, 10 October 2011 (UTC)

Fair enough. Leave this comment for posterity then.Shinobi078 (talk) 04:49, 10 October 2011 (UTC)

Infobox-lite[edit]

The arguments about whether classical music biographies ought to conform with most other projects and use infoboxes rumbles on, and is becoming debilitating. See, for example, Georg Solti talkpage and other forums. I am basically anti-infoboxes because they often over-summarise complex facts and can thereby misinform. However, when an infobox is confined to minimal factual information it does litle harm. As an experiment, I have added a minimalist infobox to the article; let us see if it brings forth a shout of rage. I would ask those who wish to see it go not to remove it until there has been at least some discussion on this page. Likewise, I would request the infobox enthusiasts not to add the kind of non-relevant detail, which is often the reason for much of the argument, without raising it here. Brianboulton (talk) 13:45, 10 August 2012 (UTC) (Note: I have now transferred the infobox version to this sandbox and have restored the article to its pre-infox format. See below) Brianboulton (talk) 10:44, 11 August 2012 (UTC)

Consider this a shout of rage,though perhaps not for the reason you suppose. I believe the usual process in this sort of case is to discuss first, not to make a pre-emptive strike and then beg people not to remove the offending infobox. That said, I see at least one thing will certainly create problems, even in the case of such a "minimal" infobox. The label "late Romantic" is controversial in Mahler's case, especially since the revisions in periodization proposed since about 1970 by authorities such as Carl Dahlhaus. This is of course also a problem in the article's lede, but the example highlights the defects of infoboxes, which reduce complex situations to simpleminded distortion.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 17:22, 10 August 2012 (UTC)
Thank you for your comment, but I think you are misunderstanding the situation. I am not a champion of infoboxes; far from it, as my comment above should make clear. There has been endless argument about the right of the classical music project to omit infoboxes, in various forums and with no sign of resolution. The Solti talkpage is typical. So I have instigated a small experiment, incidentally using an article on which I spent scores of hours in research and writing, to see if any degree of compromise can bring this sorry conflict to a level of agreement. I am very well aware of the basic arguments against infoboxes, and frequently deploy them myself. But what if the box is confined only to purely factual information - would there be the same grounds for objecting to it? Could that be a way of bridging the gap between the consensus of a particular project and the preferences of the wider Wikipedia community? Brianboulton (talk) 00:14, 11 August 2012 (UTC)
Brian, I thinking you are opening a door to slow creep. Small incremental "because we can, we should". WP:Composers are holding back a tide for other areas. Ceoil (talk) 23:56, 10 August 2012 (UTC)
I don't see it that way. Being intransigent is sometimes the necessary stance, but is that really the case here? One of the project's finest classical music editors has just walked away from the project; the endless sniping on this issue was one of the factors that made him leave. I want to avoid others doing the same thing, so that ultimately there is no WP composers and no consensus. Then we truly have lost. Brianboulton (talk) 00:14, 11 August 2012 (UTC)
Brian, I don't consider myself a fine editor, but I have almost quit this project because of the issue. No, that's wrong. It's not the issue, it's that the issue is fought over. This is a difficult situation, but I for one will be the first person out the door if infoboxes are mandated. Kids in highschools will be able to look up the info in their phones, access the metadata and never read a single sentence. I'm so far opposed to being part of pushing that mentality that honestly I have one foot out the door myself at the moment and seem unable to put together words to write a decent sentence. Truthkeeper (talk) 00:37, 11 August 2012 (UTC)
But even that's not the point. I certainly wouln't give up over such a thing, but it needs to be acknowledged that that lobby are of a "because we can" mentality, and no concession is enough. Sorry Brian for highjacking this talk, I've followed the article sice before the FAC work, and sort of look at JK's contrbs as they tend to be interesting. 00:48, 11 August 2012 (UTC)
I can appreciate your attempt to find common ground Brian, but the infobox-lite doesn't address the points and values of either side of the debate, I don't think. To an anti-box editor, it's even more pointless; to a pro-box editor, it's probably not enough, though I'll concede that the pro-box editors are generally so interested in the concept that "more is better" that they'll more likely support your lite infobox as a start. Not I. As Ceoil says, it does nothing but open the door to the full version. As an aside, the "classical wikiproject", whatever that really means, has as much "right" to mandate against infoboxes as any other "wikiproject", whatever that is, does in insisting on having them. Which leads us back to the overarching point that infoboxes have no formal mandate on Wikipedia, but rather evolved along with the class of editor that liked to add this type of content. Please note, I'm speaking entirely of certain biographical infoboxes; I have no problem with the article on hydrogen detailing the element's properties, and no problem with athletes' infoboxes detailing statistical information about their careers. But there is an entire class of more "academic" biography, if you will, that gains nothing from infoboxes and loses by them, because they naively remove the writer or the composer or the scientist from his milieu, from the attendant historical and critical contexts, and the reader, who is visiting an encyclopedia after all, is less likely to engage with a text and gain insight from the subtleties and final subjectivity of serious biography; the reader and the encyclopedic project are both cheated in these cases.
Finally, to anyone who insists on biographical infoboxes and assorted templates of this sort everywhere: show me the foundational pages on Wikipedia that mandate that even a secondary goal of this encyclopedia is to "emit metadata" for semantic web re-use. It's not, and no matter how vocal the proponents, it won't be. There are strong possibilities for related and affiliated projects that do do that; this isn't that project.
Finally x2, there's aesthetics. That's such a nice photo of Mahler; it should be made about a third of the lead's width, given a minimal caption, and not surrounded by more frames and borders. Now that [1] would lead me into the article.... Riggr Mortis (talk) 06:45, 11 August 2012 (UTC)
I have restored the article to its pre-infobox format and transferred my experimental infobox-lite version to this sandbox – this is to ensure that the experiment does not become the accepted fact. My personal view on infoboxes is unchanged, but I am prepared to forego some principles in the interests of compromise, if this is achievable. In reply to some of the above points:
  • I am not attempting to "address the points and values of either side of the debate". The positions of both sides are well known, the differences are irreconcilable, and further debate on he principles is fruitless. My question is, is it possible to find a compromise that will end or at least sideline the debate?
  • The experimental limited infobox may of course be seen as opening the door to fuller versions, and I am sure that some editors will try to abuse it in that way, but such additions can be removed in the same way that I frequently remove add-on bits of information from text, when it is trivial, inaccurate or misleading.
  • As Truthkeeper says, above, it is the debate itself that is damaging. Editors may leave if infoboxes are mandated, but the debate is already causing editors to leave. Unless we can find a compromise solution we lose either way. This may not be the best solution, but what is, other than the erection of even higher barricades? Brianboulton (talk) 10:44, 11 August 2012 (UTC)
I said I appreciated your attempt. Perhaps I didn't understand the logic behind it, as you seem to be suggesting, and therefore could not have, by definition, "appreciated" it. :-) But I don't understand how one can offer a "compromise" (your word) without considering "the points and values of either side of the debate", which you wanted to make clear you weren't doing, in your reply above. Anyway, I was in a mood to put my infobox views on this talk page 12 hours ago, and shall continue on my way. Riggr Mortis (talk) 17:45, 11 August 2012 (UTC)
I'd like to clarify that my apparent reply to you, Brian, quickly turned into a general elaboration of my opinion on boxes and was not addressed at you. Sorry I didn't make the distinction clearer. I was not trying to convince you of anything (re your comment that your personal view is unchanged). Riggr Mortis (talk) 22:39, 11 August 2012 (UTC)

