Why strip Mahler naked?

Why strip Mahler naked?


norman lebrecht

October 13, 2019

Have record labels only one marketing thought in mind these days?


What on earth is the relevance of male Aphrodite to Mahler songs?


  • Vincent says:

    his organ?

  • H Rosen says:

    Well it is for his “organ” Norm

  • cym says:

    WHY STRIP MAHLER NAKED ? Well, it’s an ‘organ’ transcription, after all …

  • Melisande says:

    Advise: ignore this.
    For: Much To Do About Nothing.

  • John Rook says:

    That looks like a take on an Anthony Gormley installation.

  • Elizabeth Owen says:

    Makes a change from semi-naked women.

  • George says:

    …and it worked because all of your readers have now seen it 🙂 Everybody has marketing in mind. Including this site with its headlines.. Nothing wrong with it. Keeps the business alive and the discussions going.

    • John Borstlap says:

      There will be many potential buyers who now decide to look for other CD productions. Adverts can work both ways.

  • George says:

    It looks as if he‘s going into the water to die. I don‘t see a male Aphrodite in it, on the contrary.

  • Rob says:

    I heard clips from this album, sounds foreboding.

  • John Borstlap says:

    Indeed, it’s absurd. Maybe the designer wanted to express the vulnerability of Mahler’s music facing the infinity and loneliness of life. But one cannot translate such ideas literally in this way, it makes them immediately ridiculous and banal.

  • PJL says:

    it shows the music is denuded of its orchestra and parallels a great artist GORMLEY with GM

  • Pooh says:

    Since the label is Analekta, I think this nude was a natural.

  • Bean says:

    ‘These days’? Antony Gormley and his work has been around for years.

  • Whimbrel says:

    Male Aphrodite? Not really. The figure is part of ‘Another Place’, Antony Gormley’s sculpture on Crosby Beach near Liverpool, where 100 similar life-size figures stare out to sea along a three kilometre stretch of beach. Some of the figures are nearly a kilometre out to sea, sometimes visible, sometimes submerged by the tide. According to Gormley, the work harnesses the ebb and flow of the tide to explore man’s relationship with nature, ‘testing time and tide, stillness and movement… It is no hero, no ideal…. just a middle-aged man trying to remain standing and trying to breathe’. Seems rather relevant to Mahler’s songs, I suggest.

  • Steven Holloway says:

    In this case, presumably the organ.

  • V says:

    They got your attention didn’t they? You can say it’s very good clickbait, like this post. Mission accomplished. Maybe they can sell 1 more copy from the 50 that’s pressed.

  • Akutagawa says:

    Isn’t that one of the Anthony Gormley statues near Southport?

    From the visitsouthport website….

    “According to Antony Gormley, Another Place harnesses the ebb and flow of the tide to explore man’s relationship with nature.

    He explains: The seaside is a good place to do this. Here time is tested by tide, architecture by the elements and the prevalence of sky seems to question the earth’s substance. In this work human life is tested against planetary time. This sculpture exposes to light and time the nakedness of a particular and peculiar body. It is no hero, no ideal, just the industrially reproduced body of a middle-aged man trying to remain standing and trying to breathe, facing a horizon busy with ships moving materials and manufactured things around the planet.”

    I think we can legitimately disagree about how Mahlerian these concerns are (I’d argue very), but I don’t see the vaguest hint of male Aphrodite, whatever that means.

  • Escamillo says:

    A Night on the Bare Mountain? Oh, sorry, wrong composer.

  • Will Duffay says:

    Looks like an Antony Gormley, probably on Morecombe Bay. Very atmospheric.

  • Ruben Greenberg says:

    If the person in the picture turned around, you would see that the connection between the photo and the CD is the organ.

  • Dr Presume says:

    But is it really using nudity to sell the disc? After all, isn’t that one of the various figures from Antony Gormley’s “Another Place” on Crosby Beach, in which case the allusion to memory and mortality seems entirely in keeping with the Mahler lieder…

  • double-sharp says:

    Take exquisite Mahlerian orchestration… and replace it with an accordion glued to a vacuum cleaner?

    Why? Why? Why?

  • Peter says:


    Antony Gormley! ….a British artist known for his exploration of the human body’s relationship to space…..


  • Gustavo says:

    Maybe a reference to Ken Russel’s style?

    Pan erwacht…

  • Petros Linardos says:

    “Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen”

  • Patrick says:

    “Des Antonius von Padua Fisch zum furzen”?

  • Wurtfangler says:

    I never realised David Briggs had such an attractive rear view.

  • FS60103 says:

    Isn’t this a picture of Anthony Gormley’s “Another Place”

  • SoCal Peter says:

    I’m not suggesting the cover is a good one, but I can imagine it as an allusion to “Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen”: utter isolation from society and nakedness in the immensity of existence. I very much doubt that marketing sexuality is at all the objective.

    I wonder why an organ transcription was thought necessary for these works…

  • Dennis says:

    The bigger questions is, why organ transcriptions of Mahler?

  • Organ transcriptions of orchestral songs seems less well-advised than the cover.

  • Melisande says:

    Advise: Ignore it.

    “Much Ado About Nothing”.

  • Cyril says:

    It’s organ transcriptions. The [naked] skin is the largest organ of the human body.

  • MusicBear88 says:

    I actually like the idea of organ transcriptions of orchestral songs. I used to play for a Russian soprano who preferred to give aria recitals with organ rather than piano because it felt more like singing with orchestra to her.

    But the album art sucks.

  • David A, Boxwell says:

    We don’t see the organ on this cover of disc of organ transcriptions.

  • Greg Bottini says:

    A number of Mahler-related posts recently, but no words from our resident (and a true) Mahler expert, Barry Guerrero.
    Where are you, Barry?

  • What I thought when I saw this was that this repertoire is about the human soul laid bare, so the human body laid bare would symbolise that well.