Wagner quotes Mahler on Beethoven

Wagner quotes Mahler on Beethoven


norman lebrecht

May 19, 2020

Nike Wagner, talking of her hopes of saving a postponed Beethovenfest in Bonn, has plans for a reduced Mahler 2nd symphony with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra.

‘Auferstehn, ja auferstehn!’ she exhorted an interviewer.



  • Zubil says:

    Record collection

  • Armchair Bard says:

    I think reducing Mahler’s Second Symphony is a perfectly wonderful idea. Quite apart from what a hearing can do to the music-lover on the Clapham omnibus, the work clearly contravenes disability legislation because of its deleterious effect on those with sleep apnoea; and it has been clinically proven to induce narcolepsy.

    A lot of the blame for the piece’s appalling popularity must lie with the late Sir Jim Gastropodi, conductor of the SMSO. Furthermore, recent work by the Webern scholar Vita Sackville-Brevis has shown that the symphonies supposedly by Mahler that Gastropodi ‘discovered’ – including the ‘Interminable’, the ‘Insufferable’ and the ‘Unendurable’ – were in fact composed by Sir Jim himself.

    Shall we say 55 minutes max?

    • Mercurius Londiniensis says:

      Resurrection indeed: Peter Simple has risen from the grave.

    • John Borstlap says:

      But the 5th movement has proven itself as an effective early morning alarm with its ‘Aufersteh’n, ja aufersteh’n!’ (‘Get up! Get up!’), a much more dignified way of getting-up with a recording and face the day.

      Also the beautiful Urlicht movement has greatly helped listeners recovering from the first three movements.

      By the way, my PA tells me that a year ago, some of her family members attended a concert with a string quintet version of Mahler’s 8th symphony. There seems to be a market for impatient reductions.

      There is the story of Webern planning to write arrangements of all Mahler’s symphonies for string trio, but he never came around doing this because he feared listeners would not endure the length of the works which he did not dare to reduce as well. He tried a version for double string trio of the first mvt of symph 1, where the two ensembles would each play one half at the same time, but it seems that Alma Mahler stopped W’s attempt in its tracks when she heard about it.

      • Seriously says:

        You have a personal assistant?
        What for?

      • The Zub says:

        What about your record collection?
        Just saying.

      • Paul Carlile says:

        Not to mention the well-known long-undiscovered transcriptions of the 2nd, 3rd, 5th and 8th symphonies for double-manual harpischord- (left hand alone), by Wanda Lostanka, (Editions Bogran Blasztit, 2094)

    • Armchair Bard says:

      Blimey! Fifteen joyless prigs and rising. It’s just a knockabout skit, folks (albeit with a couple of decent jokes) – take it or leave it. Mercurius Londiniensis at least has caught on. Who knew Mahlerians could be such snowflakes? Honestly…

  • Greg Bottini says:

    She should reduce the Mahler 8 to the instrumental opening of the second movement. Eliminate everything else.