Year of Ernst Mahler's death[edit]

Recently one anonymous editor replaced the lone "1874" in this article with "1875" ([2]), and his edit was soon reverted by User:Michael Bednarek ([3]). My copy of the Blaukopf biography gives the year 1875 as the correct one. Could someone please clarify this? Thanks. Toccata quarta (talk) 13:50, 9 January 2013 (UTC)

This turns out to be a surprisingly difficult question. Alfred Rosenzweig, Gustav Mahler: New Insights Into His Life, Times and Work, edited by Jeremy Barham (Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., 2007) ISBN 9780754653530, unequivocally states on pp. 78–79: "A year after Gustav came Ernst in 1861, who wasted away with hydrocardia and died at the age of thirteen on 13 April 1874". The problem with this statement is that Ernst was probably only 12 on that date: Gustav was born on 7 July 1860 and so his mother, though demonstrably very fertile, could not have had another full-term child before April 1861 (though of course Ernst's birth might have been premature). Stuart Feder, Gustav Mahler: A Life in Crisis (Yale University Press, 2004), ISBN 9780300103403, p. 23, says "The exact date of Ernst’s birth is unknown but a census gives it as sometime in 1861. … By 1874 Ernst was terminally ill with pericarditis.” He does not say he died in 1874, however, and Jens Malte Fischer, Gustav Mahler, translated by Stewart Spencer (Yale University Press, 2011) ISBN 9780300172195, p. 37, gives the later date: "In mid-April 1875 the family was convulsed by an event that affected all their lives: Gustav’s younger brother died of an illness variously described as pericarditis and hydrocardia". Deryck Cooke Gustav Mahler: An Introduction to His Music (Cambridge University Press, 1980), ISBN 0-521-29847-4, is at variance with both Rosenzweig and Fischer, on p. 7: "When he [i.e., Gustav] was thirteen, his favourite brother Ernst, one year younger than himself, died after a long illness". Plainly, Cooke believes Ernst was only twelve when he died, but this could have been as early as the second half of 1873, and no later than 7 July 1874. The bulk of these sources, all of which are from publishers with impeccable credentials, therefore appear to favour 1874, but with contradictions about Ernst's age at the time of his death. The responsible thing would probably be to note that there is some doubt about the year, unless someone can come up with a source that dispels the doubts cast, especially, by Fischer.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 23:57, 9 January 2013 (UTC)
Sorry for inflicting such a chase for obscure facts on you. My reasons for the reversal were much more trivial: 1) that was the IP's only edit; 2) no reason for the modification was given in edit summary or as citation; 3) in these circumstances, we favour the status quo, especially for a featured article; 4) the Spanish Wikipedia article, also featured, has the same year, 1874. -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 05:45, 10 January 2013 (UTC)
All perfectly good reasons, though I had suspected there might be another, even better one: namely, that the cited source (Blaukopf 1974) gives that year. Unfortunately, I do not own a copy of that book, and the GoogleBooks snippet view does not quite allow confirmation of this suspicion. As the text stands, the citation may be intended only to confirm the information about the short opera Mahler composed in tribute to his brother.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 06:46, 10 January 2013 (UTC)

Nationality[edit]

The article says Mahler was 'Austrian'. Is it then Wikipedia policy that everyone born in Bohemia under Austrian rule was Austrian? Does it follow that, for example, Gandhi was British because India was part of the British Empire when he was born? Surely Mahler was a Bohemian composer (not Czech as that referred to an ethnic group rather than a nation at that time). He said as much himself - there's a quotation on the lines of 'I am thrice homeless, as a native of Bohemia in Austria, as an Austrian among Germans, and as a Jew throughout the world" - ie it is Bohemia of which he considered himself a native78.142.84.236 (talk) 05:59, 26 July 2013 (UTC)

See MOS:BIO and WP:PSTS. Toccata quarta (talk) 06:02, 26 July 2013 (UTC)

Last concert[edit]

The current text has this statement: "On 21 February 1911, with a temperature of 40 °C (104 °F), Mahler insisted on fulfilling an engagement at Carnegie Hall, with a program of Weber's Oberon Overture, Liszt's Les Preludes, the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto (with Frederic Fradkin) and Beethoven's Seventh Symphony. This was Mahler's last concert."

Alas, this program, added by an ip editor, is plain wrong; the cited reference (New York Times, 19 February 1911) records that this program was given on 19 February 1911, two days earlier.

The true program conducted by Mahler on 21 February was as follows: Sinigaglia, Overture to Le baruffe chiozzotte, Op. 32; Mendelssohn, Symphony No. 4 in A Major, Op. 90 (Italian); Martucci, Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat Minor, Op. 66; Busoni, Berceuse élégiaque; Bossi, Intermezzi Goldoniani, Op. 127. Additional online sources for this include the program notes from a Chicago Symphony reconstruction of the concert, and this Baltimore Sun blog. This Wall Street Journal article covers similar territory, without detailing the full program.

I've gone to the bother of explaining this here because I am about to alter apparently well-referenced text. It may also be possible to rationalise the references if anyone has access to Blaukopf's Gustav Mahler. —Simon the Likable (talk) 18:22, 16 September 2013 (UTC)

Religion[edit]

In the categories he's listed as both a Catholic and an agnostic. Which was he? 86.40.141.29 (talk) 22:27, 9 June 2014 (UTC)

At what point in his life are you asking about, and under what circumstances?—Jerome Kohl (talk) 23:02, 9 June 2014 (UTC)
Exactly. Both categories apply. Antandrus (talk) 00:26, 10 June 2014 (UTC)
The article is fairly plain about this but, at the same time, leaves considerable doubt about what Mahler's private beliefs really were ("what may have been a pragmatic conversion to Roman Catholicism", and "has been described as", not "is proved to have been" an agnostic). This is hardly surprising, not just in Mahler's case, but for just about anybody.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 01:45, 10 June 2014 (UTC)

Images[edit]

copied from my talk:

Gustav Mahler picture deletion

This sculpture by Jan Koblasa is a central part of Gustav Mahler park in Jihlava.--NoJin (talk) 18:52, 24 June 2014 (UTC)

Did you see my edit summary? I said that it is a good picture, but in a wrong position for two reasons: it has nothing to do with his family (the paragraph where you placed it), and no picture should be on the left opposite of one on the right. I don't know the article (of featured article quality) well enough to know where a good position would be. Your best chances are to go to the talk page of the article and suggest the inclusion of this picture. --Gerda Arendt (talk) 19:00, 24 June 2014 (UTC)

to here copied from my talk. Images were again inserted, again in the wrong context, an image of the sculpture of the adult in "Childhood", again opposite left and right, - so I reverted again. --Gerda Arendt (talk) 20:47, 24 June 2014 (UTC)

It is a good picture (actually the full length image is even more striking). According to cs:Park Gustava Mahlera, it was placed in the park in 2010. Perhaps it could be found a place in the section Later influence with a caption something like "Statue of Mahler by Jan Koblasa, placed in Gustav Mahler Park in Jihlava in 2010"? It was apparently dedicated as part of the celebrations of the 150th anniversary of Mahler's birth. --RexxS (talk) 21:23, 24 June 2014 (UTC)